Revealed: More criminals caught with guns and knives

People caught with offensive weapons has increased in the last year according to new figures. Pic

People caught with offensive weapons has increased in the last year according to new figures. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The number of people reportedly caught with guns and knives has increased by more than 50 per cent.

According to the latest crime statistics, there were 182 weapon possession offences in 2018, data from the Office for National Statistics shows.

This can include handguns, knives and even corrosive acid. This has risen 58 per cent since 2017, when 115 incidents were reported.

Across England and Wales there was a 21 per cent increase in offences with knives or sharp objects.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary have said the increase is due to improved reporting procedures as well as proactive policing, including stop and searches and interventions from officers, and an increased policing focus on the possession of weapons.

Chief Inspector Zoe Chegwyn said: "By using a range of tactics and approaches, we can visibly show communities the ways in which we are working to reduce the impact of knives on people's lives.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Constabulary said: "Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: "Knives do not keep you safe. Young people need to be aware by carrying a knife,they are putting themselves in much greater danger."

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Overall, police recorded crime in North Somerset slightly increased in 2018.

Over the period, 15,067 crimes were recorded, up by one per cent on 2016-17,

Alexa Bradley, from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: "When we look at the overall level of crime, there has been no significant change over the past year.

"However, lower-volume, high-harm violence involving knives has risen, whereas offences involving firearms have decreased."

That means there was a rate of 71 crimes per 1,000 residents during 2018, below the England and Wales average of 88.

Chief Constable Bill Skelly, of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said: "Rising crime, and fewer police officers have put serious strain on the policing we offer to the public.

"We are determining the additional capabilities and investment we need to drive down violence and catch more criminals."