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Techie1

Knife crime up by 14 per cent, official figures show

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New ONS stats show more violent crime alongside 5.4 million fraud and computer misuse offences.

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Posed photo by Katie Collins/PA Wire

Knife and gun crime incidents recorded by police rose by more than 10 per cent last year compared with 2015, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.

Police recorded 32,448 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in 2016 - a 14pc rise on the year before - bucking a recent trend for falling knife crime.

These include rapes, sexual assaults and robberies in which knives or sharp instruments were used.

Firearms offences increased by 13pc to 5,864, largely driven by a rise in crimes involving handguns.

Overall, police recorded 4.8 million offences in 2016 - a 9pc increase from the year before, which was "thought to reflect changes in recording processes and practices rather than crime".

However, the ONS said there had been "smaller but genuine increases" in homicide and knife crime.

Overall, there were about 11.5 million incidents of crime in England and Wales after fraud and computer misuse offences were included for the second time.

It makes 2016 the first calendar year to include fraud and computer offences, making up 5.4 million of the total, meaning year-on-year comparisons cannot be made.

Stripping out the two categories gives a tally of 6.1 million, which the ONS said was not a "statistically significant" change from the previous year.

Even though they had "substantially increased" the total, it was still 40pc below the 1995 level when crime figures peaked at 19 million, the ONS said.

Rachel Almeida, head of policy for the charity Victim Support, said the figures made "startling reading".

She said: "The latest crime survey for England and Wales shows 21pc of the population fell victim to crime last year, that 800,000 of these are children, with more than half suffering violent crime, and that gun and knife crime have seen sharp rises.

"More must be done for victims of crime and that is why we are demanding all political parties seize the golden opportunity of the June 8 snap election and put victims at the centre of their policies for crime and policing when they release their manifestos."

The National Police Chiefs' Council lead for crime and incident recording said the figures showed crime levels were "broadly stable compared with recent years".

Chief Constable Bill Skelly added: "There are some genuine increases that police forces across the country are responding to, particularly with regard to a 14% rise in knife crime and 13% increase in firearms offences.

"The trend - which had been declining for many years but has now begun to climb more sharply - is a key priority for the police service.

"Forces will continue to target habitual offenders and conduct wide-ranging proactive operations to seize thousands of illegal weapons before they can be used to cause harm."

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