Number of knife criminals who re-offend in South Yorkshire up by almost 40 per cent, according to figures

The number of criminals in South Yorkshire prosecuted for knife crime, after previously being caught carrying a blade, has increased by almost 40 per cent over the last three years.
The number of criminals in South Yorkshire prosecuted for knife crime, after previously being caught carrying a blade, has increased by almost 40 per cent over the last three years.

The number of criminals in South Yorkshire prosecuted for knife crime, after previously being caught carrying a blade, has increased by almost 40 per cent over the last three years.

New Ministry of Justice data reveals that South Yorkshire Police convicted or cautioned 507 people in the 12 months leading up to June this year, either for possession of a knife as a weapon or threatening someone with one.

Of those 145, or 29 per cent, had at least one previous offence for carrying a knife, and 17 of the criminals had three or more past offences.

That figure has increased since 2014-15, when 105 of those who had been prosecuted had re-offended.

Patrick Green, chief executive of anti-knife charity the Ben Kinsella Trust, said the figures were ‘deeply depressing’.

He added: "This indicates we cannot rely solely on enforcement if we are going to tackle the small but significant number of habitual reoffenders.

"These are people who are stuck in a spiral of violent crime."

Mr Green said treating knife crime as a public health issue, which is beginning to be adopted in some parts of the country, could start to tackle the ‘underlying causes of knife crime’

The figures also confirmed that In South Yorkshire, in 2017-18, 105 children were charged with knife offences - 52 per cent rise on 2014-15.

Police bosses have said that this increase could be down to improved identification techniques.

A National Police Chiefs' Council spokesman said: "Proactive policing, and a rise in successful identification of knife carriers by forces, has played a role in the rising number of knife-carrying offences that are prosecuted.

"In many cases, police forces have improved the identification of those who continue to carry knives despite previous sanctions, which has led to a rise in the number of those with previous convictions or cautions being charged."

He added that preventing youngsters from carrying knives requires help through education and the community, as well as the police.

"This early intervention plays a vitally important role in stopping young people from turning to a life of crime.”

Overall 14 per cent more people were prosecuted by South Yorkshire Police with knife offences in 2017-18, compared with the previous 12 months.

Of those 480 were for possession of a knife as a weapon, and 32 for making threats with a knife.

A total of 174 offenders were sent to prison, 132 were given community orders and 82 received a caution.

According to figures from the Ministry of Justice,  the proportion of knife offences resulting in a caution across England and Wales is at its lowest level ever.

The figures have been released as The Star continues with it’s campaign for for people across the city to Drop The Knife.