Rise in number of people in Mansfield caught with knives and guns

Rise in number of people in Mansfield caught with knives and guns
Rise in number of people in Mansfield caught with knives and guns

The number of people caught with guns and knives in Mansfield has increased by a third, according to the latest police recorded crime statistics.

There were 124 weapons possession offences in the 12 months to March 2019, according to data by the Office for National Statistics. These can include hand guns, knives and even corrosive acid.

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That figure is up 33 per cent on 2017-18, when 93 incidents were recorded.

The statistics are based on crimes reported to the police, and the ONS urges caution in interpreting some of these figures.

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However, statisticians said that recorded crime figures are reliable for lower volume offences, such as possession of a knife or a gun.

Mark Bangs, from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: "The picture of crime is a complex one.

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"For example, overall levels of violence have remained steady but we have seen increases in violent crimes involving knives and sharp instruments.

"We have seen increases in fraud and overall theft, but decreases in burglary following recent rises.”

Across England and Wales there was an 8 per cent increase in offences with knives or sharp objects, to 43,516 – the highest since records began.

Overall, police recorded crime in Mansfield increased in the 12 months to March 2019.

Over the period, 12,008 crimes were recorded, up by 17 per cent on 2016-17.

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That means there is a crime for at least one in every 10 residents in Mansfield, well above average for England and Wales.

There were 449 residential burglaries reported in Mansfield. Due to a change in how the ONS categorises burglaries, the localised figure cannot be compared with other years.

There have been two homicides, which are murders or manslaughters. There was one case of death or injury by dangerous driving.

Across England and Wales, the number of recorded homicides rose by 14 per cent , to the highest level since 2008. These figures excluded people who died in terror attacks.

Theft, one of the most high volume crimes, increased by seven per cent. Drugs related offences rose by 26 per cent .

Commenting on the national figures, Chief Constable Andy Cooke, of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said there were increases in concerning areas, including violent crime involving knives, fraud and theft.

He said: "Greater confidence to report crime and changes to crime recording contribute to some of the increases but many are real rises.

“Additional temporary funding from government has enabled forces to do more to suppress violence by increasing targeted patrols and stop and search.

"Bringing down violence will continue to be a top police priority. Tackling the causes of violence needs a united effort across government and society."

Criminal damage in Mansfield, which includes arson and vandalising cars and houses, has gone up, from 1,382 incidents in 2017-18, to 1,467 in the latest figures.

While violence with injury, which includes assault, GBH and wounding, has risen, this could be due to improved police recording.

Similarly sexual offences are hard to judge as many more victims are now coming forward due to a series of high profile cases.

In Mansfield, there were 435 incidents recorded between April 2018 and March 2019, a 22 per cent rise on the previous year, when 358 crimes were reported.

There were also 1,087 cases of stalking and harassment reported over the same period.

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, commented: "These figures come as no surprise and rightly cause alarm bells.

"For far too long, crime and policing has not been taken seriously enough.

"To make a real impact on our operational performance we need thousands of new officers.

"This should be the priority of the new Government which should be determined to protect the safety and security of everyone in the country."

Chief Inspector Kathryn Craner, of Nottinghamshire Police, said the increase in weapon possession could in part be due to a number of proactive operations in the Mansfield area.

"Nottinghamshire Police is committed to tackling weapon-enabled violence and our proactive approach means we are more likely to catch people if they choose to carry a weapon. The more people we catch the fewer weapons there are on the streets.

"We will always take the opportunity to identify people who may be in possession of weapons and take action to get those weapons off the streets. We have recently run a number of operations in Mansfield utilising the knife arch with some positive results.

"People can also be assured that we will always act on information from the public about people who are believed to be in possession of knives.

"The force has also recently been given £1.54m by the Home Office to tackle knife crime and the whole force, including Mansfield, will benefit from an additional surge of activity including conducting plain-clothes and high-visibility operations in an effort to educate members of the public of the dangers of carrying knives but also take positive action around those found in possession of a weapon.

"But enforcement is just one side of our approach to tackling weapon-enabled violence. We have also introduced Schools and Early Intervention Officers to deliver knife crime training within the schools to raise awareness and for educational purposes to try to prevent people becoming involved in violence in the first place."

Ch Insp Craner added that house burglaries have dropped by seven per cent across the force in the year to March 2019.

This follows the introduction of Burglary Teams in April 2018, who are dedicated to tackling this type of crime across the city and county, and part of their work involves identifying patterns and trends and targeting resources accordingly.

Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire's Police and Crime Commissioner said: “The force is working hard to combat violence and knife-related crime with the help of increased more resources, proactive intelligence-led policing and targeted stop and search. That’s why we are really pleased to see these rising weapon-possession figures as they show that the work to tackle this type of problem is delivering positive results.”