Labour has accused the Government of being “soft on crime” as party analysis claimed that in some areas of the country one in three repeat knife offenders had been spared jail in the last five years.
Analysis from the opposition party found that in areas such as Surrey, Northamptonshire, Gloucestershire, Dorset, and Devon and Cornwall the rates of repeat offenders avoiding jail were above 30%.
The party said this showed a “two strikes and you’re out” policy pledged in 2015 – where repeat offenders would face a minimum six-month prison sentence would for carrying a knife – was “in tatters”.
It comes as over the weekend multiple stabbings were reported in London.
Labour said national figures revealed that 44% of serial offenders avoided jail last year, with a rise in suspended sentences.
It said the number of criminals committing repeat offences rose from 12% to 18% between June 2011 and last year.
Labour’s shadow justice secretary Steve Reed said: “This data proves that bungling Dominic Raab and this law-breaking Conservative government are simply soft on crime.
“Time and again, the Conservatives have broken their promises to tackle knife crime and, to top it all, their record-breaking Crown Court backlog will see even more knife criminals let off and more victims let down.
“Labour will put security at the heart of its contract with the British people: we’ll create new police hubs and neighbourhood prevention teams to make your area safe again.”
Some 16 areas saw more than a third of repeat offenders avoid jail including Gloucestershire (41%), Sussex (41%), Dorset (38%), Devon and Cornwall (38%), Surrey (37%), Hampshire (37%), Leicestershire (37%), Hertfordshire (36%), Northumbria (36%), Kent (36%), Lincolnshire (36%), Gwent (35%), London (35%), Northamptonshire (34%), Thames Valley (34%) and Norfolk (34%).
A Government spokesperson said: “While judges decide sentences, those caught carrying a knife are more likely to be sent to jail than they were a decade ago and new laws will see more repeat offenders face time behind bars.”