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Record knife crime with 40,000 offences in a year

RECORD levels of knife crime were recorded in England and Wales last year, official figures reveal.

There were 40,829 offences involving blades or sharp objects, a rise of six per cent in a year and the largest total since comparable data began in 2011.

And the number of homicides, which include murder and manslaughter, also went up six per cent to 732 — the highest since 2007.

The Office for National Statistics data comes after a spate of knife crimes involving young people caused a political row over police funding cuts. Officer numbers are down 22,000 since 2010.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who chairs the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: ‘The police are completely overstretched.’ Home secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘I wish there was one single thing that could be done that would bring it down dramatically. But we need action on many fronts.’

Barnardo’s CEO Javed Khan said: ‘Children are not born with knives in their hands. They don’t feel safe. And they don’t believe there’s an alternative on offer. Too many see little or no possibility of a positive future.’