Birmingham & Black Country

Knife crime down by 25% in West Midlands

Knife crime in the West Midlands has fallen by a quarter, according to new police figures.

West Midlands Police said knife-related offences had fallen from 2,995 between April 2011 and 2012 to 2,237 during the following 12 month period.

It had received £1m from the government over two years to tackle the problem.

The force said incidents like the fatal stabbings of two Big Issue sellers and teenager Christina Edkins in Birmingham were "mercifully rare".

Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe described the figures as "promising."

She said the force had dealt with a number of "terrible" knife crimes in the past few months including the fatal stabbing of Christina on a bus in in March but she said these incidents should be "viewed in context".

"Crimes involving knives are down massively in the last decade and are now mercifully rare," she said.

"It's easy to read about such terrible crimes and believe crime is on the up but in reality crime is down and down considerably."

'Worrying'

The force had received £1m from the government's Communities Against Gun, Gangs and Knives project over two years but funding finished last month.

Birmingham charity Brap, which is working to tackle knife crime in the city, received £10,000 from that fund which it used to help young people who had been in trouble with the police.

Joy Warmington, from Brap, said the Home Office had not indicated whether it would receive any more funding.

"It has left us with a challenge because the scheme has got momentum and trust and it's going to be hard to pull back from it," she said.

"If we're not offering young people alternatives, we're not giving them a way of getting out of the problems of crime and given that youth funding is being cut too, it is worrying."

The Home Office said although police figures showed knife crime was down it was not complacent.

West Midlands Police figures showed that overall crime had fallen by 11% from April 2012 to March 2013 compared to the previous 12-month period with reductions in business crime, burglary and robbery.

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