Knife possession at nine-year high, Ministry of Justice figures show
The number of people caught carrying knives and offensive weapons in England and Wales has reached a nine-year high.
Figures for the year to March show 22,041 offences were dealt with by police and the courts.
The Ministry Of Justice says this has increased 34% since 2015 and is the highest number since 2010.
Almost two-thirds of cases did not result in immediate prison – but for those jailed, the average term was 7.9 months, up from 7.1 months in 2017-18.
The figures record the number of people caught with or making threats with blades or offensive weapons that resulted in a conviction or caution.
It comes amid a national debate on the issue of knife crime, following a spate of assaults and killings involving young people.
According to the MoJ, one in five of those convicted or cautioned was aged between 10 and 17, a slight fall on the previous year.
The MoJ started to report the figures in March 2009.
They also show:
- In 2018-19, the criminal justice system dealt with 13,986 offences of possession of an article with a blade or point
- There were 7,175 cases of possession of an offensive weapon other than a knife or a blade and 880 where a blade or weapon was used to make threats
- The percentage of incidents resulting in an immediate custodial sentence was 37.3%, the same as the previous year
- Suspended sentences rose from 18.9% to 19% during the period, while the percentage of those receiving a caution dropped slightly
- 72% of people found with a knife or offensive weapon were first-time offenders
The MoJ said the average custodial sentence imposed had increased from 7.2 to 7.9 months for adults and 5.9 to 7.7 months for 16- and 17-year-olds.