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More than 1,500 sentenced or cautioned for knife and weapon offences

By Dayna Farrington | Staffordshire | Crime | Published:

More than 1,500 criminals were sentenced or cautioned for knife and weapon offences in the West Midlands and Staffordshire in the year to March, new figures show.

Knife crime charity the Ben Kinsella Trust said it was a relief to see the numbers drop slightly across England and Wales, but warned the “heinous” crime had not gone away.

Ministry of Justice (MOJ) figures show 1,369 knife and offensive weapon crimes resulted in a caution or sentence in West Midlands in the year to March, a decrease of three per cent on the year before.

It meant there were 54 offences per 100,000 people in the area, down from 56 the year before.

While the MOJ figures show 402 knife and offensive weapon crimes resulted in a caution or sentence in Staffordshire in the year to March – a decrease of two per cent on the year before.

It meant there were 40 offences per 100,000 people in the area, down from 41 the year before.

The figure includes possession of, or threatening with, a knife or other offensive weapon – but do not include all offences, such as murder or assault.

A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “We continue to take knife crime very seriously and our work to tackle the issue remains ongoing.

“We work with partners and other stakeholders to make the most of our combined skills in reducing violence in the long term as well as the short term.”

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Tactics

A spokesman for Staffordshire Police added: “We are working with partners, such as local authorities and others, to tackle the issue of knife crime.

"Our campaign ‘Ditch the Blade’ was part of the force’s multi-agency partnership approach to tackling serious violence, which includes knife crime.

"Alongside this, we have an upcoming operation which will feature a range of crime prevention and activity to educate young people on the dangers and consequences of carrying and using knives.

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"We use a range of tactics, such as increased patrols in knife crime hotspots and more targeted intelligence-led stop and search.

"Serious violence is being tackled as a public health matter across Staffordshire with a strong focus on early intervention and prevention as well as enforcement action.”

Across England and Wales, an estimated 21,325 knife and offensive weapon crimes resulted in a caution or sentence in the 12 months to March. This was four per cent fewer than the year before, but was still the third-highest annual figure since current records began in 2010.

Patrick Green, chief executive of the Ben Kinsella Trust, said it is a welcome relief to see a small decrease in numbers in the last year.

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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