Stark new data has revealed the number of fatal stabbings in the UK to be at their highest level since records began.
Troubling statistics show 285 killings were reported in the year ending March 2018, by either knife or similar sharp instrument.
The data, released by the Office for National Statistics, present the highest knife crime death toll figures since records began in 1946, demonstrating a dramatic increase of 73 deaths when compared with the same period the year before.
40% of killings in the UK and Wales are located in the capital. Image credit: Pexels
London was shown to be the epicentre of UK knife crime, with almost 40% of killings in England and Wales located in the capital, according to the Evening Standard. The paper also revealed a substantial increase in the number of men and boys who died: up 38% year-on-year, with the majority of victims being male.
The number of homicides recorded by the police showed a fourth consecutive annual rise in the year ending March 2018, following a long-term decline.
Office for National Statistics
The Conversation Around Knife Crime and Human Rights is as Complex as it Contentious
New Government plans to increase surveillance in the capital have been met with anger by human rights protestors, who see advances in technological surveillance – an attempt to minimise knife crime – as infringements upon their right to privacy.
In November 2018 police chiefs proposed plans to increase stop and search, as well as banning the need for “reasonable grounds” to search individuals, following talks with the Home Office.
There is a contentious debate around increasing levels of stop and search in the capital. Image credit: Geograph
Not only has stop and search has been criticised as racially discriminatory, as black people and ethnic minority groups are more likely to be stopped and searched than their white counterparts but a recent report by Release, LSE, and StopWatch also highlighted that in 2016–2017 black people were stopped and searched at more than eight times the rate of white people. Asian people and those in the ‘mixed’ group were stopped and searched at more than twice the rate.
Stop and search has long been criticised as racist. Image credit: Flickr
An additional, community-focused incentive to reduce knife crime – which plans for a 13 million cash injection to the capital to tackle violent youth crime – launched by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, was announced in November.
“Young people, rather than having constructive things to do, are joining criminal gangs and think it’s okay to pick up knives,” Mr Khan said at Spotlight, a youth centre in Poplar.
The funding is expected to reach 42,000 young Londoners. At Spotlight, Khan also urged individuals with knowledge about violent attacks to cooperate with the police.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced a huge cash injection to help prevent knife crime. Image credit: Flickr
“I’ve met too many victims of violent crime,” Khan said. “Too many bereaved families, it’s really important that we help the police when they carry out investigations.
“Why? Because a successful investigation leads to a dangerous criminal who thinks it’s okay to carry a knife being arrested, charged and prosecuted and taken off our streets.”