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Children as young as nine carrying knives in our schools

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Children as young as nine have been found to be carrying knives in the region's schools – recently released figures reveal.

Under a Freedom of Information request made to West Mercia Police, figures show that there was a 120 per cent rise in the number of knife incidents in primary and secondary schools across West Mercia.

The knives included lock knives and Stanley knives as well as everyday knives.

In 2011 there were four reported incidents. The offenders were aged between 11 and 17 and received cautions and reprimands from the authorities.

The figure dropped in 2012 and 2013 when there were only three incidents but increased in 2014 to five offences when two 14-year-olds and one 15-year-old and one 16-year-old received charges, summons or cautions.

Last year 11 children were found to be carrying knives on school premises.

This included the nine-year-old who was carrying a lock knife. The child was identified but no further action was taken.

Other offenders included two 10-year-olds who were carrying knives and who were cautioned as well as an 11-year-old who also received a caution.

Another 11-year-old who was found in possession of a lock knife was cautioned. Two 12-year-olds were found to be carrying knives, but for both there was no further police action.

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Three 13-year-olds were carrying knives one of whom received a caution, one received no further action and the third was transferred to an external agency.

A 16-year-old was cautioned for possession of a Stanley knife while no further action was taken against a 15-year-old.

NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates said: "These are deeply worrying statistics and it is a real concern that they have only been exposed through an FOI. There needs to be a review by Government of what lies behind these statistics.

"We need to know what is motivating pupils to come to school armed so that effective strategies can be put in place to tackle this.

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"One tragedy as a result of a pupil carrying a weapon is one tragedy too many."

A spokesperson for West Mercia Police said: "West Mercia Police works closely with our partner agencies to find opportunities to prevent young people from becoming involved in criminal activity, and this includes the carrying of weapons.

"When we have cases where a child under 10 is believed to be a suspect in a criminal offence they are treated sensitively by specially-trained officers in order to provide the right level of care.

"West Mercia is a safe place to live with knife crime levels below the national average."

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