‘Depressing’ increase in knife-crime reoffenders across county

The number of knife-crime thugs in Lincolnshire who reoffend has increased.
The number of knife-crime thugs in Lincolnshire who reoffend has increased.

The number of knife-crime thugs in Gainsborough and the rest of Lincolnshire who reoffend has increased by almost half over the last three years.

New data from the Ministry of Justice reveals that the county’s police convicted or cautioned 198 people in the 12 months to September 2018. This was either for possession of a knife as a weapon or for threatening someone with a blade.

Of those people, 55, or 28 per cent, had at least one previous offence for carrying a knife, and seven had three or more similar previous offences.

These figures have shot up since 2014/15 when 36 of those successfully prosecuted had reoffended, the statistics show.

The increase has been described as “deeply depressing” by Patrick Green, chief executive of the anti-knife charity, the Ben Kinsella Trust, who is now calling for a different approach to knife crime.

Mr Green believes enforcement alone cannot prevent knife crime and believes it is time to work with other organisations to tackle the underlying causes.

Mr Green said: “These figures indicate we cannot rely solely on prison if we are going to tackle the small, but significant, number of habitual reoffenders.

“These are people who are stuck in a spiral of violent crime.”

Across England and Wales, the number of re-offenders has risen by 35 per cent over the last three years.

Mr Green continued: “It is time we treated knife crime as a public health issue, which is beginning to be adopted in some parts of the country. This will stop the next generation of youngsters getting caught in the cycle.

“It won’t work immediately but, given time, as we have seen in Glasgow and US cities, it can be successful if it’s properly funded.”

Overall, Lincolnshire police took action against five per cent fewer people for knife offences in 2017/18, compared with the previous 12 months.

A total of 61 offenders were sent to prison, while 46 were given community orders and 12 received a caution. Eight children were charged with knife offences, which was a 43 per cent drop on 2014/15.