Revealed: Knife crime hits record high in the West Midlands
Hundreds more offences recorded as region continues to be gripped by epidemic of violence.
Knife crime has surged by 17 per cent in the West Midlands, hitting another record high.
Latest statistics show yet another big jump in knife crime, while violent crime as a whole is also soaring.
Police chiefs said the grim figures are concerning and show there is a need to get more officers on the streets as quickly as possible. In was a different story in Staffordshire which saw a fall in similar crimes.
There were more than 500 extra offences involving knives in the year to September 2019 than during the previous 12 months as the total for the West Midlands rose to 3,649.
It is the biggest rise of any police force in the country, including the Met. Knife crime in the West Midlands has tripled since five years ago.
Crime has risen across the board in the West Midlands, with the figures showing violence against the person up by 27 per cent, violence without injury up 36 per cent and robbery up 13 per cent. It is a different picture in Staffordshire where crime has fallen in most areas.
The latest figures follow the Government’s announcement of a police funding increase of more than a £1 billion following Boris Johnson’s election victory. About £50 million of that is expected to be diverted to West Midlands Police.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson insisted it is important that cash is spent in the right areas.
He said: “These figures show that crime is continuing to rise across the country and here in the West Midlands.
“The Government now need to recognise that they need to properly fund our police service and ensure that any additional resourcing goes to the areas that need it most.
"Yesterday’s funding announcement, while welcome, doesn’t come close to undoing the damage of 10 years of cuts and under-funding to the police service.
“The Government needs to give forces like West Midlands Police the resources we need.
These figures are testament to the need for increased long term funding for policing and crucially for services to support young people.
"Government cuts have meant West Midlands Police has lost more than 2,100 police officers since 2010 and seen its budget shrink by £175m. Even with the Prime Minister’s announcement of additional police officers, our force is only due to receive 1,200 officers back over the next 3 years far short of what we’ve lost.”
Crisis deepens as knife attacks now show biggest increase
Knife crime is rising faster in the West Midlands than anywhere else in the country, as shock new figures revealed the scale of the crisis in the region.
Offences involving a knife rose by more than 500 in the year to September 2019 to 3,649.
That figure is three times the total in 2014/15, showing there has been a massive spike in knife crime over the past five years.
The rate is rising even faster than London, where offences rose by around 250.
The West Midlands remains second only to the capital for knife offences.
A wave of stabbings in Birmingham are partly responsible for the surge, but there have also been dozens of attacks in the Black Country.
There have been a series of stabbings over recent weeks.
A man lost sight in one eye after being knifed outside The Beeches pub in Great Barr in December.
Earlier this month a man was stabbed as a group of men stole his car from outside high-rise flats in Brierley Hill.
In contrast, crime in Staffordshire was down.
West Midlands’ Labour Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) David Jamieson said the sobering statistics were evidence of the need for increased long-term funding for forces and more support for young people, which he said had been “devastated over recent years”.
But Eddie Hughes, Conservative MP for Walsall North, said it was time for Mr Jamieson to resign as he slammed his record on tackling crime.
The latest figures come on the back of a £1 billion police funding announcement by the Government following Boris Johnson’s election victory, of which around £50 million is expected to be diverted to West Midlands Police.
Mr Jamieson, however, says this will not go far enough. Crime rose across the board in the 12 months to September 2019.
Overall crime was up seven per cent. There were big increases in other types of violent crime.
Violence against the person went up 27 per cent, while violence with injury went up 11 per cent and violence without injury 36 per cent. Robberies rose by 13 per cent and sexual offences by 12 per cent. There was, however, a drop in burglaries, which fell by six per cent.
Knife offences fell in Staffordshire, from 686 to 623. Overall crime in the county was down four per cent.
Violence against the person offences remained roughly the same while violence with injury fell by 14 per cent.
Violence without injury offences rose by two per cent.
The number of sexual offences, robberies and burglaries all fell in Staffordshire.
Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan called for the Government to take “urgent action” to “break the spiral of violence” as the data showed knife crime was up seven per cent nationally.
Mr Jamieson insisted efforts were being made to try and halt the alarming rise in knife crime.
A Violence Reduction Unit has been launched which will include educational talks in schools in a bid to get the message through to young people about the dangers of gangs and crime. The police chief has also persistently called on schools to limit the number of permanent exclusions.
But MP Eddie Hughes said the PCC, who is standing for re-election in May, had not done enough on crime.
“David Jamieson has been the Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands since 2014 but I doubt the public could name a single contribution he has made to dealing with crime in our region,” he said.
“He should just go quietly and let the next PCC deal with the mess he’s made.”