Knife offences and killings in England and Wales have risen significantly in the last year, official crime figures reveal today.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has recorded the number of homicides has increased by 12 per cent, up from 627 last year to 701.

They now stand at their highest level since 2008, as London and other cities face the challenges of rising violent crime.

Police recorded 40,147 crimes involving a knife or sharp instrument in the year to March 2018, a 16 per cent increase from 2016/17 and the highest since 2010/11.

The number of robberies recorded by the police also increased by 30 per cent and there was a 17 per cent rise in thefts from vehicles.

Computer crime saw a 31 per cent drop largely due to a decrease in software viruses.

However official statisticians do make clear that overall crime levels are now ‘stabilising’ after decades of reductions.

In the 12 months to March, forces in England and Wales recorded a total of 5.5million offences in total, a rise of a tenth compared with the previous year.

Caroline Youell, of the ONS, said most people do not experience crime.

She said: ‘Over recent decades, we’ve seen a fall in overall levels of crime, a trend that now looks to be stabilising.

‘Today’s figures show a fairly stable picture in England and Wales for most crime types.

‘It is too early to say if this is a change to the long-term declining trend. There have been increases in some lower-volume ‘high-harm’ offences such as homicide and knife crime, consistent with rises over the past three years.

‘We have also seen continued increases in some theft offences such as vehicle-related theft and burglary, while computer viruses have fallen.’

To read the latest ONS report click here