UK knife deaths highest since records began
Gordon Brown's Government came under fire before Christmas for massaging knife crime figures and only now are the true figures emerging. These figures, obtained by the Tory party under the freedom of information act, show that knife crime in the UK has risen by 40% in a decade and currently sits at 6 deaths per week.
The Government, who claim that the Tory figures are misleading as they include other sharp instruments used for attack such as glass, will today announce tougher community sentences for knife related crime but it won't be enough to stop Tory calls for even greater measures to be taken.
The number of people killed with knives has risen to a shocking six every week since Labour came to power.
The 322 fatal stabbings recorded by police last year is the highest number since records began in 1977, and up by almost 40 per cent in a decade.
Behind the stark statistics lie tales of human tragedy, with families left to grieve for lives cut short.
Last night, the Conservative Party, which obtained the figures, called for a new drive to curb knife crime, criticising the "short-term, ad hoc" operations of recent years. The Government will today propose tougher community sentences for knife-related offences. But the Tories insisted there should be an automatic presumption that anyone convicted of having a knife would go to jail.
The police figures showed that the number of people stabbed to death rose from 201 in 1998-99 to 277 over the past year. In the Metropolitan Police area, the number rose from 68 in 2006-07 to 86 this year. The figures are based on crimes initially recorded by officers as "homicide caused by a sharp instrument" – which includes knives and other weapons. Every force apart from Bedfordshire supplied statistics. The final breakdown of knife killings, which will take into account the decisions of prosecutors and courts, will be published by the Home Office next month.