Knife crime soars as offences hit highest number in a decade

Knife crime soars as offences dealt with by police and courts in England and Wales hits highest number in a decade

  • Knife crime soars to its highest level for a decade with almost 22,300 offences
  • Numbers of offences dealt with by the courts and police is up 3% on 2018
  • Rise is driven by an increase in people found ‘possessing an article with blade’
  • Ministry of Justice said today that offenders are now more likely to receive a custodial sentence for a knife or weapon offence 

Knife crime has soared with the number of offences being dealt with by police and courts at their highest in a decade. 

The Ministry of Justice said the number of crimes involving knives or offensive weapons in the year to September are up three per cent on the 12 months before.

The rise was driven by an increase in people found possessing an ‘article with a blade or point’ in England and Wales, officials said.

Knife offences now dealt with by the criminal system are at their highest since September 2009, when 26,364 offences were recorded. 

A fifth of the crimes – more than 4,500 – were committed by children aged between 10 and 17, the figures show.

The figures come amid an epidemic of blades on the streets which has forced police chiefs and politicians to push for a crackdown on knife crime. 

Graph showing the rise in the number of knife and offensive weapon offences from September 2009

This graph shows the rise in offenders receiving immediate custody (shown in dark blue) for knife and offensive weapon possession from September 2014 to last year

This graph shows the rise in offenders receiving immediate custody (shown in dark blue) for knife and offensive weapon possession from September 2014 to last year

A document published today by the MoJ said: ‘Offenders are now more likely to receive an immediate custodial sentence for a knife and offensive weapon offence and for longer.

‘In the year ending September 2019 38 per cent of knife and offensive weapon offences resulted in an immediate custodial sentence compared with 23 per cent in the year ending September 2009.

‘The average length of the custodial sentences received also increased over the same period, from six months to eight months.’ 

The figures do not include crimes like murder or assault, which may involve knives but are not classed as knife offences within the statistics.

Knife crime offences dealt with by the justice system in England and Wales in the year ending September 2019 were the highest number in a decade

Knife crime offences dealt with by the justice system in England and Wales in the year ending September 2019 were the highest number in a decade 

The crimes that are included are possession or threats using a bladed article or having an offensive weapon in public.

The figures follow Tuesday’s announcement that the Prime Minister ordered all Whitehall departments to take action on tackling crime.

Boris Johnson vowed to ‘cut the head off the snake’ of criminal gangs and told Cabinet he wanted to put law and order at the heart of the government’s agenda – with ‘county lines’ drugs organisations and stabbings key targets.

Boris Johnson (pictured giving a BBC interview) has vowed to 'cut the head off the snake' of gangs as he announced tougher action on tackling crime

Boris Johnson (pictured giving a BBC interview) has vowed to ‘cut the head off the snake’ of gangs as he announced tougher action on tackling crime

Mr Johnson – who is expected to chair a committee of ministers to coordinate the drive – declared in an interview that he wants to ‘totally wind up’ the scourge of ‘county lines’ gangs.

And he spelled out his plans in a Cabinet meeting. ‘He said that we have historically been strong on law and sorder but in recent years been less clear on it,’ a cabinet source told The Times.

‘He said that hes wanted a return to clarity on it and addressing the concerns of the British public.’

The new committee on criminal justice is expected to include Home Secretary Priti Patel, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, Attorney Geoffrey Cox, and Chancellor Sajid Javid,

Priti Patel

Robert Buckland

Home Secretary Priti Patel (left) and Robert Buckland (right) will serve on a new Cabinet committee on crime 

In keeping with the overhaul of Whitehall being pushed by Mr Johnson’s chief aide Dominic Cummings, it will be modelled on the Brexit ‘XO’ committee which led preparations for No Del.

Ms Patel told Cabinet that police estimate an ‘astronomical’ 10,000 children could be involved in county lines gangs.

She reportedly said ministers needed to “cut the head off the snake by going upstream” and making Britain’s borders more secure to stop the flow of drugs.

In a BBC Breakfast interview, the PM said the criminal networks were ‘reducing quality of life’ for people across the UK and had to be tackled.

Mr Johnson said: ‘I want to see crime come down. I want to see the county lines drugs gangs wound up, rolled up.

‘They are reducing the quality of life for people across our country, they are killing young kids. I want to see that thing totally wound up.’      

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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