Knife and offensive weapon offences hit highest level since 2009

The number of criminals caught with knives or dangerous weapons has hit its highest level in nearly a decade, official figures have revealed.

Last year more than 21,000 offences of possessing or making threats with blades or offensive weapons resulted in a conviction or caution in England and Wales.

One in five of the culprits was aged under 18.

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

However, the Government insists offenders are now more likely to go to jail for knife or offensive weapons crimes.

The findings come as police and ministers attempt to face down a knife crime “epidemic” following a spate of fatal stabbings.

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