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Crime: Offensive Weapons

Volume 502: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many crimes involving the use of a knife were recorded by police in (a) England and (b) North East Cambridgeshire constituency in each of the last 10 years. (303187)

The Home Office has collected data on knife and sharp instrument offences since April 2007 via a special additional data collection. Data are therefore only available for two years. The data are collected at force level only, so data for North East Cambridgeshire are not available.

In 2007-08, the data collection covered the following offences: attempted murder, GBH and robbery. The total number of offences involving the use of a knife/sharp instrument recorded by the police in England in 2007-08 was close to 24,000.

In 2008-09, the collection was expanded to include threats to kill, ABH, rape and sexual assaults. Therefore, the figures between the two years are not comparable. The total number of offences involving the use of a knife or sharp instrument recorded by the police in England in 2008-09 was close to 35,000.

There is a further reason why the figures are not fully comparable. Some forces in 2007-08 included, for technical reasons, a number of ‘unbroken’ bottle offences, which is outside the defined scope of the collection. For 2008-09, the majority of forces within England could supply data excluding unbroken bottles, with four Home Office forces still unable to remove them from their returns.

These figures do not include homicide, as these are collected from the separate Homicide Index. In 2007-08, there were 259 knife or sharp instrument homicides in England. Figures for 2008-09 are pre-announced to be published on the 21 January 2010.