THE West Midlands's homicide rate is among the highest across England and Wales, new figures show.

Nationally, police logged the lowest number of homicide victims since 2016-17, excluding 2020-21, which was affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Office for National Statistics figures show West Midlands Police recorded 36 people dying because of a homicide incident in the year to March – down from 50 the year before.

It meant there were 14.4 victims per million residents over the last three years – among the highest rates across England and Wales.

Nationally, the number of victims fell by 14 per cent from 684 to 590, with 10.2 homicides logged per million people.

Homicide figures are a total of murder, manslaughter and infanticide incidents, where one incident can have more than one victim.

A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said of the figures: “The reduction in homicides is welcome, but any murder is another life lost to violence, whether that is through random or targeted assaults, or domestic violence.

“We have a fantastic track record in murder investigation and successfully bringing individuals before the courts.

“We also focus on the causes of violence and the reasons why young people in particular get drawn into a life of crime and anti-social activities.

“This is a shared responsibility across the West Midlands, and policing works closely with partners through the Violence Reduction Partnership.

“Our work includes having the dedicated Project Guardian taskforce who target serious youth violence with dedicated patrols in key areas.

“We’ve also been part of a national pilot which gives officers additional powers for tackling knife crime, including serious violence reduction orders.

“Our partnerships teams have specialist officers who are in schools daily, offering additional support to deter youngsters from violent or criminal behaviour.”

A spokesperson for the Home Office said of the figures: "Everybody has the right to be safe in their neighbourhoods and communities and we are pleased to see overall homicides down year on year by 14 per cent, but we are not complacent.

"Our programme of activity and interventions, such as Violence Reduction Units, are targeted in hot-spot areas based on the prevalence of crime and are designed to help address homicide and drug misuse among other crimes."