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Knife crime sky rockets to more than 5,000 in the last five years

By Jessica Labhart | Crime | Published:

Knife crime across the West Midlands has soared in the last five years, with more than 5,000 knife-crimes reported since 2012.

According to new figures released today by West Midlands Police, the number of knife-related offences has increased every year since 2014.

The force has released figures that show a rise of knife-related incidents over an identical three-month period has risen each year.

Between June 1 and August 31 this year there have been 1,285 cases of knife crime – the highest figure since 2012.

The number of fatalities has jumped too, from just two in 2013 to 10 so far this year. The total number of knife-related offences recorded since 2012 is 5,332.

The figures were released a day after West Midlands Police released an image of the weapons, including blades, that had been confiscated from pupils at a single Black Country school over a six month period.

Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, said the rise in crime was 'deeply troubling'.

He added: "It is a major concern. These figures are further evidence the government needs to change course on police funding.

"Officers at the force work around the clock to prevent and catch those who decide to commit crimes and they are facing ever greater demands."

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High-profile knife crimes across the West Midlands this year include the recent fatal stabbing of Stourbridge mother and son, Tracey and Pierce Wilkinson. Aaron Barley, 24, admitted murdering the 50-year-old former British Latin American ballroom dancing champion and her 13-year-old son in March this year. Barley was sentenced to life with a minimum of 30 years in prison earlier this month.

Other shocking knife crime fatalities include the stabbing of 26-year-old James Brindley, Tina Billingham, Kulwinder Kaur and Anne Marie James.

Mr Brindley was stabbed once in the heart as he walked home in Aldridge, near Walsall, West Midlands, late on June 23, triggering a major police investigation.

Aaron Kahrod and a 17-year-old boy were arrested on July 12 and charged with murder two days later. Kahrod, of Walsall Road, Aldridge, and the teenager deny the charges and are set to stand trial on January 9 next year.

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Knife crime across the West Midlands area has increased in recent years − having hit record lows around 2012 − but is still well down on levels seen a decade ago.

Superintendent Ian Parnell, West Midlands Police’s lead on knife crime, said: “There has been an increase in knife crime, ranging from possession offences at one end to murder at the other.

“In the vast majority of knife crimes, no one is injured and it’s a case where a knife has been seen or threatened rather than used.

“We acknowledge that knives are the weapon of choice, but we are working really hard with retailers, schools and partners to remove knives from the streets of the West Midlands.

“We’re promoting the use of knife bins and in September had a week of activity in relation to knives. We conduct sweeps of parks and public spaces to remove them and are working with retailers and Trading Standards around sales to young people.

“We’re also delivering the Precious Lives project in schools, which is a hard-hitting presentation on the dangers of carrying a knife, and ensuring those who do carry a knife are robustly dealt with through the criminal justice system.

Superintendent Parnell said there was now better reporting of knife crime from schools, and more efforts from police to understand why young people feel the need to carry bladed weapons.

He added: “If you carry a knife, there’s a real danger that you will be caught and arrested and a real danger that it can be taken off you and used against you.”

The news comes as last month, weapons surrender bins across the county were emptied, with 29 knives and two BB guns discovered in Wolverhampton.

There are now plans to roll out the scheme across the Black Country, with locations in Dudley and Walsall being earmarked for the weapons bins.

A collection of 61 knives were dropped into Birmingham bins, along with two revolvers complete with eight rounds of 9mm ammunition.

But the highest number of surrendered items was discovered in West Bromwich, where 94 knives and sharp objects were found.

The bins were set up in partnership with Words 4 Weapons in an attempt to reduce knife crime by getting people to dispose of their weapons voluntarily.

Jessica Labhart

By Jessica Labhart
@JLabhart_star

Reporter for the Express & Star, primarily covering Wolverhampton.

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