Police take 140 blades off the streets of Hampshire as new figures reveal knife crime is on the increase 

Knife crime is on the increase in Hampshire after several years of decline
Knife crime is on the increase in Hampshire after several years of decline

Hampshire police have finished an annual week of action with 140 knives seized or recovered in specialist sweeps by police and in amnesty bins.

Knife crime incidents have increased by more than 25 per cent in just eight years in the county according to latest figures.

Between March 11-17 police have carried out patrols, searches and test purchases at shops - with six stores out of 25 selling blades to children.

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The force said 19 knife-related arrests were made, 97 knives were discarded in bins at police stations and 50 engagement events were carried out.

Reports of knife crime dropped from 781 crimes in 2008 to 497 in 2011 - but has since increased year-on-year to 544 in 2018.

Knife crime lead for Hampshire Constabulary, temporary Superintendent Claire Taylor, said: ‘Even though levels of knife crime in Hampshire and Isle of Wight are low, there is a continuing concern nationally around knife crime, which has seen an increase following a downward trend.

‘Tackling violence remains a key priority for the force and we intend to keep up the momentum. The work around knife crime is on-going daily business tackling knife offences, arresting those who carry knives and confiscating dangerous weapons.”

‘In our week of action operations we targeted habitual offenders in crime hotspots, resulting in arrests and weapons seized. We also worked with Trading Standards to identify retailers who are failing to meet their responsibilities under the law on selling.’

Hampshire police and crime commissioner Michael Lane said: ‘Real progress in reducing knife crime takes sustained action, focus and commitment by all agencies involved across all sectors of community.

‘Policing must play its part alongside community safety, health education and youth support.

‘As important as tackling the crime and its consequences is tackling the root causes of the crime and enabling early intervention to protect young people and keep them out of the criminal justice system.