Black people in England and Wales are four times as likely to be murdered as white people, according to new figures published by the Office for National Statistics.
The figures show that there were 39.7 black murder victims for every million people in England and Wales in the three years ending March 2022 – more than four times the 8.9 white victims.
The racial disparity among murder victims has worsened over the last decade. Between 2013 and 2016 black people were three times as likely to be murdered as white people, after comparing population sizes. That then rose to 3.7 times as likely between 2016 and 2019.
Despite being less likely to be murdered, white people still made up the majority of murder victims – 71% in the year ending March 2022.
The figures – gathered by the Home Office – also show the number of people stabbed to death reached a record high in England and Wales last year, with almost 282 people killed using a knife or another sharp object. The number of male victims aged 16 to 17 more than doubled to 24, from 10 in the year ending March 2021. Just over one in five stab victims were black.
The statistics – which cover the year ending in March 2022 – represent a 19% increase in murder-stabbings compared with the previous year, during which lockdown restrictions were in place. They represent the highest annual total of knife-based murders since the Home Office’s homicide index began in 1946.
The number of homicides as a whole increased back to pre-pandemic levels last year following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in England and Wales. There were almost two murders a day (696) in the year ending March 2022 – a similar figure to the four years preceding the pandemic.
Separate statistics covering the year to September show the murder rate has since dipped again to 11 for every million people (down from 12 in the year to March).
The figures shone a light on the perpetrators and victims of murder, which tends to disproportionately affect young men. More than one in six murder victims were aged between the ages of 16 and 24, and men were far more likely to be murdered than women, making up seven in 10 victims. Ninety three per cent of murders had a man as the principal suspect – rising to 95% when the victim was female.
A third of women were killed by a partner or ex-partner, while 13% were killed by a family member. Men were more likely to be killed by a friend or acquaintance (18%), stranger (15%) or other known person (9%). Although women made up 63% of domestic murder victims, the annual number of male victims of domestic murders has doubled over the last four years.