London (CNN)The deaths of two 17-year-olds in London and Greater Manchester over the weekend have reignited the debate over knife crime in Britain.
Four graphics that help explain Britain's knife crime crisis
A rising number of young people are falling victim to knife attacks across the country, especially in the capital, according to official statistics.
Crimes involving knives or sharp instruments soared to around 40,000 for the year ending June 2018. A total of 103 people aged under 24 were killed by sharp objects in the year ending March 2018, compared to just 58 in 2012-13.
So far this year, 19 people have been killed in knife-related attacks across Britain, according to the UK's Press Association.
Britain's government is under pressure to stem what has been described as a "national crisis." Prime Minister Theresa May faced a backlash on Monday after rejecting claims that years of steep cuts to police forces had contributed to the rising number of knife attacks.
"I am aghast at what the Prime Minister had to say about police numbers -- that there is no correlation between the number of police and the amount of crime. Of course there is otherwise why would we have police at all," former chief prosecutor for North West of England, Nazir Afzal, told the BBC's Newsnight program.
John Apter, the national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said the consequences of stripping Britain's police force was "clear."
"Splashed across newspaper front pages and TV news bulletins: children being murdered on our streets," Apter said, according to PA. "This is the true cost of austerity that we warned of, but were ridiculed for doing so."
In the year ending March 2018, fatal stabbings in England and Wales reached their highest level since records began more than 70 years ago. In the same period, 36.5% of all knife offenses -- almost 15,000 -- occurred in London, according to official statistics.
According to data from the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), knife offenses in London in 2017 were predominantly male-on-male, with men representing 83% of offenders and 78% of victims in crimes that caused injury.