Figure 3: Continued rise in offences involving a knife or sharp instrument, but a decrease in offences involving firearms
England and Wales, year ending March 2003 to year ending September 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 an additional special collection. This special collection 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. Data from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are excluded. This force reviewed their recording of knife or sharp instrument offences in December 2017, which revealed that they were under-counting these offences. Following this review, there has been a sharp increase in the number of knife or sharp instrument offences recorded by GMP in January to March, April to June, and July to September 2018 compared with previous quarters. Previous data have not been revised and the data are therefore not comparable. Due to this, data from GMP have been excluded from the table.
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.
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.
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 and Cambridgeshire Police have not supplied data on firearm offences for April to June 2018. Due to the relatively low number of these offences in these forces, this will not change the overall picture of offences involving firearms.
Data on firearms offences are provisional and have not been reconciled with police forces.