Diane Abbott blasts ministers over ‘truly shocking’ gun and knife crime rises

Posted On: 
25th January 2018

Diane Abbott has accused ministers of failing to protect the public amid a massive jump in recorded knife and gun crime in England and Wales.

Police officers in London
PA Images

Firearm offences rocketed by 21% in a year to September, while knife crime saw a rise of 20%, with an increase of 38% in the latter in London.

Overall recorded crime jumped by 14% from the previous year, compared to an 8% increase in 2016 and 6% in 2015.

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Elsewhere, the number of robberies jumped by 29%, while sex offences were up 23%.

Vehicle-related theft offences also went up by 18%, and burglary rose by 8%.

The Shadow Home Secretary accused ministers of trying to “fight crime on the cheap”, adding that the figures proved forces were “under-staffed and over-stretched”.

“These figures are truly shocking and should put an end to Government complacency on crime,” she said.

“The Tories are failing in a basic duty to protect the public. They have now cut over 21,000 police officers since 2010, leaving forces across the country under-staffed and over-stretched. 

“Police numbers are now at their lowest in 30 years. You can't fight crime on the cheap.”

But the Office for National Statistics urged caution, saying that some of the rise could be put down to better recording by the police. 

Furthermore, police recorded crime is one of two measures used by the Government, with the alternative Crime Survey for England and Wales showing crime had in fact fallen by 10%.

Mark Bangs from the ONS said while levels of crime had continued to fall, "the picture varied across different types of crime”.

“While overall levels of violent crime were not increasing, there is evidence of rises having occurred in some of the low incidence but more harmful categories such as knife and gun crime," he said.