Knife crime on the rise

Knife crime is on the rise
Knife crime is on the rise

Knife crime is on the rise in Wigan, alarming new figures have shown.

The number of offensive weapon crimes in the borough has increased since hitting a low of 81 in 2013.

Owning an offensive weapon puts the owner and everyone around them at risk, including other members of the community and it is something that we will not tolerate - there is no justification for anyone to be carrying a knife as a weapon and so called ‘protection’ is not a lawful excuse

DCI Michael Fraser

In 2015, 118 offences were recorded involving a person possessing a knife or other offensive weapon, which can include any article with a blade or point, a drop from the 2014 figure of 123 but a rise of nearly 50 per cent from 2013.

The figures, revealed after a Freedom of Information Act request by the Wigan Evening Post, show the number of offences had been falling since 2010 when the figure stood at 121, but in the last two years the number has increased again.

The rise in figures coincides with a number of incidents in the borough which resulted in people suffering stab wounds.

On May 20, two men and a dog were stabbed at a house in Bryn and a month earlier on April 29 a man was stabbed in the chest on Crawford Street.

On March 31, two men were treated for stab wounds after police were called to a mass brawl on Gas Street, Platt Bridge. The trend is similar across most Greater Manchester boroughs, although Wigan and Salford are the only two areas where the figure in 2015 returned to a similar level as in 2010, with all others seeing an overall decrease in the five years.

In total, 1,727 offences were recorded by Greater Manchester Police in 2010, which dropped to 1,460 in 2015 an increase on a five-year low in 2013 of 1,196. The figures also show that the number of people being charged or cautioned as a result of these offences has dropped from 97 in 2010, to just 64 in 2015, despite the similar numbers of offences being committed. Of these, however, the majority were charged, with 70 charged in 2010, and 55 in 2015 and only 27 and nine being cautioned respectively.

The remaining outcomes include prosecution not being pursued as it was not in the public interest, because of insufficient evidence or it was dealt with by restorative justice.

The figures also show that the majority of people charged or cautioned for possessing an offensive weapon were men aged between 18 and 30 or 31 to 50 with only a handful of women committing offences in the past five years.

Det Chief Insp Michael Fraser, of Wigan police, said: “These figures reflect our commitment to getting offensive weapons off the streets of Wigan in order to keep everyone who lives here safe. In conjunction with our partners we will always seek to crack down on this type of criminality.

“Owning an offensive weapon puts the owner and everyone around them at risk, including other members of the community and it is something that we will not tolerate - there is no justification for anyone to be carrying a knife as a weapon and so called ‘protection’ is not a lawful excuse.

“If you know someone who carries an offensive weapon when they leave home you can report it to us on 101 or to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.”