Nearly 1,000 knife crime offences were recorded in South Yorkshire in one year, new figures reveal.
In the 12 months up to June, South Yorkshire Police recorded 977 offences involving a knife or ‘sharp instrument’.
The year before there were 986 offences recorded.
In Sheffield alone there have been eight fatal stabbings so far this year, with the victims aged between 15 and 85.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that police-recorded crime has increased by almost a tenth nationally, fuelled by rises in murders, knife-related offences, robberies and theft.
Forces in England and Wales registered a total of 5.6 million offences – a rise of nine per cent compared with the previous 12 months, and the highest total since the year ending March 2005.
The data also reveals a 14 per cent increase in police-recorded murders, from 630 to 719.
In South Yorkshire there were 15 murders, compared to 16 the previous year.
Nationally, robberies were up 22 per cent, sexual offences up 18 per cent, vehicle-related theft up seven per cent and burglaries up two per cent.
There was a five per cent drop in police-recorded offences involving firearms.
Meanwhile, separate Home Office data shows 8.7 per cent of recorded offences resulted in a charge or summons over the 12-month period.
In 46.6 per cent of cases, suspects were never identified.
Labour described the ONS statistics as ‘truly shocking’ and accused the Conservatives of ‘failing in their duty to protect the public and keep our citizens safe’.
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "It didn't take a crystal ball to predict these shocking increases because they only reflect what we have been telling Government for years - we need more boots on the ground."
Policing Minister Nick Hurd said: "This government is determined to tackle all types of crime - and although the chance of being a victim remains low, we are taking decisive action in a number of areas.
"To combat serious violence our strategy addresses the root causes of crime with a focus on early intervention and we have announced a new £200m Youth Endowment Fund to support young people at risk of involvement in crime.
"On top of this, we are consulting on a public health approach to serious violence and giving police extra powers to tackle knife crime through our Offensive Weapons Bill.
"We also recognise the demand on police, which is why the Home Secretary has said he will prioritise police funding in the Spending Review."
Chief Constable Bill Skelly, National Police Chiefs' Council lead for crime recording and statistics, said: "Rising crime is placing greater demand on policing as forces strive to reduce crime as well as respond to a growing terrorist threat and more calls from the public for help, including responding to people in crisis when other agencies lack their own capacity."
Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “The crime statistics show that crime has risen across the country including South Yorkshire.
“While the overall percentage increase is slightly less here than the national picture, any increase is unwelcome.
“Everyone in the country knows by now that the police have fewer resources both national and locally with which to respond to crime so we should not be surprised that in some areas there has been a rise.
“The significant falls in bicycle theft and burglaries are to be welcomed. Householders are getting better at protecting their properties and taking police advice. Shoplifting and vehicle
offences are also down.
“But the areas that give me concern are those for violence against the person, stalking and harassment and public order offences.
“Those for stalking may be the result of more people willing to come forward – and that is a good thing.
“But we know that last year there was an increase in stabbings and other crimes of violence which is why South Yorkshire Police, in conjunction with partners, have been working hard to
put together joint strategies to tackle it. I expect there to be further initiatives in future as we all work together to understand the underlying issues and then deal with them.
“I firmly believe that the restoration of neighbourhood policing will help to improve police intelligence and help reduce crime.
“Public order has been an issue in Sheffield with the protests around the council’s tree felling programme. There may well be similar protests in the coming year around fracking. In both
cases these are matters which the police can do little about other than to maintain law and order, but they are immensely costly in terms of police resources which we all, as council tax
payers, have to fund.”