Knife crime doubled in two years before pandemic

Suffolk County Council said the results raised concerns against a backdrop of knife crime in the UK

Across England and Wales, the total rose by 9,000 in the same two-year period, with the rate increasing from 69 to 84 per 100,000 population - Credit: Archant

Knife crime doubled in Suffolk over the two years before the first national Covid-19 lockdown, latest figures have revealed.

The number of recorded knife and sharp instrument offences increased to 324 (43 per 100,000 population) in the year ending March 2020 – compared to 221 (29 per 100,000) in 2018/19 and 146 (19 per 100,000) in 2017/18.

Across England and Wales, the total rose by 9,000 in the same two-year period, with the rate increasing from 69 to 84 per 100,000 population, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Suffolk police said that knife and sharp instrument rates for selected offences, including assault with injury, assault with intent to cause serious harm and robbery – but not including simple possession – had fallen by almost 20% and made up just 0.6% of overall crime in more recent months.

Meanwhile, the county boasted the fewest firearms offences of any force area in England – just 21 – with only one lethal barrelled, and one non-lethal barrelled weapon discharged in that time.

Head of crime, safeguarding and incident management for Suffolk police, Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger said: “We would always be concerned with any increase in any area of crime but it should be remembered that increases in knife-related crime is a national issue and Suffolk still has relatively low numbers of such offences.

Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger remains positive that Vicky's killer can be brought to

Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger remains positive that Vicky's killer can be brought to justice Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: Archant

“There are complex social reasons why more young people are carrying knives and this cannot be solved by police alone, we must work with communities to combat knife crime.

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“We carry out regular proactive operations as part of our ongoing commitment to disrupt gangs and take as many knives and weapons off our streets as possible. This includes intelligence-led deployments, weapons sweeps and high-visibility patrols to target and disrupt offenders.

"On a daily basis we use intelligence from the public and conduct proactive enforcement using our Sentinel, Scorpion and Serious Crime Disruption Teams to tackle knife crime, much of which is linked to drug dealing and related criminality.

“We also work with schools and colleges to educate on the dangers of carrying a knife. We continue to ask parents and carers to talk to their children about the dangers of carrying knives and the terrible impact that knife crime can have on them, their friends, their family and their community."

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