Knife offences surge in London as crime statistics for the UK are revealed

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A huge surge in knife offences in London was revealed today as new figures showed the overall level of crime across the country has risen to its highest total in a decade.

The Office for National Statistics said that almost 5 million crimes were committed across England and Wales during the year to the end of March — up by 10 per cent, or 458,000 offences, on the previous 12 months.

The rise in London, which saw a four per cent jump in crime over the year to 775,000 offences, was smaller. But the capital’s crime problems were highlighted by big rises in dangerous offences including knife crime and robbery.

Blade offences rose 24 per cent to 12,021, meaning that an extra 2,327 knife crimes were committed in London despite intensive efforts by the Met to combat the problem.

Today’s London figures also show a 12 per cent rise in robberies, a 10 per cent increase in sex offences and a four per cent growth in overall “violence against the person” offences.

Burglary was down by one per cent, but other forms of theft were up with pickpocketing and similar crimes up 12 per cent, shoplifting nine per cent, and car theft up 13 per cent.

Homicides were down, however, with 107 killings in the capital, continuing a long recent run of relatively low murder totals in London.

Unveiling the figures today, statisticans said that while the rise in police figures for some crimes, such as sex offences, were driven by better recording practices, other increases appeared to reflect a genuine growth in offending. 

These genuine increases included the leap in knife crime and theft.

By contrast, separate statistics published today from the annual Crime Survey for England and Wales, which measures the public’s experiences rather than what police record, show a seven per cent decline in overall offending with a total of 5.9 million offences nationwide. There were also an estimated 5.1 million additional offences of computer misuse and fraud.

Police officer numbers across England and Wales have fallen 0.7 per cent to 123,142 officers at the end of March this year, the lowest number since records began in 1996.

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