Knife and weapons offences hit 10-year high in Wiltshire

Knife and weapons offences hit 10-year high in Wiltshire

Published by Mike Draper at 4:01am 26th January 2020. (Updated at 7:25am 26th January 2020)

3 minute read

Hundreds of criminals were convicted or cautioned for knife and offensive weapons crimes in Wiltshire in 2019

The number of incidents that were dealt with is now at its highest level in a decade.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott has said there's 'little chance of tackling rising knife crime until the Government deals with a crisis created by cuts to policing, schools and health services'.

KNIFE CRIME NUMBERS

Ministry of Justice statistics show that:

    • On 202 occasions criminals were cautioned or sentenced for knife and offensive weapons offences in Wiltshire up to September 2019
    • That's the most since records began in 2009, when 214 offences were dealt with
    • The recent trend was mirrored across England and Wales, where the figure for such offences hit 22,300 - the highest since records began in 2009
    • The number includes possession of, or threatening with, a knife or other offensive weapon
Knife seized on Netherhampton Road in Salisbury during September 2019.
This knife was seized by Wiltshire Police after it was found dumped on Netherhampton Road in Salisbury during September 2019.

Diane Abbott said the rising level of knife crime 'undermines all the Tory claims on law and order'.

"Unfortunately, until they tackle the crises they created through cuts to policing, schools, to mental health and drug services, there can be little confidence of any major improvement."

CHILD KNIFE-CRIME OFFENDERS

    • In Wiltshire, under-18s accounted for 25% of sentences or cautions for knife and offensive weapon crime in the year to September 2019
    • Across England and Wales, they made up 21% of cases

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In September 2019 Spire FM News reported Wiltshire Police had joined Operation Sceptre - a specific campaign aimed at reducing knife crime with a knife amnesty to get knives off Wiltshire's streets.

Barnardo's chief executive Javed Khan said the Government urgently needs to find long-term solutions to turn vulnerable children away from crime before they reach for a knife.

"Increasing the number and length of sentences can only be part of the solution, as this may not deter young people who are suffering a poverty of hope, often they have no qualifications, no job prospects, and no role models, making them vulnerable to criminal gangs who force them to deliver drugs and carry knives to protect themselves."

Across England and Wales, 38% of knife and offensive weapon offences ended with someone going straight to jail in the year to September 2019 - a record high. The average time spend behind bars also increased over the period, from six to eight months.

Justice minister Chris Philp said the Government is recruiting 20,000 more police officers, extending stop and search and making sure the most violent offenders spend longer behind bars.

"These figures should serve as a stark warning to those carrying knives – you are more likely to be jailed, and for longer, than at any point in the last decade."

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