Fewer being sentenced for knife crime in our area

Anti-knife crime charity the Ben Kinsella Trust said further investment in the court system is needed to help it keep up with rising knife crime across the England and Wales.

Ministry of Justice figures show 99 offenders in Avon and Somerset were given an immediate sentence in the year to September – accounting for 28% of knife crime offenders who went through the criminal justice system.

This was down on the proportion of offenders handed an immediate sentence in 2020-21 (33%), and below the proportion two years prior (38%).

Overall, about 16% of the 351 offenders in Avon and Somerset who went through the criminal justice system were cautioned, 27% were given community sentences and 20% were suspended sentences.

Across England and Wales, nearly 19,400 knife and offensive weapon offences were formally dealt with – a decrease of 5% since the year ending September 2021.

This is despite separate figures showing an 11% increase in knife crime over the course of the same period.

Patrick Green, Ben Kinsella Trust chief executive, said the figures show a difference between recorded knife crime and the number of offences that finally make it into court.

“They also show that there is now a higher likelihood that a knife crime offender will be served with a suspended sentence rather than go to jail for their crime,” he added.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “More criminals caught carrying a knife are being sent to jail for longer than they were a decade ago thanks to the decisive action of this Government to protect the public and make our streets safer.

“Our recent changes to sentencing mean repeat knife offenders are now more likely to face jail and the extra 20,000 police officers we are recruiting will help bring more criminals to justice.”

The data shows 69% of offenders in Avon and Somerset last year had no previous convictions or cautions, 19% had one, 7% had two and 5% had three or more.

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