Fatal stabbings at highest level since records began in 1946

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The number of fatal stabbings in England and Wales is at its highest level since records began more than 70 years ago. 

Figures from the Home Office revealed there were 285 homicides using a knife or sharp object in the year to March 2018.

This rose from 212 in 2016-17 – reaching the highest number since the Home Office began collecting this data in 1946.

The previous high was in the year ending March 2008, when 268 people were killed by a knife or a sharp instrument.

Just under two-thirds of victims (63%) were white, while a quarter were black. This was the highest proportion of black victims since data was first collected in 1997.

Home Office figures revealed there were 285 murders in the year 2017-18
Image: The figures have been described as ‘deeply troubling’

Diana Fawcett, from the Victim Support charity, called the figures “deeply troubling”.

She said: “These rises are being driven by a huge increase in the number of young people whose lives are being lost to this epidemic.

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“These figures further highlight the need for all agencies to come together to tackle this increasing crisis which is destroying lives and shattering communities.”

The government announced on Thursday that people suspected of carrying knives could face curfews, social media bans and potential prison time to help quell the rise in violence.

The measures follow a rise in stabbings in the capital, with the monthly homicide rate in London overtaking New York for a brief period in February 2018.

Recent figures from the Home Office show 55 fatal stabbings were recorded in London in 2017-18.

The report also showed that, when it came to “sharp instrument homicides”, the number of male victims had increased by 38% and female victims had increased by 24%.

The term “homicide” covers murder, manslaughter and infanticide. Overall, there were 726 homicides in the 12 months to March last year – 20 more than in the previous year.

This numbers has been affected by “exceptional incidents” such as the terror attacks in London and Manchester, and the recording of the 96 Hillsborough disaster deaths as manslaughters in 2016-17.

If these are excluded, then the number of homicides increased by 89 – or 15% – from 606 to 695.

Female victims were most likely to be killed in or around the home, while a third of male homicides took place on a street, path or alleyway.

Just over half of all killings were the result of an argument, revenge attack or loss of temper.

A separate ONS report found that over the last two decades, there have been long-term reductions in estimations of violent crime.


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