Knife crime now at highest level since 2009, official figures reveal

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Knife crime has hit its highest number in a decade (PA/posed by model)

With knife crime rampant across the capital, official figures have revealed that the number of criminals caught with knives or dangerous weapons has hit its highest level in nearly a decade.

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.

One in five of the culprits was aged under 18.

The figures for knife crime since 2009 (PA)

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

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

The findings come as police and ministers attempt to face down a knife crime “epidemic” following a spate of fatal stabbings, including Jodie Chesney, who was killed in a Romford park earlier this month.

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The Chancellor used his Spring Statement to announce that police will get a £100 million cash injection to tackle the knife crime crisis.

The extra funding for forces in England has been earmarked for overtime costs and specialist units dedicated to combating serious violence.

While the measure was welcomed by police chiefs, one rank-and-file leader warned it was only a “short-term fix”.

Jodie Chesney was stabbed to death in a Romford park earlier this month (PA)

Ministers have come under pressure to provide a financial boost for police following a spate of fatal stabbings.

Total funding for forces in England and Wales reduced by 19% in real terms from 2010/11 to 2018/19, according to the National Audit Office.

Officer numbers have fallen by nearly 20,000 since 2010.

Ministers have come under pressure to provide a financial boost for police following a spate of fatal stabbings (Getty)

In December, Home Secretary Sajid Javid unveiled a provisional settlement that could see police funding rise by nearly £1 billion from April, including money raised through council tax.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said many police and crime commissioners have already committed to using this extra funding to recruit and train additional officers.

He said the additional £100 million over the course of the next year will be ring-fenced to pay for additional overtime targeted specifically on knife crime, and to fund new violent crime reduction units to deliver a “wider cross-agency response to this epidemic”.

A sculpture made out of confiscated knives is set to arrive in Coventry (Coventry City Council)

Mr Javid said the money, including £80 million of new funding from the Treasury, will allow police to swiftly crack down on knife crime in areas where it is most rife.

The figures come as a sculpture made of 100,000 confiscated knives is set to arrive in Coventry as the city unites to tackle knife crime.

Standing at 27ft, the Knife Angel is being installed at Coventry Cathedral today as a physical reminder of the effects of violence and aggression.