Knife crime has risen to an all-time high, officials statistics have revealed.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed there were 40,829 recorded offences in England and Wales involving knives or sharp instruments, up by six per cent on the year before.
Statistics also revealed murder and manslaughter rates hit a 10-year high, rising from 655 in 2017 to 732 last year - a six per cent increase. The figures do not include victims of terror attacks.
The release of the knife-related incidents, which covers all police forces apart from Greater Manchester due to the way they record offences, comes amid a political row over cuts to police funding.
Figures show there has been a continuing rise in the number of knife-related incidents since 2011 - the year stats started to be complied in a unified manner.
Despite the upwards trajectory of knife-crime, the number of incidents appears to be slowing down in comparison to previous years.
The number of murders and manslaughter cases where a knife or sharp instrument was involved fell by four per cent in the last year, to 261 offences.
Of all the recorded murders in the latest data, around four in 10 (39 per cent) involved a knife or sharp instrument.
Rape involving knives also rose; in 2017, the number of rape cases involving knives was 420, while last year this rose to 464 - an increase of 10 per cent.
However the number of sexual assault cases involving a knife dropped by 14 per cent, from 173 in 2017 to 149 last year.
Forces across England and Wales did see a two per cent drop in recorded incidents involving a firearm, to 6,525 offences.
Alexa Bradley from the Office for National Statistics Centre for Crime and Justice said:
“When we look at the overall level of crime, there has been no significant change over the last year.
"However, it is important to look at each crime type separately because the picture is very mixed.
"Even within crime types we have seen differences. Robbery and vehicle offences have increased whereas burglary has decreased.
"Lower-volume high-harm violence involving knives has risen, whereas offences involving firearms have decreased.”