- Video report by ITV News National Editor Allegra Stratton
Knife crime in England and Wales hit a record high in the year to June, up by 7% on the previous 12 months.
Police-recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument rose to 44,076, figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday showed.
This does not include Greater Manchester Police, which records data differently.
Javed Khan, chief executive of charity Barnardo’s, said: “It’s totally unacceptable that the knife crime crisis continues to claim so many young lives, with offences at a record high.
“Knife crime is a symptom of a much wider, complex problem.
“Too many young people are suffering a ‘poverty of hope’, and facing a future with no qualifications, no job prospects, and no role models, making them vulnerable to criminal gangs who force them to deliver drugs and carry knives.”
The total number of homicides recorded by police fell by 5%, from 719 to 681.
There was also a 14% fall in homicides where a knife or sharp instrument was involved, to 248 offences, mainly driven by a decrease in London.
There was an 11% rise in robbery to 88,177 offences, with 41% of these recorded in London.
The rise – which has been “consistent” since 2015 – is “likely to reflect a real increase in these crimes”, the ONS said.
The number of crimes of violence against a person rose by 15% in the previous 12 months to almost 1.7 million.
Gun crime was up 4% to 6,734, the figures said, but warned that this data was provisional.
In total, police recorded crime rose by 7% to more than 6 million. Excluding fraud and computer misuse offences, this stood at 5.27 million – an increase of 6%.
Meanwhile, separate figures also released on Thursday show that the proportion of crimes in England and Wales resulting in a charge or summons fell to another record low of 7.4% in the 12 months to the end of June.
This meant 393,112 suspects were charged or ordered to be in court during that time, according to the Home Office data.
In almost 45% of more than 2.36 million cases, the investigation was completed but no suspect was identified. In at least 1.2 million cases (22.8%), the victim did not support further action.
Joe Traynor, from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: “While overall levels of violence have remained steady, the number of offences involving a knife has continued to increase across England and Wales.
“However, the number of homicides where a knife or sharp instrument was involved decreased, driven by falls in London.
“There is a mixed picture in the total number of knife crime offences across police forces with the Metropolitan Police recording little change in the last year.”