Knife crime up by 20 per cent

Knife crime in South Wales rose by 20 per cent in the last year, according to new Government figures.

There were 885 offences involving a knife or sharp weapon in South Wales in the 12 months to March.

The figure was up from 735 offences in the previous 12 months, data from the Office for National Statistics shows.

South Wales Police Federation chair Steve Treharne said: “Incidents involving knives can have tragic consequences for all involved. Under Operation Sceptre, South Wales Police have put in place several measures to address the concerns of our communities, and clamp down on those who are carrying and using knives. Operation Sceptre is our approach to tackling knife crime and the associated issues of serious violence and illegal drugs

“Our hard-working officers speak to thousands of youngsters every year in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of knives and sharp objects. We need to get the message across loud and clear that picking up a knife is always the wrong choice and that it can have devastating, and lasting, consequences for all.

“Our officers are determined to disrupt those who use weapons and ensure those individuals that carry knifes for an unlawful purpose face the full force of the criminal justice system. We cannot tackle this scourge alone and we require the support of our communities and partner agencies to work with us as this has to be a shared responsibility so that we can ensure that our communities become a safer place to live.”

Nationally, the number of offences involving a knife or sharp weapon rose by six per cent to 46,265, its highest level on record.

Robbery also increased for the fifth year in a row, by six per cent (to 83,241 offences) compared with the previous year.

National Federation chair John Apter said: “It’s a tragedy knife crime continues to spiral as my colleagues are stretched to their limits, and with fewer officers on patrol it comes as no surprise.

“More than ever we need a visible deterrent to violent crime. We need more officers available to deter and prevent these kinds of crimes and ease the burden on colleagues.”

He added: “Yet again we see the effects of austerity that have necessitated this current Government’s investment in funding and the 20,000-officer uplift announced last year – investment that will still only bring us back to pre-2010 levels.”

There was a rise of 10 per cent in homicides to 683, which includes the 39 people found dead inside a lorry in Essex last October. Excluding the lorry deaths, homicides increased by three per cent.

However, many crimes have fallen including a four per cent decrease in recorded offences involving firearms and a four per cent fall in theft.

Burglary offences recorded by the police have also continued on a long-term decline, decreasing by nine per cent.

John added: “The fact some statistics have fallen despite this is a testament to the hard work and dedication of officers who police with professionalism across the country.”