Violent knife and gun crime has shot up by around a seventh, alarming new figures have shown.
Forces in England and Wales logged a total of 5.3 million crimes in the year ending September 2017 – a 14% increase compared with the previous 12 months.
They registered 37,443 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in the year ending September 2017 – a 21% increase compared with the previous year and the highest tally since comparable records started in the 12 months to March 2011.
Gun crime also went up by a fifth, to 6,694 recorded offences.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that police-registered crime must be interpreted with caution, attributing much of the rise to changes in recording practices and increased confidence of victims in coming forward.
They said: “The occurrence of these offences tends to be disproportionately concentrated in London and other metropolitan areas.
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“While it is possible that improved recording and more proactive policing has contributed to this rise, it is our judgment that there have also been genuine increases.”
Its preferred measure, the Crime Survey for England and Wales, gave a total of 10.6 million incidents, which was a fall of 10%.
ONS statistician Mark Bangs said: “These latest figures indicate that levels of crime have continued to fall compared with the previous year, but this picture varied across different types of crime and not all offence types showed falls.
“While overall levels of violent crime were not increasing, there is evidence of rises having occurred in some of the low incidence but more harmful categories such as knife and gun crime.
“The first year-on-year comparisons from new estimates of fraud, one of the most frequently occurring crimes, indicate fewer incidents were experienced by the general population compared with the previous year.”
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: “These figures are truly shocking and should put an end to Government complacency on crime.
“The Tories are failing in a basic duty to protect the public.”