Top cop speaks out over rise in cases of women carrying knives in South Yorkshire
A top cop has given reassurances that police are 'absolutely committed' to tackling knife crime after shock figures revealed a sharp rise in the number of women carrying blades.
Data obtained using the Freedom of Information Act revealed an 82 per cent rise in cases of women caught possessing bladed articles across South Yorkshire in the last five years.
In total, there were 248 knife possession offences involving women across Sheffield, Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham between 2014 and 2018.
Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley has sought to reassure the public that South Yorkshire Police is doing everything they can to tackle knife crime.
He said: “The number of knife crime offences both nationally and across South Yorkshire has risen over the last five years.
“However, during this period the demographic of offending across the county has not changed. If anything female offenders as a proportion of all offenders has reduced, with women involved in less than eight per cent of incidents in 2018.“Obviously, anyone carrying a knife is a worry and we are absolutely committed to preventing and tackling knife crime in the county.
“Those who carry knives are often some of the most vulnerable people in society and it is our top priority to work with schools, probation services, charities and other partners to reach those people before they are drawn in to any kind of criminality.”
Ass Chf Con Hartley added that there are now more officers patrolling the streets thanks to a recent £2.5 million grant from the Home Office.
This has led to the creation of a dedicated Violent Crime Task Force, whose 'sole remit is to proactively tackle violent criminality, seize weapons and disrupt organised crime.'
The officer said: “In the two months the unit has been up and running, we have already seen significant results and we are confident that this will continue over the next nine months.”
Nationally, knife possession offences committed by women and girls in England have risen by at least 10 per cent every year since 2014.
There were 1,509 offences recorded in 2018, which represented an increase of 73 per cent over five years.
The Home Office said it was investing £220m across the country into steering both young men and young women away from violent crime.
A spokesman said: "We recently announced plans to recruit 20,000 more police officers and empower them to use fair and intelligence-led stop and search, to prevent more young people falling victim to knife crime."