Figure 3: Continued rise in offences involving a knife or sharp instrument and a recent decrease in offences involving firearms
England and Wales, year ending March 2003 to year ending December 2018
Source: Home Office - Police recorded crime
Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics.
Police recorded knife or sharp instrument offences data are submitted via a special collection which includes the offences: homicide; attempted murder; threats to kill; assault with injury and assault with intent to cause serious harm; robbery; rape; and sexual assault.
Police recorded crime statistics are based on data from 43 police forces in England and Wales. However, knife crime data from Greater Manchester Police are excluded from the time series due to a recent change in counting methods. The total including GMP is presented as a separate data point for the year ending December 2018. Previous data have not been revised and the data are therefore not comparable.
Data on offences involving a knife or sharp instrument began to be collected in April 2009; however, comparable data are only available from the year ending March 2011. The Offences involving the use of weapons: data tables include data on offences involving a knife or sharp instrument going back to the year ending March 2009.
Data from Surrey Police include unbroken bottle and glass offences, which are outside the scope of this special collection; however, it is not thought that offences of this kind constitute a large enough number to impact on the national figure.
An audit of Thames Valley Police into the recording of knife and sharp instrument offences since the introduction of their new recording system in April 2014 has revealed that they were previously under-counting these offences. Data for the year ending March 2016 have been revised, but data for the year ending March 2015 have not.
Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Police forces have implemented new crime recording systems for offences involving the use of a knife sharp instrument, therefore data for the latest year may be under-recorded. It is expected that this will be revised in future publications.
Knife crime data from Northumbria police have been revised for the year ending December 2017 and the year ending December 2018. These revised data show an increase in the number of offences recorded. Data prior to this have not been revised.
Numbers differ from those previously published due to Sussex Police revising their figures to exclude unbroken bottles. Data for Sussex Police will be revised again in a future publication due to a number of recorded offences that involved a knife or sharp instrument not being identified as such. There is therefore currently an undercount of knife or sharp instrument offences for Sussex Police.
Firearms include: shotguns; handguns; rifles; imitation weapons such as BB guns or soft air weapons; other weapons such as CS gas, pepper spray and stun guns; and unidentified weapons. They exclude conventional air weapons, such as air rifles.
South Wales Police have not supplied firearms data for April to December 2018. Although the number of these offences in this force is relatively low, this will have a small impact on the overall picture of offences involving firearms.
Data on firearms offences are provisional and have not been reconciled with police forces.