The number of crimes related to knives and other offensive weapons dealt with by the courts reached its highest level for nine years last year, figures show.
The Ministry of Justice says 21,484 offences were dealt with in England and Wales in 2018, the highest number since 2009. Of all those convicted or cautioned last year, a fifth (21%) were under 18. The figures show 37% of all offences led to an immediate jail sentence, compared with 23% in 2009.
The MoJ figures cover not just knives, but other offensive weapons such as deliberately broken bottles, sharpened screwdrivers, knuckle dusters and corrosive liquids. The annual figures have been published following a spate of fatal stabbings, including the killings of three 17-year-olds in less than a week earlier this month.
And it is a day after police have been promised an extra £100m by the government to help them tackle a knife crime in England and Wales. The government has said offenders are now more likely to go to jail for knife or offensive weapons crimes.