A piece by Richard Ford, Home Correspondent, in yesterday’s Times:
Fatal stabbings are at their highest level since records began more than 70 years ago after an upsurge of knife crime in England and Wales, according to figures published yesterday.
There were 285 killings by a knife or sharp instrument in the year to last March, 73 more than in the previous year. The figure was the highest since the homicide index compiled by the Home Office began in 1946, with attacks involving young men “most pronounced”, the Office for National Statistics said.
Seventy victims were black, representing a quarter of all knife-crime deaths, the highest proportion and the highest number of black victims since 1997, when details of ethnicity were first collected.
Of the black victims, 55 were recorded by the Metropolitan Police, reflecting spiralling knife crime in the capital linked to gang rivalry and drugs. Eight in ten of these killings occurred in a public place. The largest increase in fatal stabbings involved black men aged 16-24, with the number of such cases rising from 23 the year before to 41, a rise of 78 per cent.
There were 179 white victims of fatal stabbings.
The latest statistics were released days after the Home Office announced plans for knife-crime Asbos, which will give police new powers to deal with those aged 12 and over suspected of involvement in knife crime. Courts will be able to impose curfews and social media bans, and individuals will face up to two years in jail for breaching an order.
David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, said: “I am deeply angry and disheartened by these statistics. Poor government policy and the failed war on drugs have allowed a sinister network of international organised criminals to exploit and pimp out vulnerable black teenagers as drug runners. Let’s be clear that this violence is not occurring because black boys are born violent: it happens because in this country too many are forced into desperate lives of crime.”
Diana Fawcett, chief officer at Victim Support, said: “These figures further highlight the need for all agencies to come together to tackle this increasing crisis which is destroying lives and shattering communities.”
Sajid Javid, the home secretary, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “We need more police on the streets. There is money [to do that].” He said that “the biggest increase in police funding since 2010, almost a billion extra pounds” had been announced in parliament this week “and it will lead to thousands more police”.
Overall, there were increases in sharp instrument killings both of males, rising 38 per cent from 161 to 222, and of females, up 24 per cent from 51 to 63.
Police forces in England and Wales recorded a total of 726 homicides in the 12 months to March last year, 20 more than in the previous year.
If exceptional incidents such as the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester are excluded, the number rose by 89, or 15 per cent, from 606 to 695.
Just over half (51 per cent) of all homicides resulted from a quarrel, revenge attack or loss of temper. Female victims were most likely to have been killed in or around a home. About a third of killings of males took place in a street or alley or on a path. About a quarter (24 per cent) of homicide victims were known to be drug users, and one in nine was known to be a drug dealer.
As usual, no mention in the article of the main driver of knife crime, fatherlessness. Comments from “Scottish Gent”:
David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, said: “I am deeply angry and disheartened by these statistics. Let’s be clear that this violence is not occurring because black boys are born violent: it happens because in this country too many are forced into desperate lives of crime.” How about talking about the disproportionately high numbers of black boys living without fathers as strong role models.
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