Knife crime offences in London recorded by the Metropolitan Police rose year on year in the latest figures, but have not yet returned to levels seen before the Covid-19 pandemic, writes Ian Jones from PA, but the largest percentage increase in offences among full-size forces was recorded by Avon & Somerset Police.

Some 14,577 offences were recorded in the 12 months to December 2023, Home Office data shows.

This is up 20% from 12,119 in the previous 12 months, but is slightly below the 14,680 in the year to March 2020.

Of the 49,489 knife crime offences recorded in England and Wales in 2023, 29% were by the Metropolitan Police, a higher proportion than any other force.

West Midlands Police were second, accounting for 11% of the total (5,324 offences), and West Yorkshire Police were third on 5% (2,349).

When looking at the number of offences per population, West Midlands Police had the highest rate in 2023, with 180 per 100,000 people, followed by the Metropolitan Police (165 per 100,000), then Cleveland Police (143 per 100,000) and South Yorkshire Police (110 per 100,000).

The Met was one of 23 forces in England and Wales to record a year-on-year increase in knife crime offences in 2023, with 17 recording a decrease and one reporting no change.

The largest percentage increase in offences among full-size forces was recorded by Avon & Somerset Police (up 24% on 2022), followed by South Wales (up 23%), the Metropolitan Police (up 20%) and Durham (up 19%).

City of London Police, the smallest force in England and Wales, recorded 49 offences in 2023, up from 26 in 2022, a jump of 88%.

Lincolnshire Police recorded the largest percentage decrease (down 26%).

The figures do not include Greater Manchester Police or the Devon & Cornwall force, due to data issues.

Some 112 homicides were recorded by the Metropolitan Police in 2023, 72 of which involved a knife.

Home Office figures show the number of knife crime offences recorded by the Met was rising at the start of the last decade, from 12,485 in 2010/11 to 13,260 in 2011/12, after which it fell steadily to reach 9,016 in 2014/15.

The number then began to climb again, peaking at 14,680 offences in 2019/20, before dropping sharply to 10,080 in 2020/21 – the first year of the pandemic.
A number of factors have contributed to rises in police-recorded crime over recent years, according to the Office for National Statistics.

​These include “improvements to recording processes and practices by the police, expansions of the recorded crime collection to include new offences, variations in police activity, more victims reporting crime, and genuine increases in some types of crime.”