It has been identified that the published number of offences involving a knife or sharp instrument, which are used in Section 1 of this Briefing Paper, have been affected by Greater Manchester Police data: "A review identified undercounting of crimes involving a knife or sharp instrument [...] Data from December 2017 onwards have been revised. Previous data have not been revised and are likely to exclude relevant crimes, therefore data including GMP are not comparable over time" (ONS, Crime in England and Wales: year ending December 2018, 25 April 2019). This Briefing Paper will be updated to include these changes as soon as possible. In the meantime for more information please contact the subject specialist.Jump to full report >>
Knife crime is a persistent and worrying concern, especially as it impacts particularly upon young people and the disadvantaged, and various remedies have been tried over the years.
In the year ending March 2018, there were around 40,100 (selected) offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in England and Wales. This is the highest number in the eight-year series (from year ending March 2011) the earliest point for which comparable data are available. This is directly related with improvements in recording practices.
In 2017/18 there were 268 homicides currently recorded using a sharp instrument, including knives and broken bottles, accounting for 33% of all homicides – an increase from the 216 recorded in 2016/17.
London recorded the highest rate of 168 offences involving a knife per 100,000 population in 2017/18, an increase of 26 offences per 100,000 population from 2016/17. Surrey had the lowest rate of 5 offences per 100,000 individuals (up by 1 from 2016/17).
In the year ending March 2018, there were 21,044 disposals given for possession of a knife or offensive weapon. Juveniles (aged 10-17) were the offenders in 21% of cases.
There were 5,053 finished consultant episodes (FCE) recorded in English hospitals in 2017/18 due to assault by a sharp object. This was an increase of 14% compared to 2016/17 and 39% higher than in 2014/15.
Commons Briefing papers SN04304
Authors: Grahame Allen; Lukas Audickas