KNIFE crime in West Mercia has risen by 30 per cent since last year, according to new figures.

The figures, released by the Office of National Statistics, show that reported incidents involving knives increased from 444 to 578 between 2017/18 and 2018/19.

According to the ONS, this works out as 43 incidents involving knives per 100,000 in the general population, putting West Mercia number 28 out of 43 areas in the country.

West Mercia’s police and crime commissioner John Campion said: “Knife crime is something which needs to be tackled by society as a whole. West Mercia remains safe and the numbers of knife related incidents remain comparatively small, but there is always proactive work which can be done to protect our communities.

“From my investments in preventative and diversionary projects which tackle the root causes of knife crime, the force’s successful approach with enforcement and initiatives including the launch of a knife crime strategy and the recent knife crime surrender, as well as my investments in extra policing. I am committed to playing my part in tackling this issue.”

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Chief Superintendent Tom Harding from West Mercia Police said: “The counties we cover in West Mercia Police are some of the safest and knife crime is relatively low, however, one stabbing is one too many and it is important we carry out work to prevent it from happening in the first place.

“We know if someone carries a knife they are more likely to be stabbed which is why we need to stop young people from carrying knives.

"Last month we launched our knife crime strategy 'Calling Time on Knife Crime' which sees us work together with local authorities, health and education to identify and support those on the periphery of knife crime.

“Making sure we get to the root cause of why someone may consider carrying a knife, in particular young people, is crucial, if we can understand why we can make sure they have support they need, whether that be from ourselves or another agency, to encourage them to take a different direction.

“If anyone has any concerns a child they know carries or is considering a knife we would ask them to let us know. It is not about getting them in trouble but making sure we intervene at an early stage and ensure they have support.”