7 February 2019
The government is ‘failing a generation’ as the murder rate for young people rockets and stabbing deaths reach the highest level on record.
That’s the reaction of the Police Federation of England and Wales as new homicide data shows 285 people were stabbed to death last year while the number of murder victims aged 16 to 24 increased by 45% over the same period.
The figures, published today (7 February) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), reveal the murder rate for the whole of England and Wales rose by 15% from 606 to 695* during the year from March 2017 to March 2018. It is the fourth consecutive year the number has increased.
In 285 of these deaths, victims died as a result of being stabbed which is the highest number since the Home Office started recording the data in 1946. Hospital admissions for stab-related injuries have also increased by 15%.
National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales John Apter said: “The Home Secretary, the Prime Minster and the entire Government should read these statistics and hang their heads in shame.
“These figures show that homicide in this country is rising at an alarming rate, with a huge rise in stabbing-related deaths and a massive increase in the number of young victims. The Government has a duty to protect its citizens and they are failing to do so – failing a generation.”
The murder statistics follow the publication two weeks ago of the latest crime figures which show that violent crime has increased by 19% in the last year with robberies up by 17% and knife crime up by 8%.
Mr Apter continued: “The consequences of the cuts are clear for all to see. This country is in the grip of a terrifying spiral of violent crime and the police service is struggling to cope. But we are not the only ones - all public services which have a role to play in tackling this insidious issue have been stripped to the bone. This is the true cost of austerity.
“What makes this more sickening is it was predicted. This is one of many consequences of cuts to policing that we warned of but were ridiculed for doing so. Those who said we were scaremongering or crying wolf should be utterly ashamed.
“The public is being let down at every turn. How many more people will have to die before the Government takes action? I am tired of the tinkering around the edges, the warm words, the noble intentions. Politicians, who have in their power to make effective and meaningful change choose to do nothing of note. This issue is bigger than party politics or fiscal policy and it has to take precedent.
“Policing, along with the entire public sector, needs significant and immediate centrally-funded investment to end this criminal waste of life.”
The ONS has also published a report on the nature of violent crime in England and Wales for the year ending 2018. This is based on the National Crime Survey, which records people’s experience of crime, rather than police recorded data.
Some of the headlines from this report show:
* There were 726 homicides in the year ending March 2018, 20 more (3% increase) than in the previous year. However, recent trends in homicide are affected by the recording of exceptional incidents with multiple victims. If these are excluded, then the number of homicides increased by 89, or 15%, from 606 to 695.