Knife crime increases by 20 per cent

Dyfed Powys Police Federation secretary Roger Webb has called for knife crime offenders to face the stiffest possible sentences to help deter people from carrying blades.

His comments come as new Government figures show that knife crime in the Force area rose by 20 per cent in the last year.

There were 213 offences involving a knife or sharp weapon in Dyfed Powys in the 12 months to March, up from 178 offences in the previous 12 months, data from the Office for National Statistics shows.

Roger said: “People in our communities will be concerned to see such a sharp rise in the numbers of knife offences. All too often we see the devastating impact knife crime can have on people and families, and we’re doing everything we can to prevent and deter people from carrying weapons.

“We’re recruiting more officers to the Force, which is really welcome and will help us to tackle knife crime.

“But we need to be backed up by the courts and for them to send out a strong message it will not be tolerated by handing down to offenders the toughest possible sentences.”

Across England and Wales the number of offences involving a knife or sharp weapon rose by six per cent to 46,265, its highest level on record.

Robbery also increased for the fifth year in a row, by six per cent (to 83,241 offences) compared with the previous year.

National Federation chair John Apter said: “It’s a tragedy knife crime continues to spiral as my colleagues are stretched to their limits, and with fewer officers on patrol it comes as no surprise.

“More than ever we need a visible deterrent to violent crime. We need more officers available to deter and prevent these kinds of crimes and ease the burden on colleagues.”

He added: “Yet again we see the effects of austerity that have necessitated this current Government’s investment in funding and the 20,000-officer uplift announced last year – investment that will still only bring us back to pre-2010 levels.”

There was a rise of 10 per cent in homicides to 683, which includes the 39 people found dead inside a lorry in Essex last October. Excluding the lorry deaths, homicides increased by three per cent.

However, many crimes have fallen including a four per cent decrease in recorded offences involving firearms and a four per cent fall in theft.

Burglary offences recorded by the police have also continued on a long-term decline, decreasing by nine per cent.

John added: “The fact some statistics have fallen despite this is a testament to the hard work and dedication of officers who police with professionalism across the country.”