Almost half of knife carriers are repeat offenders
Nearly half of criminals caught carrying a blade in the North East have previously committed a knife crime, new figures show.
Anti-knife crime charity the Ben Kinsella Trust says too many offenders “simply reappear on our streets still carrying weapons”.
The figures from the Ministry of Justice reveal there were 437 convictions and cautions for knife possession in the 12 months up to September in the Northumbria Police area.
In 187 cases (43%), the offender had committed at least one previous offence of carrying a knife, while 43 has three or more past offences.
Immediate prison sentences were given in 99 of the cases while 52 were dealt with by suspended jail sentences, 15 by community orders and four by a caution.
For 17 of the offences the outcome was not specified.
Nationally, 12,458 convictions and cautions were given to adult offenders for knife possession in the 12 months up to September – a third being repeat offenders.
Patrick Green, chief executive of anti-knife charity the Ben Kinsella Trust, said: “All too often we see the criminal justice system having little or no effect on habitual knife carriers.
“Despite going before the courts and receiving a conviction, too many offenders simply reappear on our streets still carrying weapons.”
The figures exclude offences such as murder and assault.
The Ministry of Justice states repeat knife possession offenders should expect a custodial sentence, but added sentencing remained a matter for independent judges.
Justice Minister Chris Philp said: “This Government is determined to make our streets safer and those caught carrying a knife should expect to face time behind bars.”