Labour has said that the latest statistics on knife crime reported by police forces across England and Wales show a “decade-long failure to tackle knife crime” under the Conservatives.
Responding to crime data published by the Office for National Statistics, the party has highlighted that offences involving a knife have increased in every region over the past ten years.
Labour’s Sarah Jones said that “knife crime has risen as a result of Tory cuts to the police and preventative services”, and accused the government of having failed to act on the “national knife crime crisis”.
Commenting on the data, the shadow minister for policing and fire services said: “The government have spent years announcing summits, strategies, and task forces – but they have failed to act, with knife crime continuing to rise across the country on their watch.”
Labour has pointed out that many areas have seen a dramatic increase. Surrey saw the biggest rise in knife crime offences, up almost sevenfold at 598%, while Sussex saw an increase of 259% and Norfolk ranked third with a jump of 183%.
Jones added: “More warm words from ministers will not help communities across the country that are blighted by knife crime. This Conservative government needs to explain how it will fix the national knife crime crisis that was born on their watch.”
The figures put together by the ONS over the past decade show a 16% increase in homicides involving a knife, while knife-point robberies are up 31%. Knife possession offences have also doubled to over 21,000 since the Tories took office in 2010.
Crime involving a knife or sharp instrument began to rise in 2013/14 and since then, two thirds of forces have seen knife crime at least double while Surrey recorded ten times as many knife offences in 2019/20 than six years ago.
Figures from the ONS also show a 6% rise in offences recorded by the police in the latest year to 46,265. London saw the highest rate with 179 offences per 100,000 population while the average for England and Wales was 82.
Asked about knife crime in the UK in an interview with The Mirror at the end of July, Labour’s Nick Thomas-Symonds said that “we can’t lose sight of prevention” in tackling the issue.
The Shadow Home Secretary added: “That’s about a properly resourced violent crime strategy and those prevention services that have been undermined in the past ten years.”