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Revealed... the number of child knife criminals in Cornwall

Revealed... the number of child knife criminals in Cornwall

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 2:15pm 8th March 2019. (Updated at 2:54pm 8th March 2019)

It has been revealed that one in eight knife criminals in Devon and Cornwall are children.

Figures show those are people who have been convicted or cautioned.

Charity the JAN Trust says more funding for youth projects is vital to help vulnerable children, particularly those who have been excluded from school.

The latest Ministry of Justice data shows Devon and Cornwall Police took action against 44 children for either carrying a knife as a weapon or threatening someone with one, in the 12 months ending September 2018.

Of those, six had at least one previous knife crime offence.

Including adults, Devon and Cornwall Police took action against 336 people in the 12 months to September, 33 more than three years earlier.

That means 13% of knife offences were committed by children.

The figure has increased since 2014-15, when 39 children were convicted or cautioned over knife crimes.

In Devon and Cornwall, 43 children were convicted or cautioned for carrying a sharp object, while one used the blade to threaten someone.

There were 22 knife criminals aged between 10 and 15 in 2017-18, while 22 were 16 or 17 years old.

Sajda Mughal, chief executive of the JAN Trust, said work with families is vital to make them aware of the problem and help them support their children.

"A growing number of young people are carrying knives, are members of gangs and have the mind-set that they have no choice but to carry a knife.

"We need to prioritise increased funding for vital support services and youth projects to address the kind of alienation and exclusion that many young people face.

"It is also crucial to fund and support work with families, especially mothers, to make them aware of this issue and how they can support their young people."

Sajda Mughal, chief executive of the JAN Trust

Across England and Wales, there were more than 4,000 children convicted or cautioned for knife offences in the 12 months to September - an increase of 31% over the last three years.

In Devon and Cornwall, 91% of the children were white.

Ms Mughal added: "There needs to be an increase in more specialised and proficient policing, as opposed to the distrust formed between communities from racial profiling."

The Prime Minister and Home Secretary have both spoken out on knife crime recently, after a spate of fatal stabbings across the country. Police forces have asked for emergency funds to deal with the surge in offences.

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