More than 1,000 children have been caught carrying weapons in school over the last year, figures reveal.
The data, gathered by the Press Association, was branded ‘grim but unsurprising’ by schools leaders yesterday.
Weapons included knives, knuckle dusters, a hammer, and a Taser, with one 14-year-old found in possession of a sword.
More than 1,000 children have been caught carrying weapons in school over the last year, figures reveal. A stock photo is pictured above [File photo]
Figures from 29 police forces in England and Wales showed there were at least 1,072 incidents in the year to April 2019 – up from 831 in the previous 12 months.
Between April and August 2019, there were a further 311.
The figure is expected to be much higher considering several forces – including the Metropolitan Police – did not provide data.
Lucy Martindale, a youth worker from south London who lost 11 family and friends to murder, gun and knife crime during a seven-year period, said: ‘The situation is getting worse, even just this year.
Figures from 29 police forces in England and Wales showed there were at least 1,072 incidents in the year to April 2019 – up from 831 in the previous 12 months. Between April and August 2019, there were a further 311 [File photo]
‘Some young people I speak to say before they leave the house – where most people check they have picked up their keys and wallet or purse – they check they have their knives with them.
‘There needs to be more collaborative action – not just government, but the community as a whole, parents, police, coming together and trying to come up with an answer.’
Knives, including lock-knives, pen knives and craft knives, were involved in 1,260 incidents across between April 2017 and summer 2019 – more than half of the incidents reported overall.
In one case, Dyfed Powys recorded an unidentified four-year-old who is said to have been in possession of an unnamed weapon.
They were unable to provide further details about the incident.
Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney, National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for children and young people, said: ‘Serious violence is a growing problem amongst young people and we continue to work closely with partners to address this.
‘Police involvement in schools, whether it be officers delivering talks or [being] based in schools themselves… helps us to educate young people and explain why carrying a weapon is never the right choice.’
Knives, including lock-knives, pen knives and craft knives, were involved in 1,260 incidents across between April 2017 and summer 2019 – more than half of the incidents reported overall [File photo]
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, argued that cuts to policing and local support services are fuelling problems with weapons in society.
He said: ‘These figures are grim but unsurprising and reflect a growing problem over the prevalence of weapons in wider society.
‘The scourge of weapons has grown worse in recent years, and while there are a number of complex factors involved, a key issue has been cuts in policing and local support services for vulnerable families.
‘Gangs have filled this vacuum and often pressure and groom young people into dealing drugs and carrying weapons.’
A Department for Education spokesman said: ‘Schools should be safe and disciplined environments for both pupils and teachers.
‘We recently announced a £10 million investment to establish behaviour hubs so that schools with a track record of effectively managing pupils’ behaviour can share what works with schools that need it.
‘We have strengthened teachers’ powers so they can take action if they suspect a pupil has brought a prohibited item, including knives, into schools.’