Hampshire police insist: knife crime is low in the county

HIDING PLACE Teachers are discovering knives and other weapons concealed in pupils' clothing and satchels''Picture: Shutterstock
HIDING PLACE Teachers are discovering knives and other weapons concealed in pupils' clothing and satchels''Picture: Shutterstock
Roy Payne outside Portsmouth Magistrates' Court.

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TEACHERS are discovering knives and other weapons concealed in pupils’ clothing and satchels on average once a day across the country.

On an average school morning somewhere in the UK, a child will put on their uniform and walk into a playground concealing a knife or other weapon including prison-style ‘shanks’ – made by fixing razor blades into felt-tipped pens.

More than 2,400 pupils have been caught with a knife or other weapon in school since 2012 according to data obtained from nearly two-thirds of UK police forces.

Officers have had reports of more than 3,500 knife-related crimes on school grounds, including more than 660 knife-related assaults.

Our investigation shows a 42 per cent rise in children caught in possession of a knife or blade or other weapon over the last two academic years, in areas where comparative figures are available.

Around 24 weapon possession in school offences were recorded in Hampshire in 2016, while nine offences of having a knife on school premises were prosecuted in 2016-17, and two between April-September last year.

PC Maria Carrick, school and youth engagement co-ordinator, said: ‘As part of our preventative work around knife crime, and in particular knives coming into the hands of children, we have adopted an approach of informing, engaging and educating.

‘With regards to engagement and raising awareness of the risks of carrying knives, we have an initiative in Hampshire known as Police Apprentice, which tasks young people with developing their own creative campaign ideas to tackle a range of issues – of which youth knife crime is just one.

‘These ideas are then delivered through schools and youth groups.’

Hampshire police’s knife crime lead Chief Inspector Claire Taylor said: ‘Compared to other forces, Hampshire has a relatively low number of reports relating to knife crime.’

She added: ‘Carrying knives is often linked to drug-related harm and we continue to refresh our approach to tackling this.’