Fatal stabbings in England and Wales at highest level since records began

The number of fatal stabbings in England and Wales is at its highest level since records began more than 76 years ago.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show 282 homicides were committed using a knife or sharp instrument in the year to March 2022.

This is a 19% rise compared with the previous year – and the highest annual total since records began in 1946, according to the ONS.

The term “homicide” covers murder, manslaughter and infanticide.

The total number of fatal stabbings in 2021-22 is similar to a previous record of 281 in the 12 months to March 2018.

The ONS said the recent increase was driven by an 18% rise in the number of male victims, from 184 to 218.

Data showed the largest increase was for teenage boys aged 16 to 17, rising from 10 homicides to 24.

According to the latest figures, 177 of the homicide victims were white (63%), an increase of 36 compared with the previous year.

There were 59 black victims (21%), compared with 57 in the previous year. Of these, 25 were aged 16 to 24.

As in previous years, using a knife or sharp instrument continued to be the most common method of killing, the ONS said.

The ONS analysed data held by the Home Office Homicide Index, which contains detailed information about each killing recorded by police in England and Wales.

It found the total number of homicides returned to levels seen prior to the pandemic, with 696 victims recorded.

A total of 69 of the victims were aged between 13 and 19. Of these, 51 were killed by a knife or sharp instrument.

The ONS also noted an increase in the number of domestic homicides – up by 18 to 134 – where people were killed by partners, ex-partners, parents, children or other family members.

In a third of the 60 cases in which women were killed, the suspect was their partner or ex-partner.


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