POLITICS
25/01/2018 10:18 GMT | Updated 25/01/2018 15:25 GMT

New Figures Reveal Huge Rise In Gun, Knife And Sex Crimes

Recorded crime up by 14% overall.

The number of recorded crimes has shot up by 14%, with huge increases in knife gun and sex crime, according to new official figures.

The number of incidents reported to police in England and Wales rose across almost all types of offence in the year ending September 2017.

Knife and gun crime is up by 21% and 20% respectively, robbery is up by 29% year-on-year and the number of incidents of possession of a weapon rose by 26%.

Stalking and harassment is up by 36% and rape by 29%.  The number of drug offences has fallen, as well as incidents of fraud, but public order offences increased by 44%.

The number of murders dropped slightly, by 1%, but Office for National Statistics experts said recent trends had been affected by the recording of incidents where there were multiple victims, including terror attacks in London and Manchester and the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

If those cases are excluded, the latest figures show that there were 57 more homicides than the previous year, a 10% rise up to a total of 650.

On knife and gun crime, the ONS said while it was possible that improved recording and more proactive policing has contributed to a rise in the number of recorded incidents, “it is our judgement that there have also been genuine increases”.

ONS
Figures show crime has continued to fall since its peak in 1995

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the figures were “truly shocking”.

“These figures should put an end to government complacency on crime,” she added.

“The Tories are failing in a basic duty to protect the public. They have now cut over 21,000 police officers since 2010, leaving forces across the country under-staffed and over-stretched.  Police numbers are now at their lowest in 30 years. You can’t fight crime on the cheap.

“These statistics are an indictment of this Conservative government’s policies. Labour will address this crisis and recruit 10,000 new police officers.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, said: “These statistics show the terrible repercussions around the country of a government that has been desperately weak on crime for the last eight years, as well as weak on the causes of crime.

“This is clearly a national problem that requires national solutions. The government must urgently increase funding for the police as well as restoring funding for the services that provide alternative paths away from crime, such as youth services, education, probation and mental health services.”

PA Wire/PA Images
London Mayor Sadiq Khan

Statisticians said police recorded crime statistics should be interpreted with caution, and that most offences - about 60% - are not reported to the authorities.

“The police can only record crimes that are brought to their attention and for many types of offence these data cannot provide a reliable measure of levels or trends,” the ONS says.

The separate Crime Survey, which is based on people’s experiences, suggests crime is continuing to fall.

Mark Bangs, who works in crime statistics and analysis at the ONS, said: “These latest figures indicate that levels of crime have continued to fall compared with the previous year, but this picture varied across different types of crime and not all offence types showed falls.

“While overall levels of violent crime were not increasing, there is evidence of rises having occurred in some of the low incidence but more harmful categories such as knife and gun crime.

“The first year-on-year comparisons from new estimates of fraud, one of the most frequently occurring crimes, indicate fewer incidents were experienced by the general population compared with the previous year.”