Hampshire crimes involving blades have more than doubled since 2013. It’s suffered the fifth biggest increase of all counties in England and Wales in a police dataset which excluded London and Manchester.
Southampton follows Portsmouth in having the second most knife possession and attack offences in the County. Southampton MP Alan Whitehead says: “Young people increasingly are feeling the need to be tooled up for their own defence” adding, “I suppose it is difficult to tell someone not to carry a knife when they’re worried that other people are carrying knives.”
Winchester MP Steve Brine says: “Does Winchester have a problem with knife crime? No. We don’t want it to do” adding, “but people here travel to London for work or to see their family and they see what’s unfolding there. We’ve got to tackle this in the capital before it spreads back into the county towns.”
Knives are the most common weapon used in offences nationally and make up a third of all homicides in the year ending 2017, a government taskforce says.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has proposed more stop-and-search checks to combat rising knife crime, and the government has pledged £460m of new police funding this year, the Autumn budget reveals.