Action call as North East knife crimes double
Cleveland Police have seen the number of knife crimes more than double in just seven years, new figures reveal.
The force recorded 521 offences involving a knife or a sharp weapon in 2019-20, Office for National Statistics data shows.
That was more than double the 196 reported in 2012-13, when comparable records were first published.
There were roughly 92 knife or sharp weapon offences per 100,000 people in Cleveland last year – a record high, and well up from 35 per 100,000 seven years earlier.
Knife crime has risen across England and Wales in recent years, the ONS said, with a record 50,000 offences recorded by police in the year leading up to the coronavirus crisis.
The new data also reveals that Cleveland Police recorded 94 offences involving a gun in 2019-20, 41 more than the 53 recorded a year earlier.
Anti-knife crime charity the Ben Kinsella Trust says the latest figures are "frightening".
Patrick Green, chief executive of the Trust, said: “Tragically, knife crime has become embedded into our society, affecting generation after generation.
"The Government needs to change its approach. We are beyond the point where we can arrest our way out of this problem. This means a greater focus on prevention and early intervention to stop knives being carried in the first place."
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are working closely with the police and others to stop this senseless bloodshed, particularly as Covid restrictions are eased over coming months.
"We are making sure the police have the resources and support they need, including bolstering their ranks with 20,000 new officers.”