Homicide: Method of killing in England and Wales 2018/19

Knives or other sharp objects were involved in 46 percent of homicides in England and Wales in 2018/19, the most of any method of killing. Homicides which involved hitting or kicking without a weapon made up 18 percent of murders, while strangulation was identified as the method in eight percent of homicides.

Homicides rate highest in North West
The 736 homicides reported in 2017/18 was the highest number in England and Wales since 2007/08 when there were 775. Between 2009/09 and 2015/16 there were never more than 664 homicides in England and Wales, with 2013/14 having only 533 in total. The region with the highest homicide rate was the North West of England, which had 18.7 murders per million population.

Overall knife crime on the rise
Like many other types of crime, knife crime offences in the 2010s started to decline at the start of the decade before creeping up again from 2014 onwards, reaching over 21.1 thousand offences by 2017/18. In London where much of the media’s attention on knife crime is focused, there were over 14.84 thousand knife crime offences alone in 2018/19.

Method of killing as a proportion of all homicides in England and Wales in 2018/19

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Release date

February 2020


United Kingdom (England, Wales)

Survey time period

April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019

Age group

Supplementary notes

* 'Other' includes all other apparent methods and where method is unknown.

Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics.

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Statistics on "Crime in the United Kingdom (UK)"

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