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Offensive Weapons

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 24 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offences involving use of a knife there were in (a) each London borough and (b) England and Wales, broken down by type of offence, in the last 10 years; and if she will make a statement. (200370)

It is not possible to identify those offences which are knife-related from the data centrally collected on recorded crime. However, since April 2007, police forces have been providing separate aggregate data on serious violence involving knives. Home Office statisticians will assess the quality of these data and it is planned that figures for 2007-08 will be published in the main crime bulletin in July 2008.

Available data from the Homicide Index relate to offences currently recorded as homicide where the apparent method of killing is ‘sharp instrument’. Between 1997-98 and 2006-07 police in England and Wales recorded 2,333 such homicides, 635 of which were recorded by the City of London or Metropolitan police forces. These data cannot be broken down to a more local level than police force area.

The Government fully recognise the importance of tackling knife crime. This is a complex issue and we are using a variety of measures, encompassing legislation, enforcement, education and prevention, to address it. On 18 February we published a new Tackling Violence Action Plan, outlining plans to tackle serious violence, including knife crime.