KNIFE crime in Warwickshire rocketed by a quarter in the last year – over three times the national average.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics have revealed there were 306 crimes involving knives or sharp instruments in the county in the year to June, an annual increase of 25 per cent.
Such crimes have reached a record high across England and Wales – but the national rise was just seven per cent.
All violent crimes in Warwickshire rose by 13 per cent to just over 13,500 – less than the national rise of 15 per cent.
And total recorded crime excluding fraud rose to just over 41,900, a two per cent rise – also less than the national six per cent.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said the rise in knife crime was down to more offences being recorded overall, as the proportion of offences involving a knife had remained at around five per cent of all crime recorded in the county.
He said: “While the headlines about knife crime can seem alarming, these latest figures show that Warwickshire does not have the specific knife crime problem that is being seen in the larger cities and metropolitan areas across the country. What has changed is the volume of offences being recorded overall.”
He also attributed the rise to proactive policing operations designed to take knives off the street.
He added the increases in overall recorded crime and violent crime in Warwickshire were lower than the averages for England and Wales, and the county remained a low crime area overall.
He said: “There are also some very positive headlines in the latest figures in terms of reductions in theft, burglary, vehicle crime and shoplifting across Warwickshire, which reflect a continued focus that Warwickshire Police places on tackling these kinds of crime.
“Any increase of reported crime does of course mean additional workload for the police and that’s why I have invested in 150 extra officers over the past two years, many of whom are now completing their training and going into patrol policing roles to help tackle these types of offences.
“Together with the additional 41 police officers that the government will fund in Warwickshire over the next 12 months, we will see officer numbers top the 1,000 for the first time in a decade.
“With these additional resources in place I hope we can see continued improvement in the crime figures to ensure Warwickshire remains a safe and secure place.”