Knife crime: Record levels in Wales in 2018

Knives Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Overall across England and Wales, there were 40,829 recorded knife crimes

Knife crime in Wales has increased to record levels - with a 23% rise over the last year.

Latest crime figures show a 10% increase in overall crimes recorded by Welsh police forces last year.

Crimes involving violence against the person increased by 22%, according to latest Office for National Statistics figures.

There was a fall in theft and vehicle offences while the number of homicides was lower than the previous two years.

Knife crime in Wales

Recorded knife and sharp instrument offences

Apr-March figs until 2016/17, then Jan-December
Source: ONS, 2019

The figures show:

  • There were 1,353 knife crimes in 2018 - more than half were in South Wales and it was a 23% rise on the previous year.
  • Overall, the number of recorded crimes rose to 250,104 in Wales.
  • Gwent and North Wales police forces both recorded a 20% increase in crime in their area, while Dyfed Powys and South Wales forces both recorded a smaller increase of 3%.
  • Stalking and harassment both saw the highest percentage rise year-on-year - 47%, which forces have previously attributed to changes in how these offences are recorded.
  • Welsh forces recorded 27 homicides last year, lower than the 35 recorded in each of the prior two years.
  • Fraud and computer misuse offences rose by 7% last year.

Supt Wendy Gunney, South Wales Police's lead for tackling knife crime, said it had risen across the country and the force was no exception.

"Under Operation Sceptre, we have put in place a number of measures to address any concerns communities may have and clamp down on those who are carrying and using knives," she said.

"This is not a one-size-fits-all tactic, but something that ensures each area takes a specific, targeted and intelligence-led approach to tackling and responding to the needs of their respective communities."

North Wales Police's temporary Assistant Chief Constable Neill Anderson said: "We have a programme of work ongoing to raise awareness amongst young people and under Operation Sceptre we put measures in place to address local concerns."

The latest figures also show 11,899 crimes referred to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau in the year ending December 2018.

The highest increase among the Welsh police force areas was Gwent, up 14% compared to 2017 - but like all Welsh forces it still saw a lower rate of fraud and computer misuse offences than the average for England and Wales combined.

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