I am writing to you under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to request the following information about knife crime from West Midlands Police.
- Please could you provide data for all incidents of knife crime that occurred in the West Midlands over a 10-year period. I understand that there is not one dataset for knife crime, but it is instead recorded per Home Office guidelines as “homicide; attempted murder; threats to kill; assault with injury and assault with intent to cause serious harm; robbery; rape; and sexual assault” in which a knife or sharp instrument/object was used/present. I am happy to receive data for the past 10 years in accordance with those categories. If you classify your data in a different or any additional way, then please provide in the format/categories you use.
- Please could you ensure this data is also broken down by age. I am specifically interested in knowing which incidents involved a victim aged 1 to 24. If it reduces time and cost, please feel free to provide the data split into incidents involving victims under 24 and over 24. If you are able to provide more detailed age breakdowns within the cost allowance e.g. 1-8, 9-16, 17-24, then please do that.
- Please can you also confirm whether motive is listed for these knife-related incidents. If the cost allowance allows, please also provide the motives with each incident. If this is too expensive, please could you only detail which incidents were between family members and/or partners and so domestic abuse.
- Please can you also confirm whether knife-related incidents are flagged as gang-related and/or gang-motivated and, if the cost allowance allows, please indicate which incidents were considered gang-related gang-related and/or gang-motivated.
Please find attached our response.
Please note that these data should be interpreted with caution. Comparing numbers of incidents/crimes can be misleading and does not necessarily indicate the likelihood of someone being a victim of crime. In addition, the number of incidents/crimes recorded in an area over a period of time can be influenced by a number of factors. Consequently statistics on incidents/crimes for one period may not necessarily be a good indicator of future incidents in that area.
Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from a number of data sources used by forces for police purposes. The detail collected to respond specifically to your request is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when interpreting those data.
The figures provided therefore are our best interpretation of relevance of data to your request, but you should be aware that the collation of figures for ad hoc requests may have limitations and this should be taken into account when those data are used.
If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would ask you to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.