THE NUMBER of knife crimes being dealt with by the police and courts is the highest in a decade, official figures show.

There were 22,286 knife and offensive weapon offences formally dealt with by the criminal justice system in England and Wales in the year ending September 2019, according to Ministry of Justice (MoJ) statistics.

This is a three per cent rise on the previous year (21,553) and the highest since September 2009 (26,364).

Gwent Police's Operational Support Superintendent Glyn Fernquest said: “Instances of knife crime have risen nationally, and as a force, we are no exception to that.

"Nationally, the violent crime figures have risen due to better reporting and more media attention resulting in people being more informed and aware of this type of crime.

“As these sorts of crimes are becoming more high profile, the concern from our communities grows, and so we would like to reassure the public that we are committed to keeping our communities safe.

“There are a number of ways that we are addressing knife crime in Gwent, including continuing to run operations such as the national knife crime ‘Operation Sceptre’ which focuses on removing knives from our streets.

"As part of daily policing, our officers conduct intelligence lead stop-search powers to target those who may commit violent crime.

“Alongside this national week of action, we are continuing to address knife crime as part of our daily policing with officers conducting intelligence lead stop-searches to deter those who may believe that carrying a knife is a sensible option."

The figures follow an announcement last week that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lead a new Cabinet committee looking at ways to tackle crime.


This came after data released by the Office for National Statistics last October revealed that police-recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument hit a record high in the year to June, up seven per cent on the previous 12 months, to 44,076.

The latest MoJ figures show that for most offenders (71 per cent) this was their first crime of this kind.

According to the report, offenders are now more likely to be handed an immediate jail sentence for knife and weapon offences, and for longer.

In the year to September, 38 per cent of knife and offensive weapon offences resulted in an immediate custodial sentence compared with 23 per cent for the same period in 2009.

The average length of prison sentences also rose over the same period, from six to eight months, the document said.

 Superintendent Fernquest added: “I want to reassure communities that anyone caught carrying a knife, no matter the reason, we will stop them, search them, seize the weapon and deal with them proportionally through the criminal justice system. Every knife taken off the streets is another life potentially saved.

“If anyone has any information about individuals involved in knife crime or has any concerns, please call Gwent police on 101 or direct message us via Facebook or Twitter. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency always dial 999.”

The charity Barnardo's chief executive Javed Khan said: "We need to tackle the root causes and understand why those involved carry knives.

"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.

"The new Government urgently needs to work with charities, education, health, youth workers, the criminal justice system and local communities to find long-term solutions, so vulnerable children have a reason to turn away from crime."

Mr Johnson has ordered all Whitehall departments to take action on tackling crime.

He told ministers that every department should consider itself a criminal justice department as part of a drive to look at the "complex causes of crime" which would involve long-term reforms to improve health, social care, youth services and education.