Murders with a knife reach all-time high

Knife crime
Knife crime

The number of knife-related homicides has reached its highest level since records began more than 70 years ago - with four in 10 of all murders now involving a blade, new data have revealed.

In the year ending March 2022, there were 696 homicides, up almost a quarter on the previous year as the country came out of lockdown.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that of those, 282 involved a knife or a sharp instrument, up almost a fifth on the previous year.

It represents the highest annual total since the Homicide Index began in 1946 and tops the previous high of 281 in 2018.

The figures also showed that 69 teenagers were murdered in the year ending March 2022, 74 per cent of whom were killed with a knife.

The number of male victims of knife crime also rose by 18 per cent from 184 to 218, with the sharpest increase being among 16 to 17-year-old victims - from 10 to 24.

The second most common method of killing after knife attack was by beating, with 116 people being kicked or punched to death.

There were 28 people shot dead in the 12 months to March 2022, seven fewer than the previous year and 30 per cent down compared to a decade ago.

The large rise in the number of homicides in the year ending March 2022 compared with the previous 12 months was attributed to the lifting of nationwide lockdown restrictions, which meant there was more social contact.

Recent statistics showed that there had been a five per cent increase in the number of knife-related offences dealt with by the criminal justice system, but the overall figure was still down on pre-pandemic levels.

Also the proportion of offenders receiving an immediate custodial sentence for a knife-related offence decreased to 30 per cent in the year ending March 2022, down from 38 per cent in 2018.