The total number of offences recorded by Metropolitan Police in the last financial year showed robberies and thefts both up by 15 per cent, and drug offences 23 per cent higher. Overall crime in London rose 5 times faster than the rest of England and Wales.

Nationally, police recorded 5.8 million crimes in England and Wales with the total number of annual murders increasing by 10 per cent, to 683 from 623, mostly as a result of killings in the capital.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, said in response to the report:

“Tackling violence is the number one priority for the Met and we are pleased to see the fall in offences of violence with injury. We are determined to maintain our focus in protecting Londoners and ensuring that our streets are safe.

Nevertheless, there remains a number of challenges including robbery and theft from a person, where there is still more work to be done. These figures reflect a period before the country entered lockdown and there will be no let-up in our violence suppression work as communities emerge from these restrictions.

Every member of the Met is committed to protecting Londoners and we will continue to pursue those offenders causing the most serious harm.”

Across England and Wales, knife crime in has risen six per cent to the highest on record, official figures show.

Police-recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument rose to 46,265 for the year to March, the ONS said. This was 51 per cent higher than when data of this kind was first collected in 2011, and is the highest number on record, the report said. The number of offences varied across different regions as the data showed a 7 per cent increase in London but a 10 per cent drop in the number of offences in West Yorkshire.

The report said: “Knife or sharp instrument offences continue to be concentrated in metropolitan areas across England and Wales, with around a third (34 per cent) of all offences recorded by the police in London.”

According to the ONS figures the rise in homicides was mainly driven by a 28 per cent rise in offences in London (67 to 86) while the rest of the country saw a 7 per cent decrease in the number of homicides involving a knife or sharp instrument.

Sophie Sanders from ONS Centre for Crime and Justice said:

“Overall crime rates were lower in the months leading up to the coronavirus pandemic, than they were in early 2019.

However, it will not be possible to say whether this would have come to represent a change from the trend in recent years, as the pandemic will have had an impact on the level and types of crime since March.

In contrast, prior to lockdown, we saw police recorded crime increase. This has been driven, largely, by a rise in high-volume offences including violence without injury, stalking and harassment, and fraud and computer misuse, which, apart from the latter, have been influenced by improvements in recording practices.

There are also different patterns for specific crimes. For instance, theft from the person increased but burglary decreased.”

The figures provided do not include Greater Manchester Police, who are unable to provide data due to continuing problems with a new computer system.

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