Labour's Diane Abbott says ministers ‘in denial’ as police stats reveal violent crime rise

Posted On: 
24th January 2019

Ministers are “in denial” about the scale of violent crime, Diane Abbott has said, as police statistics revealed a rise in cases of homicide and knife crime.

Police-recorded offences of homicide and knife offences rose
PA Images

Office for National Statistics figures for England and Wales show that the year ending in September 2018 saw a 14% jump in homicide cases, with an 8% uplift in those involving knife attacks.

The data meanwhile shows that recorded homicides, excluding victims of terror attacks, went up from 649 in the previous year to 739.

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This continues the upward trend since March 2014, in contrast to a long-term decrease logged the previous decade.

The stats also show that crime rose overall by 7%, with a total of 5,723,182 offences recorded.

Meanwhile there was a 15% increase in the number of hospital admissions in England for assaults involving a sharp instrument.

Elsewhere, cases of violence against the person rose by 19%, while offences involving stalking and harassment jumped by 41%.

There was also a 17% increase in robbery offences, continuing the increases seen in recent years.

Ms Abbott, the Shadow Home Secretary said: "The latest crime data underlines the failures of Government policy across the piece. Serious violent crime continues to rise yet the Government remains in denial about the effects of its own policies.

"The Tories’ have cut police officer numbers. They have also exacerbated all the causes of crime, including inequality, poverty, poor mental health care as well the crisis in our schools, especially school exclusions."

Explaining the stats, Helen Ross - from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice - said: "In recent decades we’ve seen the overall level of crime falling, but in the last year, it remained level.
"There are variations within this overall figure, depending on the type of crime.

"Burglary, shoplifting and computer misuse are decreasing but others, such as vehicle offences and robbery are rising.

"We have also seen increases in some types of ‘lower-volume, high-harm’ violence including offences involving knives or sharp instruments."

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson meanwhile Ed Davey said: “We are facing an epidemic of violent crime. Behind these shocking figures lies hundreds of tragedies of young lives cut short. All Conservative Ministers have done is make things worse.

“From severe reductions in the police budget to the weakening of security at our borders, the Prime Minister bears personal responsibility for decisions that have left people and communities in danger.”

Policing minister, Nick Hurd, said: “Today’s statistics show that your chance of being a victim of crime remains low. But we accept certain crimes, particularly violent crime, have increased and we are doing everything possible to reverse the trend.

“We have listened to police’s concerns about rising demand and have proposed the biggest increase in police funding since 2010. I’m confident the new settlement, which delivers up to £970m of additional public investment into policing in 2019/20, will help the police continue to recruit more officers.

“We know it’s also crucial to stop crime happening in the first place. This is why our Government’s Serious Violence Strategy emphasises intervening early and is working to prevent young people from being drawn into a life of crime.”