Rise in cautions and convictions for knife and weapon offences
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The number of knife and weapon offences resulting in a caution or conviction has risen for the fourth straight year in Suffolk.
More knife and weapon crimes led to police or court action in Suffolk over the 12 months to March than during any other year since 2010.
However, the rate per 100,00 population actually fell for the first time in four years, according to Ministry of Justice statistics.
Offences went up from 201 to 215, following successive rises since 2016, while the rate by population fell from 30 to 24 – the joint third lowest in the country.
Suffolk police said it carried out regular proactive operations as part of an ongoing commitment to take as many knives and weapons off the streets as possible.
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Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger, added: “Knife crime is a national, societal issue, and we all have a part to play in keeping communities safe.
“Suffolk has the same issues that affect similar sized counties, but we have significantly increased our proactive resources to target the most harmful criminals, through our Sentinel, Scorpion and Serious Crime Disruption teams, and locally based officers. This allows us to keep on the front foot, taking positive action.”
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The total includes cautions and convictions for possession of an article with a blade or point, possession of an offensive weapon, or threatening someone with either type of weapon.
While a higher rate of offences commanded an immediate prison sentence (from 28.81% to 31.58%), fewer cautions and convictions were given to under-18s (from 24.29% to 16.84%).
Det Ch Supt Bridger said tackling knife crime meant all sectors working to develop long term strategies to disrupt the activities of criminal groups whose members carry knives.
He added: “Where appropriate we seek to avoid criminalisation of young people for first offences as diversion and education is shown to be more effective, such as highlighting the personal consequences of carrying a weapon. To this end, we also work with schools and colleges to educate on the dangers of carrying a knife, delivering awareness messages alongside advice and guidance.
“That said, we will take robust and appropriate action against people found to be illegally in possession of a knife. We are determined to take positive measures to prevent offences by removing knives and offensive weapons before any harm is caused.”