Knife crime on the rise in the Thames Valley

Thames Valley has seen knife crime skyrocket in just seven years, figures show.

Anti-knife charity, the Ben Kinsella Trust, warns that soaring knife crime rates are no longer confined to the major cities of England and Wales, and that “every village, town and town” should be aware of the scale of the crisis.

Thames Valley Police recorded 1,591 offenses involving a knife or sharp weapon in 2019-2020, according to data from the Bureau of National Statistics.

This was a 93% increase from the 824 reported in 2012-13, when comparable records were first published.

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There were around 66 knife and sharp weapon offenses per 100,000 population in the Thames Valley last year – a record, and well over 36 per 100,000 seven years earlier.

Knife crime has increased in England and Wales in recent years, the ONS said, with a record 50,000 police-recorded offenses in the year leading up to the coronavirus crisis.

Of these, 22,012 (44%) involved assault causing bodily harm or assault with intent to cause serious harm, and 21,961 (44%) were used in a robbery.

The ONS said that despite improved methods of recording crimes, the increases would likely reflect a real increase in the number of knife and sharp weapons offenses nationwide.

Patrick Green, managing director of the Ben Kinsella Trust, said the latest figures are “frightening”.

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He said: “Tragically, knife crime has become ingrained in our society, affecting from generation to generation.

“We are no longer just faced with a sudden increase in knife crime, this problem is getting worse and worse every year.

“The government must change its approach. We are beyond the point where we can stop our way out of this problem, we need to do more to tackle the root causes of knife crime.

“This means a greater focus on prevention and early intervention to prevent knife wearing in the first place.”

Separate ONS figures show knife crime soared 25 percent between July and September last year with the lockdown restrictions lifted.

Mr Green said the charity was already seeing an increase in crime ahead of the planned easing of restrictions in the coming weeks.

The latest data also reveals the number of gun crimes recorded by police forces in England and Wales.

Thames Valley Police recorded 46 firearm offenses in 2019-2020, 21 fewer than the 67 recorded a year earlier.

The figures include offenses in which a firearm was fired, used as a blunt instrument or as a threat, but exclude any aerial weapon.

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.

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