Knife crime up in South Yorkshire as offences reach a record high
Nearly 1,000 knife crime offences were reported in South Yorkshire in a 12 month period – as figures hit an all time high nationally.
There were 996 offences in the 12 months to June 2019 compared to 977 the previous year – a two per cent increase.
Nationally there was a seven per cent increase in knife crime, with 33 forces all recording a hike in offences compared to 10 which reported a drop.
Police-recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument rose to 44,076, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics yesterday.
This does not include offences for Greater Manchester Police, which logs 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 five per cent, from 719 to 681 according to the new figures.
There was also a 14 per cent fall in homicides where a knife or sharp instrument was involved, to 248 offences.
There was an 11 per cent rise in robbery, with 88,177 offences recorded – 41 per cent in London.
The number of crimes of violence against a person rose by 15 per cent to almost 1.7 million.
Gun crime was up four per cent, with 6,734 offences recorded.
Nationally, crime rose by seven per cent, with more than six million offences recorded.
In South Yorkshire, crime as a whole went up by one per cent.
There were decreases in criminal damage, arson, sexual offences and theft but increases in drug offences, which went up by 32 per cent and possession of weapons, which went up by 28 per cent.
Stalking and harassment offences also went up by 24 per cent.
Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “The message from the figures shows that by raising the awareness of how to report certain crimes such as stalking and harassment, more crimes are being reported.
“In South Yorkshire we have received funding from the Home Office to increase police activity to directly disturb organised crime, increase stop and search and stop violence.
“The figures today reflect what we have said all along - with additional police activity, there is an increase in the number of crimes recorded. This is not bad news for the communities in South Yorkshire as we start to see those involved in organised crime, disrupted and taken off the streets.
“We know that over the past nine years – the years of austerity - criminals have taken advantage of falling police numbers. The government has finally recognised the folly of those cuts and is seeking to increase police numbers.
“We have also set up the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, which brings together the four local authorities, South Yorkshire Police, Public Health England, South Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups, Youth Offending Teams, Education sector representatives and the Faith,
Voluntary and Community sectors to tackle the root causes of violence. I expect to see all of this to bear fruit in future years.”
Meanwhile, separate figures also released yesterday show that the proportion of crimes in England and Wales resulting in a charge or summons fell to another record low of 7.4 per cent 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 per cent of more than 2.36 million cases, investigations were completed but no suspects were identified.
In at least 1.2 million cases – 22.8 per cent – the victim did not support further action.
Police Federation chairman John Apter said the figures come as ‘no surprise’ as ‘officers continue to struggle to deal with delivering the basics in policing’ because of cuts and forces ‘snowed under by demand’.
Crime, Policing and Fire Minister, Kit Malthouse, said he was ‘deeply concerned’ about the rise in some crimes and particularly knife crime, adding: "With 20,000 more police officers in the pipeline and urgent action on a number of fronts, not least drug dealing county lines, we are making progress.
"But there is a lot more to do and we have to get smarter and more focused."