Revealed: Hundreds of teenagers caught with knives at school
The number of children caught with knives at school has increased five-fold in six years, new figures show.
More than 100 pupils under the age of 18 were caught with a knife or similar weapon at a school in the West Midlands in 2017/18, a far cry from the 23 caught in 2012/13.
The figures, released by West Midlands Police through a freedom of information request, also show one eight-year-old and two nine year olds were caught with blades in school grounds last year.
Campaigners have called for these latest figures to act as a "wake up call".
Between 2012 and 2018, 375 children have been caught with a bladed weapon at schools in the West Midlands.
The highest number came in 2016/17, when 111 were caught. A total of 102 were caught last year, compared with 79 in 2015/16, 39 in 2014/15 and 21 in 2013/14.
In response to the growing number of knives being found at schools, West Midlands Police has introduced knife arches to detect pupils carrying blades.
The arches, similar to airport scanners, have previously toured schools in Sandwell and been temporarily installed at other schools across the Black Country, including Grace Academy Darlaston.
Across the Black Country, the highest number of reports over the six-year period came in Wolverhampton with 33.
This was followed by 32 in Sandwell, 31 in Walsall and 15 in Dudley – the lowest of any borough across the whole region.
In the wider West Midlands, the vast majority of reports were at schools in Birmingham.
There were 110 reports in Birmingham East and 107 reports in Birmingham West.
The data provided by West Midlands Police also reveals the age of those stopped for having a knife on school grounds.
The highest number of offences came from 14 year olds with 80. This was followed by 76 15 year olds, 69 13 year olds and 60 12 year olds.
The number of offences committed by older teenagers was smaller in comparison, with 28 16 year olds caught with knives and 13 17 year olds.
There was also two eight year olds caught, five nine year olds and 13 10 year olds between 2012 and 2018.
Liberal Democrat campaigner Leyla Abbes said: "These figures must be a wake up call for everyone. Children carrying knifes is a horrific indictment of society. Passing more laws won't be enough as we need real action at every level from families to councils and the police.
"We all need to do something to fix this national crisis."
The most recent fatal incident involving a knife on school grounds came in February this year, when 16-year-old Mohammed Sidali was stabbed to death outside Joseph Chamberlain College in Birmingham.
Sidali, as he was known to his friends, was a student at the college and a 16-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of murder.