Surrey Police is working with a number of key partners to implement a joint strategy to tackle all types of knife crime.
In order to ensure we have a complete picture of the scale of the problem in Surrey, accurate data is essential. It is estimated that police data only accounts for about 40% of the overall problem, so in partnership with Surrey County Council, Health and Children Services, and the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner, we are pulling together information from a number of sources including hospitals and the ambulance service.
A recent review of all knife related crime for the last year has shown that although we clearly record serious knife crime offences in Surrey, other offence types - such as anti-social behaviour - where a knife or bladed article was carried or used were not being captured in the data.
By including all knife related offences in our figures and using a more comprehensive method of reporting this data, we can be sure we have the most up-to-date intelligence to work with, allowing us to identify crime patterns and quickly target where our resources are most needed. This is vital for effective crime investigation and prevention.
Detective Superintendent Pete Fulton, who leads on tackling knife crime for Surrey Police, explains:
“By changing the way we count this type of offence, it has enabled us to obtain a fuller picture of the issue of knife crime in Surrey. This allows us to focus on any crime, regardless of the severity, where a knife or bladed article was used or carried.
“By applying this new methodology to recorded offences over the past two years it shows just under a 1% decrease in knife crime overall in Surrey for 2018/19 compared to 2017/18. Whilst this reduction may appear small, there has been a significant increase nationally in this type of crime, so this result is extremely encouraging for us.
“We have however had an increase of 20 more offences in the serious knife crime categories in 2018/19 compared to the previous year.
“I would like to reassure the public that as we now include crimes of all types in our return to the Home Office, it may appear as if we have had a significant increase in knife crime over the past 12 months. However, this is not the case and is purely down to the change in recording methods and, as outlined above, just under 1% less crime involving knives has in fact been reported this year compared to last.
“Knife crime destroys lives and tackling serious violence in our communities remains a priority for the Force.”
Other crime statistics have also been released this week. The rise of total recorded crime has slowed in comparison to previous years, with a 5% increase in the year to the end of March 2019, compared to a 14.4% increase in the year before (April 17-March 18). Surrey has the 8th lowest crime rate per 1,000 population nationally.
A large proportion of the rise is down to an increase reports of violence without injury which represents 43.9% of the 5% rise. Other notable figures include a 6.5% decrease in burglary and an increase of 37.8% in recorded robberies.
The rise of recorded robberies in actual figures is 133. Of the 485 robberies recorded, 428 relate to robbery of personal property. Of those 428 offences, 129 have involved the use of a blade or sharp instrument.
- Total burglary – decrease of 6.5% (419 offences) – Surrey has the 8th lowest level of burglary nationally per 1,000 households.
- Violence against the person – increase of 5.2% (1,496 offences)
- Violence with injury – increase of 2.5% (176 offences)
- Violence without injury – increase of 7.5% (1,595 offences)
- Serious sexual offences – increase of 12.7% (212 offences) – Surrey has the 5th lowest level of serious sexual offences per 1,000 population.
- Other sexual offences – increase of 9.4% (44 offences)
- Robbery – increase of 37.8% (133 offences)
- Theft (other than vehicle) and handling stolen goods – 3.5% (522 offences)
- Vehicle offences – increase of 10.9% (551 offences)
- Possession of weapons offences – 3.7% (21 offences)