According to the latest research by The Guardian newspaper, knife crime is rising at a much faster rate in the home counties and other areas than in the capital city.
The figures, based on the latest police figures show a 45.7 per cent average increase in knife-related offences in 34 English and Welsh counties since 2010, compared with an 11 per cent rise in London.
In the home counties, knife crime has risen by an average of 44.8 per cent over the past eight years. Kent recorded the biggest increase of such crimes in England and Wales, up 152 per cent since April 2010.
Police chiefs and experts said the figures were partly fuelled by gangs targeting new customers in rural areas, known as the ‘county lines phenomenon’.
So far in 2019, nine teenagers have died as a result of knife crime in London, Birmingham and Manchester. This has prompted Police chiefs and Government officials to demand that more is done to tackle the epidemic.
The number of knife crime offences remains far higher in the major cities, but the increase since 2010 is steeper elsewhere.
Knife crime is up 11 per cent in London between April 2010 and September 2018. But in the home counties, the increases are far higher, albeit from a smaller base. Knife crime incidents in Hertfordshire are up 89 per cent, from 272 offences to 513; Essex is up 43 per cent, from 536 to 766; the Thames Valley is up 23 per cent, from 996 to 1,431.
In the West Midlands, knife crime in the Birmingham police area is up only 3 per cent since 2010, but there was a 42 per cent average increase in the neighbouring provinces of Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Mercia over the same period, from 959 offences to 1,363.
In Staffordshire, knife crime has risen 88%, from 367 offences in 2010 to 689 in just the last year.
John Apter, the Head of the Police Federation has called on the government to set up a multi-agency group to tackle the national crisis caused by the decimation of youth services and the increased drug dealing across county lines.
He said: “Understandably the focus has always been on larger cities such as London and Manchester but the problem of knife crime is indiscriminate and it is increasing in other areas at an alarming rate.
“This is a massive, considerable problem and the police need a lifeline which can only be provided through genuine tangible investment.”