Justice system handles highest number of knife crimes in decade

More than 22,000 weapon offences were dealt with

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The police and courts have been dealing with the highest number of knife crimes in 10 years, according to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

Official figures showed the criminal justice system in England and Wales formally processed 22,286 knife and offensive weapon offences in the year ending September 2019.

This is a three per cent rise on the previous year and the highest since September 2009, when the number surpassed 26,000.

The figures follow yesterday’s announcement that Boris Johnson will head up a new Cabinet committee to combat crime, saying that all Whitehall departments should be taking action.

The taskforce will also include Home Secretary Priti Patel, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox and Chancellor Sajid Javid.

It was set up after the Office for National Statistics revealed that police-recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument rose by seven per cent to hit a record high in the year to June 2019.

The latest MoJ figures showed that it was the first time that almost three quarters of offenders had committed a crime of this kind.

The report also indicated that offenders are now more likely to be handed an immediate and longer jail sentence for knife and weapon crimes.

But Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan urged the government to work with different sectors and local communities to find “long-term solutions”.

He said: “We need to tackle the root causes and understand why those involved carry knives.

“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.”

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