The Daily Mail: Fatal Shootings And Stabbings Are Up By 25PC Under Labour

Monday, 28 April, 2008

The number of gun and knife killings has risen by more than a quarter since Labour came to power, the Home Office's latest crime statistics reveal.

They show the number of Britons beaten to death each year has risen even more dramatically, increasing by 57 per cent since 1998.

Opposition critics last night claimed the bleak figures show the Government has grown 'complacent' about crime amid mounting public concern about the rise in gun and knife culture, particularly in major cities.

They pointed out that only last week Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was celebrating what she called 'excellent' quarterly crime figures.

The latest statistics were uncovered by David Ruffley , the Conservative's police spokesman, in a written Parliamentary answer from Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker.

They show that murders in England and Wales rose by 14 per cent between 1998 and 1999 - the year police crime counting rules changed - and last year, from 646 to 734.

During the same period, deaths from stabbings leapt 28 per cent from 201 to 258, while fatal shootings increased from 46 to 59.

The number of victims killed by beating and kicking also rose, up 57 per cent from 89 to 140. However, although the number of homicides peaked at 953 in 2002-3, the figures that year were distorted by the inclusion of Harold Shipman's 170 victims.

But even when major incidents such as the July 7 bombings were excluded, deaths from murder and manslaughter remain significantly higher than when Labour came to power in 1997.

Tory home affairs spokesman David Davis said: 'Despite the Government's claims to the contrary, it is clear serious violent crime is spiralling out of control with tragic consequences for victims and families of victims up and down the country.

'Labour's complacency makes them part of the problem, not the solution.'

Last week's quarterly crime figures revealed levels of violent crime were unchanged last year, while overall crime against adults in England and Wales was down 6 per cent.

However, gun crime rose by around 4 per cent to just under 10,000 offences. Some 60 Britons a week are being wounded in firearm attacks, while guns are used in almost 30 offences a day.

Miss Smith pointed to falls in the number of violent assaults and robberies recorded by police forces and claimed the results were 'excellent'.