Children as young as seven caught bringing knives into Norfolk's schools
Children as young as seven have been caught carrying knives in Norfolk schools, as the number of pupils found with blades triples in two years.
Police figures show there were 30 incidents where pupils were found carrying knives in the county's schools in the 2017/18 academic year - up from nine in 2015/16.
Children aged seven and eight were among those caught, with 14-year-olds accounting for the largest number of pupils found with bladed weapons last year.
Inspector Bex Brown, from Norfolk police, said officers from the Safer Schools Partnership have been working to educate young people about the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife.
She said: "Last year we launched a short weapons film, which has been shown in every high school across Norfolk and is available to view on social media."
It comes as the number of crimes involving knives or bladed weapons in Norfolk jumped from 550 offences in 2017 to 643 last year. This year alone has seen the stabbing of a 16-year-old boy, who was attacked by a gang of youths in Old Catton in March.
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And on Wednesday evening, June 26, a man was stabbed in Great Yarmouth during a fight involving 20 people.
Nationally, knife crime reached a record level in 2018 in England and Wales, with 40,829 offences involving knives or sharp objects recorded by police.
Insp Brown said: "Norfolk does not have a big knife crime problem but we have seen the impact knife crime can have on victims, their families and the wider community.
"We want young people to think about making the right choices as those choices could ultimately end a life or save a life."
Last year, 10 incidents were recorded where pupils were caught carrying knives in schools in Norwich - the highest number for the county.
Broadland and South Norfolk had the lowest number of incidents, with two reported in each district over the same period.
A year earlier in 2016/17, the overall number of incidents across Norfolk's schools stood at 27.
Keith Anderson, teachers' union NASUWT's regional organiser for the East of England, said: "The figures for the eastern region are not huge, but what has been very clear is that there has been a growing concern amongst our members about student behaviour in general. "