22 January 2020
Knife crime in Derbyshire is at its highest level in more than a decade, new Government figures show.
The number of people cautioned or convicted for knife or offensive weapon offences in Derbyshire rose to 369 in the year ending September 2019, up from 306 the previous year.
It represents a 20 per cent increase and is the highest number of cautions or convictions for knife or offensive weapon offences recorded for the Force area. The previous highest was 351 in 2009.
Tony Wetton, Derbyshire Police Federation chair, said: “These figures will be of concern to the public as they see the rising numbers of convictions and cautions for knife offences in Derbyshire.
“It hammers home just how much the drastic cuts to our budgets and police numbers have had an impact on tackling the public’s priorities, including the scourge of knife crime.
“Derbyshire has not seen the same levels of knife crime as some of the major cities, but we know that it blights communities and has a devastating effect on people and on families, as well as on our officers who are often the first on the scene.
“What these figures do is emphasise the dedication of Derbyshire Police officers and highlight their determination and hard work in bringing offenders to justice.
“We now need to see their determined efforts backed by the Government with the proper investment needed to tackle knife crime and ensure that our officers and members of the public alike feel safe as they go about their lives. This means increased officer numbers and wider availability of protective equipment like Taser. The Government must now fulfil the promises made around police funding prior to the General Election.”
According to the report, offenders are now more likely to be handed an immediate jail sentence for knife and weapon offences, and that sentence is likely to be for longer term.
In the year ending September 2019, 38 per cent of knife and offensive weapons offences resulted in an immediate custodial sentence compared with 23 per cent 10 years earlier. The average length of custodial sentences also increased over the same period, from six months to just over eight months.
Justice minister Chris Philp said the Government was recruiting 20,000 more police officers, extending stop-and-search powers and ensuring the most violent offenders were kept in prison for longer.
"These figures should serve as a stark warning to those carrying knives - you are more likely to be jailed, and for longer, than at any point in the last decade," he added.