Knife crime rises 14% as downward trend reverses

Updated: 

Knife and gun crime incidents recorded by police rose by more than 10% last year compared with 2015, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.

Police recorded 32,448 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in 2016 - a 14% rise on the year before - bucking a recent trend for falling knife crime.

These include rapes, sexual assaults and robberies in which knives or sharp instruments were used.

Firearms offences increased by 13% to 5,864, largely driven by a rise in crimes involving handguns.

Overall, police recorded 4.8 million offences in 2016 - a 9% increase from the year before, which was "thought to reflect changes in recording processes and practices rather than crime".

However, the ONS said there had been "smaller but genuine increases" in homicide and knife crime.

Overall, there were about 11.5 million incidents of crime in England and Wales after fraud and computer misuse offences were included for the second time.

It makes 2016 the first calendar year to include fraud and computer offences, making up 5.4 million of the total, meaning year-on-year comparisons cannot be made.

Stripping out the two categories gives a tally of 6.1 million, which the ONS said was not a "statistically significant" change from the previous year.

Even though they had "substantially increased" the total, it was still 40% below the 1995 level when crime figures peaked at 19 million, the ONS said.