Education secretary facing questions on school knives

Education secretary and East Hampshire MP Damian Hinds is to asked about the rising number of knife crime incidents in schools
Education secretary and East Hampshire MP Damian Hinds is to asked about the rising number of knife crime incidents in schools

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QUESTIONS have been put to the new education secretary after an investigation found the extent of the knife crime threat in schools.

The News and Johnston Press Investigations this week revealed more than 2,400 children had been caught with a blade since 2012.

A Johnston Press survey shows strong support for arming teachers with metal detector wands.

A Johnston Press survey shows strong support for arming teachers with metal detector wands.

The number of children caught in Hampshire had more than doubled, to 26 in 2016 according to police data.

Now East Hampshire MP Damian Hinds, the new education secretary, is facing questions tabled in Parliament on Monday about what measures he will take in response to the investigation, run together with our sister paper, i.

Sarah Jones, chairwoman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime, has submitted written questions to Mr Hinds asking whether he will review safeguarding guidance for children in schools in the light of the findings.

Ms Jones said she wanted to know from Mr Hinds ‘what steps his department is taking in response to figures showing increasing knife offences occurring on school premises’.

There is yet to be a written response from Mr Hinds.

Separate figures released by the GMB union reveal in 2016/16, 477 assaults were reported against education workers to the Health and Safety Executive, up from 385 in 2012/13

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Duncan Ball is the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on knife-enabled crime.

Responding to our findings, he said: 
‘Every child in this country has the right to a safe education and although rare, we are seeing a small number of knife crime offences happening on school premises.

‘Technology is a helpful tool in keeping our children safe, but knife wands will not stop the issue completely, to do this we must educate.

‘Knife crime is a growing problem amongst young people and we continue to work closely with partners to address this.

‘There is amazing work happening in schools across the country to educate young people and explain why carrying a knife is never the right choice. We will do everything we can to support this education and reduce the numbers of knives on the streets.

‘Next month Operation Sceptre will see forces across England and Wales conduct intelligence-led activity against knife crime. A key part of this is working with trading standards and retailers to reduce the sale of knives to under-age people.’

The government said it expected to publish a new serious violence strategy early this year.

A spokesperson said: ‘Knife crime has devastating consequences and this government is determined to tackle this and do all it can to break the deadly cycle and protect our children, families and communities.’