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Knife and weapons crime at highest level in nine years

THE number of criminals caught with knives or dangerous weapons is at its highest level since 2010, official figures reveal.

More than 22,000 offences of possessing or making threats resulted in a conviction or caution in England and Wales in 2018-19, according to the Ministry of Justice.

One in five of the culprits was aged between 10 and 17 — and almost two-thirds of cases did not result in an immediate prison term. In 2018-19, the criminal justice system dealt with 22,041 knife and offensive weapon incidents — the highest since the year ending March 2010, when there were 23,667 cases.

The were 13,986 offences of possession of an article with a blade or point — the sixth consecutive annual rise.

In addition, there were 7,175 cases where an individual was found with an offensive weapon, and 880 where a blade or weapon was used to make threats.

The figures came as West Midlands Police launched a murder investigation into a fatal stabbing of a man in his 20s in Coventry.