Dozens of children caught by police with knives across Avon and Somerset over past 12 months

PUBLISHED: 06:55 15 March 2019

Police took action against 73 children in the 12 months ending September 2018. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Police took action against 73 children in the 12 months ending September 2018. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

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One in six people convicted or cautioned across Avon and Somerset for knife crimes last year were children.

Ministry of Justice data shows police took action against 73 children for either carrying a knife as a weapon or threatening someone with one, in the 12 months ending September 2018.

Of those, eight had committed one previous knife offence and overall, 16 per cent of the offences were committed by children.

In Avon and Somerset, 70 children were convicted or cautioned for carrying a sharp object, while three used a knife to threaten someone.

There were 38 people aged 10-15 in 2017-18 caught, while 35 were 16 or 17 years old.

Officers are taking part in a week of action until Sunday, which is aimed at reducing the number of blades on the streets and educating young people about the dangers of carrying a knife.

Chief Inspector Zoe Chegwyn, who leads on knife crime for the police force area, said: “Weeks of action are an important time in our calendar, as we can really focus on enforcement activity which has a direct impact on the number of knives on our streets, where they can and do cause serious harm.

“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, we must take a holistic approach to understand the reasons why young people are arming themselves in this way, and how we can prevent and reduce this.

“I want to stress our educational work with young people is on-going and not just limited to our weeks of action. However, we will step it up this week in schools and youth clubs, with officers delivering hard-hitting workshops which really bring home the impact knives can have not just on individuals, but on families and communities.

“If people are worried someone they know is carrying a knife, but are nervous about talking to the police, they can contact the Crimestoppers youth arm anonymously and potentially help to save a life.”

Including adults, police officers took action against 454 people in the 12 months to September, 48 more than three years earlier.

The figure has increased since 2014-15, when 64 children were convicted or cautioned over knife crimes.

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