Revealed: Knife crime up more than 40% in Merseyside

In Merseyside Police, officer numbers have dropped by 23% over the last decade
In Merseyside Police, officer numbers have dropped by 23% over the last decade

Knife offences in Merseyside have increased by more than 40 per cent in the last four years, the latest figures show.

Police chiefs called for emergency funding to halt the surge in knife crime. They met Home Secretary Sajid Javid following a spate of fatal stabbings in different parts of the UK.

Merseyside Police investigated 945 offences involving a knife or a sharp weapon between April 2017 and March 2018, according to the Office for National Statistics.

That is a 43% increase since 2013-14, when there were 661 cases, and an 18% rise over the last year.

There are 67 knife offences per 100,000 people in Merseyside, slightly lower than the national average of 69 per 100,000.

Nationally the most common offence involving a knife or sharp object was assault with intent to cause serious harm, followed by robbery.

Across England and Wales, the number of fatal stabbings hit the highest level since comparable records began, more than 70 years ago.

The chairwoman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council said emergency funding was needed to tackle rising knife crime.

Sarah Thornton told the BBC: “It needs some emergency funding. We need to have more officer hours on the streets.

“We just haven't got the capacity, we just haven't got the officers at the moment so we need some money now to pay for overtime and to pay for mutual aid between forces."

Ms Thornton said tackling knife crime should also involve "local authorities, health, education, parents and families".

Referring to the Prime Minister's rejection of a link between less policing and more knife crime, she added: "Look at the facts, there are fewer police officers doing less policing and there's more crime."

In Merseyside Police, officer numbers have dropped by 23% over the last decade.

Home Office data shows the force had 3,409 officers in September last year, compared with 4,414 in September 2010.

Across England and Wales, the number of police officers has dropped by almost 20,000 since 2010.

Following the meeting with police, the Home Secretary said: "I think police resources are very important to deal with this. We've got to do everything we can.

"I'm absolutely committed to working with the police in doing this. We have to listen to them when they talk about resources."

Mr Javid also said he wanted the police to have "more confidence" in using stop-and-search.

The Prime Minister announced she would be holding a summit to explore "what more we can do as a whole society to tackle" knife crime.