KNIFE crime is rising at a quicker rate in towns and cities outside London, new worrying figures reveal.
Statistics published today suggest the rate of attacks in large British cities is higher than some London boroughs.
Figures obtained by the BBC show Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool and Slough are more affected by knife crime than certain districts in the capital.
Other areas which make up the top 25 most dangerous places include Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham and Reading.
In London, boroughs including Westminster, Hackney, Haringey, Newham, Lewisham and Tower Hamlets are more rife with incidents than in leafy boroughs on the outskirts.
WORSE THAN LONDON
Incidents are less frequent in Richmond, Sutton, Bromley, Barnet and Merton – and are now being overtaken by other British cities.
In Lancashire, knife crime has doubled in the last five years after 981 incidents were reported in 2018.
Meanwhile, knife possession in Scotland continues to increase with figures showing more than 2,300 crimes were reported in 2018.
Byron Highton, whose 18-year-old brother was stabbed to death with an axe in Preston in 2014, told the BBC the whole country is suffering.
We are suffering just as much as anywhere else. The whole country is suffering from knife crime, but small cities in the north like Preston get no mention.
He said: “We are suffering just as much as anywhere else. The whole country is suffering from knife crime, but small cities in the north like Preston get no mention.
“Young people have a lack of respect for life. The scary part is how bad is it going to be in 10 years if this generation isn’t fixed?”
The figures, made up from data from 34 of the 43 police forces, show the safest places in England and Wales are Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Norfolk.
The Freedom of Information findings also show how almost half of knife crime offences are carried out by those aged 24 and under.
In 2018, more than one in six (15 per cent) crime suspects were female.
Lauren, 18, from Blackpool, said she doesn’t feel safe walking home after being threatened on her estate.
She said: “Me and my friend were walking home and a guy came out and threatened to stab one of my mates.”
Her friend Keeley, 17, added: “I got threatened with a machete in a park by a group of lads when I was playing football. They wanted to play in our half, but we said no.”
The increase of knife crime in parts of the UK including Blackpool has been put down to poverty, unemployment, school exclusion rates and county lines drugs gangs.
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Ashley Hackett, chief executive of Blackpool Football Club Community Trust, told the BBC: “We have an awful lot of children and teenagers who are living in deprivation.
“Whatever way they can find to earn money and support households, legally and illegally, they are doing it. That includes drugs and knives.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “We are taking action to tackle the violent crime which has such a devastating impact on our communities.
“This includes supporting the police by recruiting 20,000 new police officers over the next three years, making it easier for them to use stop and search powers, and investing £10m in additional funding to allow forces to increase the number of officers carrying Tasers.”
Knife crimes per 10,000 people
Tower Hamlets 23.5
Hammersmith and Fulham 21.4
Kensington and Chelsea 19.4
Barking and Dagenham 18
Waltham Forest 17.4
Byron Highton, pictured, was heartbroken after his brother was stabbed to death in 2014[/caption]
Blackpool students Lauren (left) and Keeley (right) have been threatened by people armed with knives near their home[/caption]
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