Knife criminals almost three times as likely to face jail than in 2010
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
More people were sent straight to jail for knife crime in Suffolk during the 12 months ending September than in any other year of this decade.
In June, new guidelines came into force to ensure a stricter and more consistent approach to sentencing.
Those convicted of knife and offensive weapon offences in the last year were almost three times as likely to go to jail – with 33% handed immediate custody, compared to 13% at the turn of the decade. They were also more likely to have previous convictions – 36% compared to 20% in 2010.
Just 9% were cautioned, compared to a quarter of those convicted in 2010, but 15% still escaped with an absolute or conditional discharge, fine or other disposal.
Convictions had fallen from 272 in 2008/09 to 146 in 2014/15 – but then increased over three years.
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Despite convictions reaching 199 in the year ending September – the most dealt with by the criminal justice system since 2009 – the rate per 100,000 remains lower than in Norfolk, Essex and on average across England and Wales, according to Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures.
The MoJ said offenders were now more likely to get immediate custodial sentences, while the proportion of offences resulting in caution is lower than ever.
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Suffolk Constabulary said it carried out regular proactive operations, involving officers, special constables, drugs teams and response officers, to disrupt gangs and take weapons off the streets, using intelligence-led deployments, weapons sweeps and high-visibility patrols.
Since the Bin a Blade campaign was launched in 2011, more than 19,000 bladed items have been deposited in knife amnesty bins across the county.
A spokesman said: “We take positive action to try and prevent offences by removing knives and offensive weapons before any harm is caused.
“We will continue to highlight the dangers of carrying knives, and other weapons, and the devastating consequences this can have on the lives of young people.
“If you are found illegally in possession of a knife you will be arrested, put before the court and brought to justice.
“Carrying knives or other weapons do not keep you safe. By carrying a knife you are putting yourself in much greater danger, and are more likely to become involved in a violent situation and get injured yourself.”