Serious knife crime is at its highest level in eight years in the Thames Valley, with almost 1,500 incidents reported last year.

Thames Valley Police recorded 1,483 serious crimes involving knives in 2018, the latest crime data shows.

This was up 19 per cent on the previous year and the highest total for figures going back to 2010/11.

In 2017 there were 1,242 incidents involving knives.

Serious knife crime in Thames Valley included eight homicides, 48 rape and sexual assault offences and 117 threats to kill across the policing area last year.

The number of incidents last year is 27 per cent higher than in 2010/11.

Statistics were measured from April to March until 2017. They are now measured by calendar year.

Thames Valley Police covers Reading, Berkshire, the rest of the county, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

An audit of Thames Valley Police into the recording of knife and sharp instrument offences since the introduction of their new recording system in April 2014 has revealed that they were previously under-counting these offences.

Overall, in England and Wales, criminals used knives in 44,443 serious crimes last year.

These included 261 homicides, 682 rape and sexual assault offences and 3,507 threats to kill.

The most common serious knife crime is ‘assault with injury and assault with intent to cause serious harm’, which makes up almost half of offences in England and Wales.

The knife offences that are counted as serious are:

  • Attempted murder
  • Threats to kill
  • Assault with injury and assault with intent to cause serious harm
  • Robbery
  • Rape and sexual assault
  • Homicide