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Gun and knife offences soar in West Norfolk

By Lynn News Reporter

The number of people caught with guns and knives in West Norfolk has increased by more than 50 per cent, according to the latest police recorded crime statistics.

There were 95 weapon possession offences in the 12 months to March 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics. These can include hand guns, knives and even corrosive acid.

That figure is up 56 per cent on 2017-18, when 61 incidents were recorded.

There were 95 weapon possession offences in the 12 months up to March 2019 across West Norfolk
There were 95 weapon possession offences in the 12 months up to March 2019 across West Norfolk

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

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.

“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.”

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

Over the period, 9,427 crimes were recorded, up nine per cent on 2016-17.

That means there was a rate of 62 crimes per 1,000 residents during 2018-19, below the England and Wales average of 89.

Chief Constable Andy Cooke, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said there were concerning increases nationally, 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 priority. Tackling the causes of violence needs a united effort across government and society.”

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, said: “These figures come as no surprise and rightly cause alarm bells. For far too long, crime and policing has not been taken seriously enough.

“This should be the priority of the new government which should be determined to protect the safety and security of everyone in the country.”

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