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26 April 2018, 09:55
Police recording of knife crime rose by 22% in England and Wales last year while London experienced a surging murder rate, official figures show.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), police recorded 39,598 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in 2017 - up from 32,468 in the previous 12 months.
There was an 11% increases in firearms offences, with 6,604 crimes recorded last year.
The ONS said both knife and gun offences tended to be disproportionately concentrated in London and other cities.
A total of 653 murders were also recorded by police across England and Wales - a rise of 9%.
The ONS figures exclude homicides from terror attacks in London and Manchester and the 1989 Hillsborough disaster in their figures so a more consistent comparison can be provided.
Burglary was also up 9% over the period (to 438,971 recorded offences), along with a rise in robbery (33%) and vehicle-related theft (16%).
However, computer misuse offences fell by 28%, based on the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), which the ONS said was largely due to a decline in computer viruses.
This decrease drove a fall in the overall level of crime estimated by the CSEW, a face-to-face survey in which households are asked about their experience of crime.
In the year ending December 2017, 80% of adults were not a victim of any of the crimes asked about in the CSEW.
Alexa Bradley, from the ONS, said: "Today's figures show that, for most types of offence, the picture of crime has been fairly stable, with levels much lower than the peak seen in the mid-1990s.
"Eight in ten adults had not experienced any of the crimes asked about in our survey in the latest year.
"However, we have seen an increase in the relatively rare, but 'high-harm' violent offences such as homicide, knife crime and gun crime, a trend that has been emerging over the previous two years.
"We have also seen evidence that increases in some types of theft have continued, in particular vehicle-related theft and burglary."
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police released their own crime statistics on Thursday.
These revealed murders were up by 44% in the capital - from 109 to 157 offences - in the financial year April to March 2017/18, compared to the previous 12 months.
This included victims of terror attacks in Westminster, London Bridge and Finsbury Park.
Overall crime in the capital was up by 6.4% from 777,458 to 827,225 offences, with knife crime offences up 21% but gun crime down 4.6%.
Knife crime with injury offences were up by 5.7% (4,446 to 4,700), although there was a smaller rise of 3% in knife crime injuries to under 25s compared to a 24% increase in the previous set of figures.
The figures come after recent rising violence in the capital sparked a political row - with data showing more murders were committed in London in February and March this year than there were in New York.
Scotland Yard's assistant commissioner Martin Hewitt said: "The Met continues to experience a very busy and challenging time against the backdrop of significant reductions in resources.
"I am very concerned about the rise in crime in the capital, particularly murder, violent crime and knife crime.
"My thoughts are with the victims' families of these tragic and horrific crimes which have brought untold misery to countless people."
Commenting on the ONS figures, London mayor Sadiq Khan said: "These statistics show once again that crime, and violent crime in particular, is rising at an unacceptably high rate across the whole of England and Wales, including London.
"This is clearly a national problem that requires national solutions from the Government."
Mr Khan called for more funding from Government for police to tackle knife crime, as well as investment in services that "provide young people with alternative paths away from crime".
Commenting on the ONS figures, Louise Haigh MP, Labour's shadow policing minister, said: "The Tories have created the conditions for crime, including serious violent crime, to thrive.
"The Home Secretary has comprehensively failed to protect the public. Whether it's Windrush citizens or victims of violent crime, the Home Secretary has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the evidence staring her in the face.
"The Tories have axed 21,000 police officers, and neighbourhood policing, which helps to prevent crime, has been undermined. Our communities are now exposed and we have a Government unwilling or unable to put it right."
Sky News has asked the Home Office for a comment.
(c) Sky News 2018: Knife crime rises in England and Wales as London murders surge