Violent crime rises by 27% after killings hit a five-year high: Surge in gun and knife attacks blame

Surge in gun and knife attacks has led to a rise in recorded crime in UK

Around 4.3m offences reported – the biggest annual increase in 15 years

Murder and manslaughter shot up 14% to their highest total in five years

Criminologists suggest rising murder rate may be due to ‘cocktail’ factors such as immigration, gang culture and police focusing on other crimes

Violent offences, including rape, jumped 27 per cent to more than 885,000 in England and Wales. Attacks in which the victim suffered injures leapt 16 per cent to nearly 404,000.

Crimes involving guns rose by 4 per cent to 4,994 while those in which a knife or other sharp weapon was used increased by 9 per cent to 27,487.

”’Attempted murders involving a knife rose by almost a quarter to 305 and knifepoint rapes soared by 26 per cent to 341, said the Office for National Statistics.

Reports of sex attacks rose by 36 per cent to a record 99,609 – the equivalent of 273 rapes and other sexual offences a day.”’

It was one of the largest annual increases since the National Crime Recording Standard was introduced in 2003.

The ONS said rape reports rose almost 39 per cent to 33,431, equivalent to 91 a day. Knifepoint rapes were up by 26 per cent to 341.

Some 20,865 of rape victims were women, the rest being men and children.

The crime figures mark a reversal of a long-term drop in crime and are sure to alarm ministers because experts believe they reflect real increases rather than better recording by police. On the rise in knife and gun crime, the ONS said: ‘It is generally thought these categories are less likely to be influenced by changes in recording practice than less serious violent crime.

‘Thus the rise is likely to represent a real change in the downward trend seen in recent years.’

The number of crimes logged by police is still 20 per cent lower than in 2006-07 under Labour. Marian Fitzgerald, visiting professor of criminology at the University of Kent, said soaring violence could be linked to the upturn in the economy as people are better off and can spend more going out drinking alcohol.

The ONS said the overall rise was mainly due to victims being ‘more willing’ to come forward and better police records. Forces reported a fall in robberies and theft but there was a 3 per cent increase in shoplifting and a 6 per cent rise in vehicle theft, the third upturn in a row.

Fraud – including credit card and banking offences, plus mail, phone and online scams – jumped 5 per cent to 604,601.

The picture was complicated by figures from the Crime Survey of England and Wales, which found a 6 per cent fall in overall crime to 6.6million incidents, the lowest since 1981.

This looks at people’s experiences of crimes and includes incidents not reported to police. But some, such as bank and credit card frauds, are left out.

Mark Castle, of Victim Support, said knife crime ‘shatters the lives of so many and more must be done to educate people about the dangers of carrying knives’.

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