Investigation: What is the state of knife crime in North Yorkshire?

Data showed that over the past six years 19 children were found carrying a knife

Figures from a Johnston Press investigation into knife crime has revealed that Harrogate saw the highest number of school children caught with a weapon in the county last year.

North Yorkshire Police data showed that over the past six years 19 children were found carrying a knife and 39 cases of knife crime were recorded across North Yorkshire. Four of the five cases for possession and four of the 13 instances of knife crime from last year occurred in the district.

Despite a low level of offences being recorded in the county compared to the rest of Yorkshire NYP have said, they are not 'complacent to the offence.'

A spokesperson for NYP said: “Our Youth Officers work alongside partners, such as the Prevention Service and Youth Justice Service, to deliver preventative messages to young people throughout the region, to educate them about the devastation knife crime can cause and the severity with which these offences are dealt with at court.

"This work is carried out by working with schools, youth groups and individuals and educates young people on the law, the impact of knife crime on victims and the wider community and the consequences of carrying a knife.

“As a force we will also continue to support campaigns such as national weapons amnesties, to encourage those who want to dispose of knives to do so safely and anonymously. Previous amnesties have seen weapons such as swords, sheath knives and crossbows handed in. Every knife we retrieve is potentially a life saved.”

Across Yorkshire more than 320 pupils were found carrying a weapon since 2012, Harrogate and Scarborough however saw the highest number of offences out of all the districts in North Yorkshire.

These offences include robbery, burglary and three involving violence. Out of the county figures 15 were aged 14 and under.

North Yorkshire County Council's biennial 'Growing up in North Yorkshire' survey also includes questions to children on carrying weapons.

'Carrying weapons for protection' was recorded as increasing by five per cent across a two year period in 2016 in the answers given by pupils.

The following year in Harrogate this figure was recorded at 10 per cent, while the average for the county was recorded as six.

However the county council says the fears that young people have, leading to them taking weapons when they go out, is due to reports published in the media.

A North Yorkshire County Council Spokesperson said: "North Yorkshire is a very safe place to grow-up and to learn, much safer than the national average.

"Anecdotal evidence from young people we consult is that they are increasingly concerned about a threat to their safety because of reports they have seen on the media.

"The reality from the figures that we hold is that knife crime is still very rare and in each of the past five years most North Yorkshire communities have not experienced any knife crime at all."

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