'Two youngsters a week' caught with knives
Almost two young people a week have been convicted or cautioned for knife crimes in the North East over the last decade, new figures show.
Ministry of Justice figures for Northumbria Police show under-18s were involved in 946 of the 6,117 cases resulting in cautions or convictions between July 2010 and June 2021 – 15% – with 499 of those children aged between just 10 and 15.
Of the youngsters convicted 89% were first time offenders but 106 had at least one previous conviction, and three had three or more.
The Ben Kinsella Trust, established in memory of a teen knifed to death at the age of 16, called for more to be done to educate young people on the dangers of knife crime.
The charity's CEO, Patrick Green, said the figures illustrated the negative impact knife crime was having on young lives.
He added: “No child was born carrying a knife and we should not forget that young people are also increasingly likely to be victims."
The latest national figures show nearly 38,500 punishments were issued to youngsters for knife and offensive weapon crime since July 2010 – up six per cent on the year before, though the previous year included the first national lockdown.
There had been a steady rise in punishments for knife and offensive weapons offences nationally before the pandemic.
A Government spokesman said it was combining "tough enforcement" and early intervention to get dangerous weapons off the streets.
He added: “Knife crime has fallen since 2019, but we are determined to do more to protect our young people."