Knife crime cautions and convictions climb to eight-year high in county

A knife amnesty bin emptied to mark the launch of Operation Sceptre Picture: RACHEL EDGE

A knife amnesty bin emptied to mark the launch of Operation Sceptre Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: Archant

Cautions and convictions for knife crime in Suffolk last year reached their highest levels since 2010.

The Ministry of Justice revealed knife crime cautions and convictions increased from 183 to 206 between the year ending June 2017 and 2018.

But, according to statistical trends in cautioning and sentencing of knife or offensive weapon offences, the figure remains lower than the decade high of 266 in 2009.

Data includes possession of an article with a blade or point in a public place or school premises; possession of an offensive weapon without lawful authority or reasonable excuse in a public place or school premises, and aggravated possession of a knife or offensive weapon.

In Essex, the number of cautions and convictions rose from 493 to 561, while Norfolk saw an increase of eight cautions and convictions to 279.

Figures were at their lowest for 10 years across Suffolk in 2015, with 162 cautions and convictions handed out for knife crime in the 12 months from June 2014.

Results were broken down by gender, age group, ethnic appearance and criminal history of offenders.

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Nationally, 21,101 knife and offensive weapon offences were formally dealt with by the criminal justice system in the year ending June 2018 – like Suffolk, the highest number were dealt with in the year to June 2010. That year there were 22,688 across the country.

More than a third (37%) resulted in immediate custody in Suffolk, with 21% resulting in absolute or conditional discharge, fine or other disposal, 16% in community resolutions, 15% in suspended prison sentences and the remainder in cautions.

The majority of offenders were white (87%), male (91%) adults (83%) with no previous convictions (71%).

Superintendent Kerry Cutler, Suffolk Constabulary lead for amnesty campaign Operation Sceptre, said: “If you are found illegally in possession of a knife you will be arrested, put before the court and brought to justice.

“We are determined to take positive action to prevent offences by removing knives and offensive weapons before any harm is caused.”

Knife amnesty bins are located in Queensway, Bramford Road and outside Princes Street fire station in Ipswich, and at police stations in Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds, Mildenhall, Sudbury and Haverhill.