Number of under 16s caught in possession of a weapon in Norfolk more than doubles
PUBLISHED: 06:30 27 January 2020 | UPDATED: 07:42 27 January 2020
The number of young people who have been caught with weapons in Norfolk has more than doubled in the last three years.
A Freedom of Information request has revealed the number of recorded crimes for possession of a weapon involving under 16s increased by 105pc - from 44 to 90 - between 2016 and 2019.
But police say the public "should not be alarmed" and have put the rise down to more preventative measures.
The figures reveal Norwich and Great Yarmouth had the most recorded cases of young people - both suspects and offenders - who have been caught with a weapon.
Superintendent Terry Lordan, district commander for Norwich, said: "From my perspective we have seen an increase in people found with offensive weapons because our new policing model sees us use more stop and searches and we react to community intelligence.
"Don't be alarmed by the increase but feel reassured that we are taking preventative measures.
"We also have seen increase of 38 neighbourhood policing officers who are driven by community intelligence and engagement.
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"Also, we work with increasing key partnership relationships and our officers work within schools and have links with local schools.
"But knife crimes aren't just police related issues there are other issues in society that also needs to be addressed."
The figures revealed that all crimes committed by under 16s across the county has risen by nearly 7pc, with violence against a person the most recorded crime, with a total of 1,851 records in 2019. It is an increase of 26pc on the 2016 figure.
King's Lynn and West Norfolk saw the biggest increase, as crimes recorded more than doubled between 2016 and 2018, before falling again in 2019.
Chief superintendent Dave Marshall said: "In certain categories of crime, the increase will be partly due to the proactive approach taken by the constabulary in tackling those issues, particularly around county lines.
"We are working to increase the confidence of victims to come forward and report a crime to us is another factor - something we would always encourage.
"The recording of crimes in Norfolk has significantly improved since changes were introduced to the National Crime Recording Standards in 2015 - this accounts for some of the increases we can see in reported crimes since then."