Crime figures released this week revealed that fatal stabbings in England and Wales are at the highest level since 2010-2011, while rapes at knifepoint rose by 23 per cent in the past year.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recorded 413 rapes involving a knife in the year to March, up from 334 the previous year, while in 2010-2011 the number stood at 258.
The statistics show fatal knife attacks also rose last year and revealed that while the number of female victims was the lowest in a decade, at 51, the number of males murdered in deadly knife attacks was the highest since 2009, standing at 164.
“Male victims aged 16 to 24 years and 35 to 44 years have seen the biggest increases over the last year, with both groups having 10 more homicides than in the year ending March 2016,” the ONS reported.
Overall, 215 people died in fatal attacks using a knife or other sharp instrument last year, which marked the highest number since the year to 2011, in which 236 people were killed.
Official data released in January showed the surging rate of violent and sexual crime in the UK had been accelerating faster than previously thought, with violent crime overall rising 20 per cent.
The Lancashire Evening Post reported the latest ONS figures show “huge rises in robbery, sex and violent crime” in the country, where a number of regions recorded “alarmingly high increases” in offences over the last 12 months.
Commissioner Clive Grunshaw of Lancashire Police said the statistics showed “the increasing levels of demand that our officers are dealing with as the number of recorded crimes continues to rise. Our officers continue to do more with less.”
While forces across the country have blamed police cuts, which have seen officer numbers reduced by 20,000 to their lowest level since 1985, for dismal crime rates, critics have suggested their reduced resources are not being wisely deployed.
Lancashire Police, along with the forces of Greater Manchester, Cheshire, and North Wales on Monday launched a new regional Hate Crime Awareness Week in which officers across the North West of England are holding events urging people to report so-called hate crimes.
Heralding the start of the weeklong campaign, Detective Superintendent Richie Salter of Merseyside Police said forces are worried that not enough people are coming forward to report hate crime, explaining that officers “see a reduction in reports of hate crime at this time of year”.
“This may in part be down to a decrease in the number of incidents, but we suspect part of the reason may be that – for whatever reason – victims feel less inclined to report incidents at this time of year,” he said, urging potential victims to “come forward and tell us rather than suffer in silence”.