The number of knife crimes being dealt with by the police and courts are the highest in a decade, official figures show.
There were 22,286 knife and offensive weapon offences formally dealt with by the criminal justice system in England and Wales in the year ending September 2019, according to Ministry of Justice statistics.
This is a three per cent rise on the previous year and the highest since September 2009 (26,364).
The shock announcement comes after John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, has called on ministers for a 10-year budget strategy to allow police forces to properly plan for the future after a decade of cuts has “decimated” police forces.
The Police Federation chief made a plea this week to the government, saying previous requests had “fallen on deaf ears.”
“All of the predictions we made about the cuts to policing, the devastation that it would bring, the rise in crime that it would bring, have come true,” he said.
Diane Abbott MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, responding to the plea from the chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “The government urgently needs to explain how they are going to make good on their manifesto commitment to recruit 20,000 additional officers and what resources they are going to provide.
“There is a danger that the pledge on police numbers goes the same way as the pledge on nurses, where new recruits are not extra police at all. This would be another Tory failure on policing, after they were responsible for this crisis by axing more than 20,000 police officers.”
On Tuesday the Prime Minister ordered all Whitehall departments to take action on tackling crime.
Boris Johnson told ministers every department should consider itself a criminal justice department as part of a drive to look at the “complex causes of crime” which would involve long-term reforms to improve health, social care, youth services and education.
In August 321,000 fried chicken boxes that feature the Government’s #knifefree campaign and suggested other hobbies for youth to take up instead of knife crime were derided as “embarrassing”, “stupid” and “borderline racist”.
The proportion of repeat offenders sentenced who had previous convictions for similar crimes has also jumped to nearly 30 per cent, its highest level on record.
Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said: “Tough sentences are part of the solution, but we need to tackle the root causes and understand why those involved carry knives.
“Often it’s because they’re facing poverty of hope – a future with no qualifications, no job prospects and no role models, making them vulnerable to criminal gangs who coerce them to carry knives and deliver drugs.
“To break the cycle of violence, we need to reach them before they reach for a knife.
“The Government urgently needs to work with charities, education, health, youth workers, the criminal justice system and local communities to find long-term answers and restore children’s hope, so they have a reason to turn away from crime.”