Knife crime offences at highest level in a decade as epidemic continues

Knife crime has hit its highest level in a decade following a surge in stabbings across the UK.

Police in England and Wales dealt with 21,484 knife and offensive weapons offences last year, official figures show.

One in five of the culprits was aged under 18.

However, the Government insists offenders are now more likely to go to jail for knife or offensive weapons crimes.

The statistics also showed that almost two-thirds of cases did not result in an immediate prison term.

The figures also revealed that:

  • For just under three quarters (72%) of offenders this was their first knife or offensive weapon possession offence.

  • The average custodial sentence received by offenders rose from 7.1 months in 2016, to 7.8 months in 2018.

  • In 2018 37% of knife and offensive weapon offences ended in an immediate custodial sentence compared with 20% in 2008.

Diana Fawcett, Chief Officer of independent charity Victim Support, said efforts must be made to tackle the growing problem.

She said: “It’s horrifying to see knife crime offences at the highest levels in a decade, which is yet more evidence that violent crime is an increasing problem that must be tackled urgently.
“Working closely with victims and bereaved families we know just how destructive these shocking crimes are and the fact that the number of repeat offenders is also on the rise is deeply concerning.
“Families and communities are being devastated by knife crime and it is the responsibility of all agencies to come together to solve this.”

The bloodbath continued in London yesterday after a 17-year-old boy was stabbed outside Leyton tube station.

The teen has been taken to hospital and his injuries are being treated as life-threatening.

There have been no arrests yet.

The findings come as police and ministers attempt to face down a knife crime "epidemic" following a spate of fatal stabbings.

Earlier this month three 17-year-olds – Jodie Chesney in east London, Yousef Ghaleb Makki in Greater Manchester and Ayub Hassan in west London – were knifed to death, increasing calls for a solution to the crisis.

Britain is averaging one fatal stabbing every 1.7 days – with the youngest victim, Jaden Moodie, aged just 14 when he was knifed in Leyton, east London, in February.

Eleven teenagers are among those killed.

Labour blasted a funding boost of just £100million for police to tackle knife crime, claiming the Chancellor was “completely out of touch”.

Philip Hammond used his Spring Statement to unveil extra cash for forces to crack down on the mounting death toll on the streets.

But “furious” Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell insisted the money was not enough.

He fumed: “I’m really angry about it. He doesn’t seem to understand the scale of the problem we have got.

“It isn’t just policing, it’s also about youth services, it’s also about support for families, it’s also about school exclusions.

“Hammond seemed to be completely out of touch with the real world.”

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