Knife and offensive weapon crimes at nine-year high

The number of criminals caught with knives or dangerous weapons has hit its highest level since 2010, official figures have revealed.

More than 22,000 offences of possessing or making threats with blades or offensive weapons resulted in a conviction or caution in England and Wales in 2018-19.

One in five of the culprits was aged between 10 and 17, figures from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) show.

The statistics also showed that almost two-thirds of cases did not result in an immediate prison term.

The figures, released quarterly and based on estimates, are broadly in line with the data published three months ago.

The statistics showed that, in 2018-19, the criminal justice system dealt with 22,041 knife and offensive weapon incidents – an increase of 34% on the same 12-month period to March 2015.

The latest figures show the highest number of offences dealt with since the year ending March 2010, when there were 23,667 cases.

The figures come as West Midlands Police launched a murder investigation into a fatal stabbing in Coventry.

Officers were called just after 2.30pm on Wednesday to reports of a fight involving several young men in which a man in his 20s was fatally injured.