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A record 285 people were stabbed to death in the year to end-March 2018
YOUSEF MAKKI and Jodie Chesney, two 17-year-olds, were stabbed to death this past weekend. Mr Makki was killed near Manchester, while Ms Chesney was murdered in east London. Their deaths reflect a broader trend: knife crimes are on the rise across Britain.
Data from the Home Office show that 285 people were stabbed to death in England and Wales in the 12 months to March 31st, 2018, the highest number since records began in 1946. The overall homicide rate rose to 1.24 per 100,000 people, up from 0.89 in 2015, though still well below its recent peak of more than 1.5 in the early 2000s. Data from the National Health Service show the number of people aged 18 and under being treated for stab wounds has increased by 66% over the past five years in England, taking it back to its level of ten years or so ago.
What is behind the outbreak? Some point to the deep cuts to police funding made by the Conservative-led coalition government from 2010. The number of officers has since declined by 16%. Coppers are stopping and searching many fewer people on the streets. Theresa May, the prime minister (who as home secretary in 2010-16 presided over the police cuts and reined in stop-and-search), insists that there is “no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers”. But Cressida Dick, the head of the Metropolitan Police, disagrees. In a recent interview she said there “must be something” to the fact that violent crime has increased just as budgets for the police and other public services have shrunk.