SHARP INCREASE: London knife crime highest in history

Criminal activity involving knives in London has risen to its highest level in history, with nearly 15,000 offences committed during the past year.

The Office for National Statistics said the total of 14,987 knife crimes in the year to the end of June was a 15 per cent rise on the comparable figure 12 months earlier.

These statistics include 91 knife killings, 170 rapes or sexual assaults carried out with a blade, and 8,363 knife-point robberies.

They also include 5,570 knife crimes which either resulted in injury or involved an attempt to inflict serious harm on the victim.

The statisticians added that the increase in offending had taken London’s knife crime total to the highest ever recorded.

The disclosure of the bleak statistics will heap pressure on both the Metropolitan police and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Both figures have insisted that they are doing everything possible to tackle knife crime, yet the statistics have only continued to get worse over time. Police are now ramping up the use of stop and search, and have been carrying out a succession of anti-knife crime operations.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick claims that, during the summer, violent crime in the capital was beginning to stabilize after a surge in the number of murders carried out in the early months of this year.

However, today’s statistics appear to lay those hopes to rest, as do national figures, which reveal significant increases in homicide, other “high harm” violence, robbery, burglary and vehicle crime.

This means that an average of 40 knife crimes a day are now being carried out in the capital, with the 91 knife killings representing an 11 per cent increase over 12 months.

Confirming the rise, the Office for National Statistics said: “While knife crime remains a rare crime, today’s figures show knife crime recorded by the police in London is at the highest level since data started to be collected for the year ending March 2009.”

Law student Sami Sidhom, 18, who was among the latest victims of the rising crimewave was. fatally stabbed as he arrived home in Forest Gate from a West Ham match in April. Others victims include Sabri Chibani, 19, knifed in the chest in Streatham on February 11, and Lewis Blackman, 19, a rapper from Kentish Town who was stabbed to death in Kensington a week later.

Meanwhile, national crime figures showed that offenses recorded by police increased by almost 10 per cent during the past year, fuelled by rises in homicides, knife-related offences, robberies and theft.

The increase, which is partly driven by the rise in London, means that forces in England and Wales registered a total of 5.6 million offenses in the year to June. This was a rise of 9 per cent compared with the previous 12 months and included a 14 per cent nationwide increase in police-recorded homicide offences, from 630 to 719. These figures exclude the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.

There were also jumps in the numbers of recorded robberies, which were up 22 per cent, sexual offences, which rose 18 per cent, vehicle-related theft, up 7 per cent, and burglaries, which were 2 per cent higher.

The figures will add to support for a “public health” approach to reducing knife crime in London, modelled on methods used with success in Glasgow. This recommendation was included with a report by the Youth Violence Commission and has since been backed by the Mayor.