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21,000 knife crimes are the highest in a decade

PEOPLE caught carrying or making threats with knives are at their highest number in a decade, figures show.

More than 21,000 offences were recorded last year in England and Wales — with one in five culprits aged under 18.

The figures, which show two thirds of cases did not result in an immediate jail sentence, come during a knife crime ‘epidemic’ and spate of fatal stabbings.

Diana Fawcett, of Victim Support, said: ‘It’s horrifying to see knife crime offences at the highest levels in a decade, which is yet more evidence that violent crime is an increasing problem that must be tackled urgently. Families and communities are being devastated by knife crime and it is the responsibility of all agencies to come together to solve this.’

Last year, the justice system dealt with 13,555 offences of possession of an article with a blade or point. There were also 7,016 cases where a person was found with an offensive weapon, and 913 where a blade or weapon was used to threaten others. The total of 21,484 is the highest since 2009, when it stood at more than 25,000. In 4,430 cases — 21 per cent — the offender was aged ten to 17. Almost 8,000 offences resulted in immediate custody, compared with 5,734 in 2008.

Justice minister Rory Stewart said: ‘Knife crime destroys lives and shatters communities, and this government is doing everything in its power to tackle its devastating consequences.’

Chancellor Philip Hammond has given police forces £100million while home secretary Sajid Javid has unveiled plans for knife crime prevention orders.

■ A CONSERVATIVE MP has been mocked for suggesting all knives sold in the UK be fitted with GPS tracking to cut violent crime. Scott Mann (pictured), who represents North Cornwall, tweeted: ‘Every knife sold in the UK should have a gps tracker fitted in the handle. It’s time we had a national database like we do with guns.’ On Twitter, one user asked: ‘How do you think this would work for every kitchen knife in the country?’ Another posted a picture of a knife tied to an iPad.

Girl, 8, with blade at school told policeman: ‘I’ll stab you’

A GIRL of eight threatened to stab a police community support officer ‘in the heart’ when he was called to a school.

Teachers raised the alarm when the girl produced a kitchen knife in class.

Her classmates were escorted to safety and the girl went on to threaten officers and staff, said North Yorkshire Police.

PCSO Matt Murphy, who attended the scene, posted a picture of the 5in blade on Twitter and wrote: ‘Only last week an eight-year-old took this knife into school and made threats. When I arrived, the child told me they would stab me in the heart.

‘So this week we are educating people around the dangers of knives.’

A force spokesman added that the incident had been brought to a ‘safe conclusion’.

‘No one was injured and the knife was recovered. The girl is now receiving appropriate support,’ he said.

The incident happened at a ‘primary school in the Harrogate District’ on February 18, the spokesman added.