Knife crime in England and Wales

Police recorded knife crime has been rising for the past 3 years

increase since last year


Part of Crime in England and Wales
Released on 28 April 2018


Police recorded the highest number of offences involving a knife or sharp instruments since 2011. The number of recorded offences have risen for the past three years, following a general downward trend since the year ending March 2011.

About half of the offences recorded were “assault with injury” and “assault with intent to cause serious harm”.

All knife offence categories we measure have increased. This is supported by data for NHS hospitals in England, which showed a 7% increase in admissions for assault by a sharp object in the year ending March 2017.

The rise is mainly due to knife crime in London

The way crime is recorded has improved in recent years, which may partly contribute to the recent increases. However, there also appears to be a real rise in the number of these types of crime.

37 of the 44 police forces recorded a rise in offences involving knives or sharp instruments. The Metropolitan Police had the largest volume increase (accounting for 48% of the total increase).

Possession of sharp implements up 33%

Police recorded “possession of an article with a blade or point” offences also rose, by 33%, to 17,437 offences in the latest year. This rise is consistent with increases seen over the last four years, but this is the highest figure since the series began in the year ending March 2009.

This figure can often be influenced by increases in targeted police action in relation to knife crime, which is most likely to occur at times when rises in offences involving knives are seen.

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Available data

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About these statistics

The Crime Survey for England and Wales

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) is a face-to-face survey in which people are asked about their experiences of certain crimes in the past 12 months.

The CSEW does not cover all crimes, and is not well-suited to measuring trends in the more harmful, low volume crimes.

Police Recorded Crime

These figures are a measure of the level of police activity related to crime and are useful in assessing how caseload has changed over time.

Police recorded crime is not a National Statistic.

About knife crime

Police recorded knife or sharp instrument offences data are submitted via an additional special collection. Other offences exist that are not shown in this section that may include the use of a knife or sharp instrument.

At the time of publication, Greater Manchester Police were reviewing their knife crime figures, therefore data should be used with caution. Data will be updated following the review.

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