48 per cent knife crime increase shock for region
Knife crime in West Mercia rocketed by 48 per cent last year, one of the biggest increases in the country.
The latest recorded crime statistics show a sharp spike in violent crime across the region, with a total of 33,267 violent offences taking place over the 12 months to September 2019.
This is above the national increase in violent crime, which increased by 12 per cent.
But the biggest shock comes in the figures for knife crime, with only the neighbouring Warwickshire force showing a bigger percentage increase.
The West Mercia force, which covers Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire, saw 665 offences committed in the year to September last year, up from 448 the year before that.
The year-on-year- 48 per cent increase is well above that for England and Wales, which grew by seven per cent.
The figures also show a 149 per cent increase in knife crime since 2013/14, when 267 offences were recorded.
Dyfed-Powys saw 251 knife offences recorded last year, a 21 per cent increase on the year before. However, this represents a near four-fold increase compared to 2011/12, when there were just 52 recorded knife offences.
Comparable knife-crime figures for the Greater Manchester Police area were not available.
Overall crime levels increased in line with the national trend, up by five per cent in the year to September.
While violent crime and drugs offences were on the rise, the figures also showed a decrease in the number of theft offences.
The figures do not include fraud offences, which are now collected separately by the national body Action Fraud.
West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said a holistic approach was needed to tackle knife crime.
“Knife crime is a complex issue nationwide that doesn’t have a single, specific cause. It is not a problem we can expect to simply ‘police’ our way out of,” he said.