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Knife crime in England and Wales

October 2020

Recorded Crime

In the year ending March 2020, there were around 46,000 (selected) offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in England and Wales. Recent trends in offences have been affected by undercounting in the Greater Manchester Police Force area prior to 2018/19. In addition, due to ongoing problems, data from Greater Manchester Police is not available for the year 2019/20. Excluding figures from Greater Manchester, this is the highest number of offences since the year ending March 2011, the earliest point at which comparable data are available. This increase is directly related with improvements in recording practices.


In the year ending March 2019 there were 259 homicides (currently recorded) using a sharp instrument, including knives and broken bottles, accounting for 39% of all homicides – a decrease from the 285 recorded in the year ending March 2018.3

Knife crime by police force area

London recorded the highest rate of 179 offences involving a knife per 100,000 population in 2019/20, a slight increase on a rate of 169 in 2018/19. 4 Durham had the lowest rate of 26 offences per 100,000 individuals (down from 31 in 2018/19).

Proven offences and offenders

In the year ending March 2020, there were 20,597 disposals given for possession of a knife or offensive weapon. Juveniles (aged 10-17) were the offenders in 21% of cases.

Hospital admissions

There were 4,757 finished consultant episodes (FCE) recorded in English hospitals in 2019/20 due to assault by a sharp object. This was a decrease of nearly 8% compared to 2018/19 and 31% higher than in 2014/15.

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