Fatal stabbings have reached the highest level on record, according to new figures revealing the scale of Britain’s knife crime crisis.
The number of young people killed by knives rose by nearly 50pc last year amid a surge of murderous violence, Home Office analysis showed.
Victims’ campaigners said the numbers were “horrifying” and claimed parents no longer felt safe allowing their children outside after dark.
It comes as police forces across the country struggle to cope with a rising tide of violent crime. Last night policing figures accused ministers of “failing a generation” by cutting the number of officers on the streets.
In the year to March 2018 there were 285 homicides in England and Wales where the method of killing was by a knife or sharp instrument, the Office for National Statistics said.
It was an increase of 73 compared with 2016/17, and the highest number since records began at the end of the Second World War. The previous high was in 2008, when there were 268 victims.
Overall, the murder rate rose by 15pc from 606 to 695, the fourth consecutive year that the number has increased, following a steady decline.
There were 179 white victims of fatal stabbings, nearly two thirds of the total, while 70, a quarter, were black. This was both the highest number and proportion of black victims ever.