Thousands of knife crime offences committed by children last year, shock figures reveal

·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
Police dealt with thousands of knife crime offences by 10-17 year olds last year. (Getty)
Police dealt with thousands of knife crime offences by 10-17 year olds last year. (Getty)

The level of knife crime offences committed by children has been laid bare in shocking new statistics.

In the year to March 2022 the total number of knife crime offences committed by 10-17 year olds in England and Wales was 3,490, according to the Ministry of Justice.

This is down slightly from 3,544 the previous year.

In total, there were 19,555 knife crime offences in the same period, up 5% from the previous figure of 18,627 – but down from a peak of 22,183 in 2019.

The most recent figure marks the first increase since the start of lockdowns, which saw two years of decreases as most people were staying at home.

Figures show thousands of knife crime offences are being committed by children. (Yahoo News)
Figures show thousands of knife crime offences are being committed by children. (Yahoo News)

Less than a third of the total knife crime offences (5,815) resulted in immediate custody

The figures come after the murder of 87-year-old Thomas O’Halloran, who was stabbed while on a mobility scooter in west London on Tuesday.

A 44-year-old man was subsequently arrested on suspicion of murder.

Watch: Arrest over fatal stabbing of 87-year-old on mobility scooter

Earlier this month, ten teenagers, aged between 14 and 18, were sentenced to life terms for murdering an 18-year-old as he walked home from a funfair.

Jack Woodley was fatally stabbed after being “surrounded and isolated” by the gang of youths who chased him down an alleyway in Houghton le Spring, Sunderland, last year.

London mayor Sadiq Khan recently said that rising poverty during the cost of living crisis could result in more stabbings.

Knife crime offences have increased following two years of reductions throughout the pandemic. (Yahoo News)
Knife crime offences have increased following two years of reductions throughout the pandemic. (Yahoo News)

He told London World: “A combination of the pandemic but also this cost of living crisis are going to exacerbate… poverty, exacerbate deprivation, and lead to fewer opportunities…

“We are worried that could lead to an undoing of the reduction in violent crime that we’ve seen over the last year – a reduction in homicides, gun crime, knife crime, and violent crime involving young people.”

Anti-knife crime charity Lives Not Knives said providing more services was the key to reducing knife crime, particularly in young people.

Project manager Tom Hodge added: “We’ve come to realise that knife crime is an issue that will only ever be manageable if we start working on basically nipping these kinds of issues in the bud as soon as possible.”

Former prisons minister Victoria Atkins previously spoke of how the government is tackling the scourge of knife crime.

Police officers man a knife arch in a shopping centre in Peterborough, during the national Operation Sceptre campaign, a week of intensive activity to tackle knife crime. Picture date: Monday May 16, 2022.
Police officers man a knife arch in a shopping centre in Peterborough, during the national Operation Sceptre campaign, a week of intensive activity to tackle knife crime in May. (PA)

Following a national police campaign to remove knives from the street earlier this year, Atkins said: “Anyone carrying blades should feel the full force of the law, which is why this government have changed the law to make sure anyone convicted of knife crime more likely than ever to end up behind bars, and for longer.”

Last year the government introduced a 14-month trial of knife crime prevention orders (KCPO), aimed at stopping people as young as 12 from carrying knives.

Under the pilot scheme, any officer can apply to a magistrates’ court for a KCPO to be imposed on a youngster they believe is carrying blades, regularly has knives or has knife-related convictions.

Conditions imposed as part of KCPOs include curfews, restrictions on social media use, and bans on travel outside certain geographical boundaries.

The courts can also call for a range of activities to take place, such as educational courses, sports club referrals, relationship counselling, anger management, and drug rehabilitation, with a prison term of up to two years for any breaches.