Police in South Tyneside are seizing more offensive weapons

Northumbria Police's Head of Crime, Chief Superintendent Lisa Orchard.
Northumbria Police's Head of Crime, Chief Superintendent Lisa Orchard.

The number of people caught with guns and knives in South Tyneside has increased by almost a third, according to new crime statistics.

There were 152 weapons possession offences in 2018, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and these can include hand guns, knives and corrosive acid.

Some of the weapons siezed by police nationally

Some of the weapons siezed by police nationally

That figure is up 29% on 2017, when there were 118 incidents were recorded.

The rise was reflected nationally. Across England and Wales there was a 21% increase in offences with knives or sharp objects.

Northumbria Police’s Head of Crime, Chief Superintendent Lisa Orchard, said: “First and foremost, I want to reassure the public that we are committed to keeping our communities safe.

“As a Force, we take a very strong stance on violent crime and our area continues to experience low levels compared to other big cities across the country.

“We will continue to work with a range of partners to ensure we are proactively tackling such issues.

“Here in Northumbria this includes working with licensees and visiting schools and colleges to educate youngsters about a range of topics including the dangers of knife crime.

“Our officers also have the power to stop and search individuals believed to be carrying a knife or weapon and anyone found doing so will be arrested and positive action taken.”

She added: “I would urge anybody who has any information about people going out with a weapon to come forward. Share that information with police, so we can act now.”

Overall, police recorded crime in South Tyneside increased in 2018.

Over the period, 16,038 crimes were recorded, up by 10% on 2016-17.

That means there is a crime for at least one in every 10 residents in South Tyneside, well above average for England and Wales.

There were 537 house burglaries reported in South Tyneside but, due to a change in how the ONS categorises burglaries, the local figure cannot be compared with other years.

Criminal damage offences - which includes arson and vandalising cars and houses - has also risen, going up from 2,241 incidents in 2017, to 2,469 in the latest figures.

Crimes of violence with injury, which includes assault, GBH and wounding, have also risen, although the ONS say this could be due to improved police recording.

Similarly sexual offences are hard to judge as many more victims are now coming forward due to a series of high-profile cases.

In South Tyneside, there were 484 incidents recorded in 2018, an 11% rise on the previous year, when 435 crimes were reported.

There were also 1,746 cases of stalking and harassment reported over the same period.