In recent news, it’s been reported that in the last 10 years knife crime has increased dramatically – with London and the boroughs surrounding the city having the highest crime rates.
However, data from 34 out of 43 police forces shows the rate of serious knife crime rising dramatically in areas outside of London in city boroughs like Manchester, Slough, Liverpool and Blackpool.
“We are suffering just as much as anywhere else,” said Byron Highton whose brother was fatally stabbed with a sword and an axe while he walked home in Preston, in 2014. “the whole country is suffering from knife crime, but small cities in the north like Preston get no mention”
The BBC asked all 43 regional police forces in England and Wales for detail about serious knife crimes in their area.
In Lancashire, figures showed that knife crime doubled in the past five years, rising from 455 offences in 2014 to 981 in 2018.
In recent years Manchester, Liverpool, Slough and Nottingham are all in the top 25 most dangerous places in England and Wales for serious knife crimes. The safest areas with less than one crime per 10,000 people include Dorset, the Cotswolds, Monmouthshire and the Malvern.
Although, Scotland police collect crime statistic differently so there are no separate records for knife attacks. However, knife possession has increased in recent years with more than 2,300 crimes reported last year.
Although men are usually the target for serious knife crimes, in Blackpool students Keeley 17 and Lauren 18 were both threated on an estate where they live with knives over not allowing a group of lads to play on their half of the pitch while both Keeley and Lauren played football.
In 2018, Blackpool had 14.3 serious knife crime offences per 10,000 people putting it in the top 25 most dangerous places in England and Wales for knife crime, of the 275 areas which gave data.
Drugs, gangs, school exclusion and expulsion rates, unemployment and cuts to services have all been blamed for the rise in youth violence in areas such a Blackpool and Preston. Last month, official figures showed that 8 out of 10 most deprived areas in England alone were in Blackpool.
In 2018, almost half of all suspects of serious knife crimes in England and Wales were aged 24 and under.
So, what does this mean for Cardiff and Wales as a whole?
Although Cardiff is relatively small compared to Manchester and London, it still has its fair share of serious knife crimes.
In July 2019 WalesOnline reported on how one of Wales’ largest hospitals University Hospital of Wales (Heath hospital) described that they were dealing with stabbings on a weekly basis.
The number of offences involving knife crimes has gone up more than 80% across Wales in the past decade. Police have said that teenagers as young as 15 are carrying knives. Across Wales, in 2011 there were 741 incidents involving knives compared to 1,353 in 2018 – an increase of 83%.
Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire, the national leader in tackling serious violent crime at the National Police Chief’s Council, blamed police funding cuts for the fall in charge rates.
“The large reduction in police funding since 2010 has meant that fewer detectives with less time and a bigger workload taking on long investigations, meaning it can be more difficult to get a charge”
“Some forces who have been given additional funding to tackle violence are using that to improve forensic capabilities, so even when the victim is unwilling to proceed, police can still progress a case.”
A spokesperson from the Home Office responded: “ We are taking action to tackle the violent crime which has such a devastating impact on our communities…. This includes supporting the police by recruiting 20,000 new police officers over the next three years, making it easier for them to use stop and search powers and investing £10m in additional funding to allow forces to increase the number of officers carrying Tasers.”
To read the full BBC article click here
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