Anti-knife crime charity the Ben Kinsella Trust said a fall across England and Wales is encouraging, following a trend in decreasing child knife crime, but warned against the high percentage of repeat offenders avoiding custody.
Ministry of Justice figures show 106 knife offences were committed by children aged between 10 and 17 in the Hampshire Constabulary area last year – down from 113 in 2020.
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Of them, 103 were for possessing a knife in a public place and three were for threatening behaviour.
An offence can be classified as both possession and threatening, but it is only recorded once in the total number of offences.
The offences led to two under-18s being placed in immediate custody.
This was down on five the year before and 10 in 2019, before the pandemic.
The fall in the percentage of young offenders going to prison is alongside a national fall in the total number of total offences.
In 2021, 3,519 knife offences were committed by under-18s, down from 3,602 the year prior and well below pre-pandemic levels – in 2019, there were 4,618 offences.
Patrick Green, chief executive of the Ben Kinsella Trust, said that it is good to see knife offences falling, but expressed caution, given the decrease in all crime during the pandemic due to successive lockdowns.
In Hampshire, 10 (9.4 per cent) of the 106 knife offences in Hampshire were committed by children who have had at least one previous offence – nine avoided immediate custody.
The other 96 were committed by first-time offenders.