Hartlepool figures at odds with nationwide rise in school knife seizures
The number of pupils caught in possession of knives in schools in Hartlepool and the North East is at odds with a newly-reported nationwide rise.
Figures obtained on behalf of the Mail by our parent company Johnston Press’s investigations unit shows that seizures of blades across the United Kingdom in seizures have more than tripled in the last five years to beyond the 1,000 mark.
Here in Hartlepool, however, only one incident has been recorded by Cleveland Police over the same period.
This happened in October 2016 when a 14-year-old pupil was caught in possession of a knife at a town school. According to information released by Cleveland Police following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, there were only 11 recorded seizures in schools across the force area between 2012-13 and 2016-17.
The youngest involved a child aged “under 10” in Stockton in December 2016.
Chief Inspector Jason Dickson, of Cleveland Police, stressed that possession figures as a whole included instances where seizures have prevented carriers from committing more serious crimes.
He added: “We also act positively to remove knives and other bladed weapons from our streets using knife amnesties, through Operation Sceptre, to give law abiding citizens the opportunity to safely dispose of unwanted knives and other bladed weapons.
“In addition to this we undertake a programme of education within schools whereby officers visit schools to deliver the Point 7 knife crime presentation, which aims to deter young people away from crime.
“Our focus is on taking a proactive approach to protecting our communities from harm and we will take a robust approach to anyone found in possession of a knife in conjunction with our colleagues from the Crown Prosecution Service and in accordance with Home Office guidelines.
“We will continue to work with our partners to prevent violent crime and keep Cleveland safe.”
In the Durham Police area, one child aged 10 was found in possession of a knife on school premises in the county during 2016-17.
There were six similar incidents reported to the force in the same year involving one pupil aged 12, three aged 14, one aged 15 and one 16.
The overall figure was three higher than for 2015-16.
A Durham Constabulary spokeswoman said: “Thankfully, crimes involving knives or other bladed weapons remain low in County Durham and Darlington, as do instances of children being in possession of a knife at school.
“Officers do visit schools if we receive requests from them to provide education and awareness around knives and other weapons.
“We can also run tailored antisocial behaviour carousels which can cover weapons if the school requests it.”
Separate figures released to the investigations unit show that three young Hartlepool people between the ages of 10-19 were admitted to hospital with knife wounds over the last five years.
The national picture for all age groups shows a rise of more than 13 per cent from 3,849 t0 4,351.
Here in Hartlepool there was a slight rise over the same period from 10 to 12.