Knife crimes hit a seven year high in Lancashire

Hundreds of criminals were convicted or cautioned for knife and offensive weapons crimes in Lancashire last year, as the number of offences dealt with hit a seven-year high

Ministry of Justice statistics show that criminals were cautioned or sentenced for knife and offensive weapons offences in Lancashire on 561 occasions in the year to September 2019 – the most since 2012.

Criminals were cautioned or sentenced for knife and offensive weapons offences in Lancashire on 561 occasions in the year to September 2019

Criminals were cautioned or sentenced for knife and offensive weapons offences in Lancashire on 561 occasions in the year to September 2019

The recent trend was mirrored across England and Wales, where the figure for such offences hit 22,300 – the highest since records began in 2009.

The number includes possession of, or threatening with, a knife or other offensive weapon.

In Lancashire, under-18s accounted for 15 per cent of sentences or cautions for knife and offensive weapon crime in the year to September 2019.

Across England and Wales, they made up 21 per cent of cases.

Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said the Government urgently needs to find long-term solutions to turn vulnerable children away from crime before they reach for a knife.

“Increasing the number and length of sentences can only be part of the solution, as this may not deter young people who are suffering a poverty of hope,” he added.

“Often they have no qualifications, no job prospects, and no role models, making them vulnerable to criminal gangs who force them to deliver drugs and carry knives to protect themselves.”

Across England and Wales, 38 per cent of knife and offensive weapon offences ended with someone going straight to jail in the year to September 2019 – a record high.

The average time spend behind bars also increased over the period, from six to eight months.

Justice minister Chris Philp said the Government is recruiting 20,000 more police officers, extending stop and search and making sure the most violent offenders spend longer behind bars.

He added: “These figures should serve as a stark warning to those carrying knives – you are more likely to be jailed, and for longer, than at any point in the last decade.”