Britain’s knife crime epidemic spreads to the Home Counties: Stabbings are now more likely in Bedfordshire than in Merseyside as city drugs gangs extend their grip across the UK
- The knife crime epidemic has nearly doubled in UK’s Home Counties
- Hertfordshire, Hampshire and Norfolk’s rates increased more than 100 per cent
- Experts link the increase in knife crime with city drug gangs expanding territory
Britain’s knife crime epidemic has spread to the Home Counties as stabbings are now more likely in Bedfordshire than in Merseyside.
Hertfordshire, Hampshire, Warwickshire, Norfolk and north Wales’ rates of knife crime have all increased by more than 100 per cent in the past three years, while London’s rate only increased by 20 per cent.
The epidemic is being fuelled by city gangs expanding their territory and going into rural areas, forcing out local gangs with extreme violence, according to experts.
New statistics show that a person is more likely to be stabbed in Bedfordshire than in Manchester or Merseyside, according to a Sunday Times investigation.
Hertfordshire, Hampshire, Warwickshire, Norfolk and north Wales’ rates of knife crime have all increased by more than 100 per cent in the past three years
WHERE KNIFE CRIMES HAVE INCREASED THE MOST
Norfolk – 274 per cent
Warwickshire – 180 per cent
North Wales – 134 per cent
Hertfordshire – 150 per cent
Hampshire – 102 per cent
Bedfordshire – 86 per cent
Essex – 86 per cent
Cambridgeshire – 83 per cent
Thames Valley – 50 per cent
The percentages are calculated by comparing the county’s number of incidents in rates per population from 2014 to 2017.
For example, in Hertfordshire incidents rose 150 per cent in three years, from 229 knife crimes to 573.
A new Home Office report said the increase in violence is linked with ‘county lines’ drug dealing, where large city gangs go to rural areas and force out local drug dealers – using violence when doing so.
For these showdowns, gang members carry weapons – such as knives and acid – to defend themselves.
Vince O’Brien, head of drugs operation at the National Crime agency said to the paper: ‘There is an increasing level of violence coming from city gangs establishing themselves in new drugs markets in rural areas.
‘Counties which surround London are being affected.’
Andy Higgins, research director for the Police Foundation think tank, added: ‘Although the highest volume of knife crime is in London, some of the largest increases in recent years have been in the county forces.
‘The county lines phenomena — organised crime groups exploiting vulnerable young people to supply drugs in smaller towns — is known to be associated with serious violence.’
And as gang violence escalates, a growing number of children and teens are being injured and killed in the wake of the epidemic.
Youths are being sucked into the underworld of crime with the lure of fast cash and are being used to run illegal substances for adult drug dealers.
New statistics show that a person is more likely to be stabbed in Bedfordshire (file photo) than in Manchester or Merseyside
Disturbing pictures show just a fraction of the terrifying arsenal of weapons being carried around the streets of Britain which were seized by police in a single week. Officers seized these two serrated blades being carried in sheaths from people on the streets of Britain
A small axe with a black and yellow handle was among the terrifying weapons seized by police
And as gangs expand their reach from urban areas to rural, a disturbing new form of British rap music called Drill has also been blamed for the surge in gang killings.
The sick videos feature masked gang members displaying weapons, rapping about recent stabbings, taking drugs and making threats to their rivals.
One of the scene’s most popular rappers is Headie One, from Tottenham, who has been jailed twice and has 246,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
Figures released by Scotland Yard earlier this week show that there were 35 fatal stabbings in London alone in the first three months of the year. Eight of the victims were teenagers.
Last month, a study uncovered by Mail Online laid bare research that revealed forces across England and Wales have lost over 20,000 officers since 2010.
In England and Wales overall, the number of deployable officers across the 43 forces plummeted from 143,734 in March 2010 to 123,142 in March 2017.
Three of Britain’s biggest forces lost nearly 2,000 officers each other the seven years.
The West Midlands shed a massive 1,870 officers, while Greater Manchester Police Force lost 1,830 officers – going from 8,148 to 6,318 officers.
The Metropolitan Police, the country’s largest force which takes the lead on counter terrorism as well as policing the capital, lost 1,850 officers over the same period.
A map to show the 62 killings which have taken place in London since Christmas
And figures for September 2017 – the latest snapshot available – shows that the trend of falling numbers is continuing, down again to 121,929 in England and Wales.
The new report comes after Trump blasted a London hospital, describing it a ‘war zone’ because of knife crime.
Speaking at a pro-gun rally, the US president claimed that knife crime in London is so bad that one unnamed hospital in the capital is ‘like a war zone for horrible stabbing wounds’ with ‘blood all over the floors’.
He told the National Rifle Convention (NRA) in Dallas: ‘I recently read a story that in London, which has unbelievably tough gun laws, a once very prestigious hospital right in the middle is like a war zone for horrible stabbing wounds.
‘Yes that’s right, they don’t have guns they have knives. And instead there’s blood all over the floors of this hospital. They say it’s as bad as a military war zone hospital.
‘We’re here today because we recognise a simple fact. The one thing that has always stood between the American people and the elimination of our Second Amendment rights has been Conservatives and congress willing to fight for those rights, and we’re fighting.’
Donald Trump has described an unnamed London hospital as a ‘war zone’, with ‘blood all over the floors’ because of knife crimes
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