A record 63,880 people were killed in Brazil in 2017, a three per cent increase on the 2016 figures for homicides and an ignominious new record.

The Guardian reports that figures from the independent thinktank, the Brazilian Public Security Forum, show an average of 14 people were killed by police every day - a 20 per cent increase on the previous year and that according to the forum, most victims were "young, black men from poor urban areas".

Renato Sérgio de Lima, director of the forum, told The Guardian that the figures showed a "devastating scenario".

“The numbers show we have a serious problem with lethal violence."

The data also revealed that murders of women rose even more sharply - up 6.1 per cent on the previous year's figures to 4,539 - with more than 1,000 women killed in hate crimes related to their gender. The number of rapes also increased by eight per cent to 60,018.

“We have two persistent phenomena: violence against women and criminal gangs dealing in drugs and arms,” Lima said.

The South China Morning Post reports that the state of Rio Grande do Norte had the highest murder rate in 2017, with 68 murders per 100,000 people, followed by Acre with 63.9 per 100,000 people. Sao Paulo had the lowest murder rate with 10.7 homicides per 100,000 people.