This briefing looks at statistics on knife crime in England and Wales. It uses police recorded crime data to evaluate trends over time and to compare knife crime between police force areas, with a section focussing specifically on knife crime in London. Sentencing statistics are also used to look at outcomes of proven posession offences. The final section of this briefing examines NHS hospital data to supplement police and court data.

Recorded crime

The ONS publishes data on police recorded crime involving a knife or sharp instrument for a selection of serious violent offences. In the year ending March 2022, there were around 45,000 (selected) offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in England and Wales (excluding Greater Manchester Police Force).  This was 9% higher than in 2020/21 and 34% higher than in 2010/11. Recent trends in knife crime have been affected by undercounting in the Greater Manchester Police Force area prior to 2018/19. Increases in recorded offences since 2018/19 are directly related with improvements in recording practices.


Source: ONS, Crime in England and Wales: Other related tables, Table F3a.


In the year ending March 2022 there were 261 homicides (currently recorded) using a sharp instrument, including knives and broken bottles.

Knife Crime by police force area

ONS data shows that West Midlands Police Force recorded the highest rate of 152 offences involving a knife per 100,000 population in 2021/22, a 3% decrease on the rate of 156 recorded in 2020/21. Dyfed-Powys had the lowest rate of 34 offences per 100,000 individuals (up from 28 in 2020/21).

Proven offences and offenders

Sentencing statistics from the Ministry of Justice shows that in the year ending March 2022, there were 19,555 disposals given for possession of a knife or offensive weapon. Juveniles (aged 10-17) were the offenders in 18% of cases.

Hospital admissions

Data from NHS Digital shows that there were 4,171 finished consultant episodes (FCE) recorded in English hospitals in 2021/22 due to assault by a sharp object. This was 2% higher than in 2020/21 and 14% higher than in 2014/15.


Source: NHS Digital, Hospital Admitted Patient Care Activity, 2021-2022: External causes tables

Related posts