The number of offenders punished for carrying a knife has fallen by almost a quarter, according to new figures.
A total of 5,300 people were dealt with by police and the courts in the first quarter of this year, 22% less than the 6,800 in the same period last year.
The number of offenders punished for carrying a knife has fallen by almost a quarter, figures reveal.
The change was most marked among young people where 1,000 offenders were punished, compared with 1,400 last year, a decrease of 30%. Meanwhile, the proportion of offenders receiving cautions fell from 25% to 21% as 1,100 crimes were dealt with in this manner. A similar proportion of criminals were jailed immediately (19%/1,000 offences), a slight fall on the 2009 figures.
The Ministry of Justice figures apply to police forces and courts in England and Wales between January 1 and March 31.
Tougher sentences were introduced for offences involving the possession of a knife in May 2008.
Senior judges said magistrates should look to their toughest powers when dealing with knife carriers because of the high rate of such crimes.
Adults caught holding a knife were told to expect a three-month prison sentence, although a guilty plea and other mitigation could lead to a lesser punishment.
The changes were made in response to a wave of knife crime and stabbings, particularly among young people in big cities.
The Government designated 16 forces including Essex, Manchester, Nottinghamshire and British Transport Police, as knife-crime action areas.
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