Police figures released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that forces in England and Wales are on course to record a total of 38,000 serious knife crimes this year – more than 100 a day.
The figure is at least two-thirds higher than last year's total of 22,151 offences, announced by the Home Office in July when it unveiled its first annual count of knife crimes.
The sharp rise has come about because ministers have changed the counting rules, in response to complaints that key categories of crime were excluded from last year's total.
The reason for the increase is that knife offences categorised as actual bodily harm, rape, sexual assault or threats to kill, which were all excluded from last year's knife crime count, are all included this year.
Cases of wounding, grievous bodily harm and knifepoint robbery, which made up the bulk of last year's figures, will continue to be included this year. Mere illegal possession of a knife is not counted in the totals; if it was, the figures would be much higher.