The number of criminals caught with knives or dangerous weapons has hit its highest level in nearly a decade, according to official figures.
Last year more than 21,000 offences of possessing or making threats with blades or offensive weapons resulted in a conviction or caution in England and Wales.
The statistics showed that in 2018, the criminal justice system dealt with 13,555 offences of possession of an article with a blade or point.
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In addition, there were 7,016 cases where an individual was found with an offensive weapon, and 913 where a blade or weapon was used to make threats against others.
The combined total of 21,484 is the highest since 2009, when it stood at more than 25,000.
'Black boys don't have role models'
Gangsline founder Sheldon Thomas told talkRADIO that he believed the growing crisis would get worse, with younger children carrying knives than in the past decade.
The statistics revealed that one in five of the culprits were aged under 18.
Mr Thomas said: “Young black boys in London, when they look around them in society they don’t see any role models other than gang members.
“What better way to make your name than have people think you are a bad man by shooting or stabbing someone?”
He added that social media was now making it easier for gang members to reach children and promote themselves on.