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Offensive Weapons

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people under the age of 18 years were the victim of knife crime in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years. (210726)

The following table outlines the number of recorded violent crimes where a knife was used for victims under the age of 18 years for 2003-04 to 2007-08.

A number of initiatives have been introduced since the last amnesty and are now in operation across Northern Ireland to reduce the level of knife crime. PSNI have rolled out the use of metal detectors and also introduced a stop and search policy. New legislation has been introduced to make it more difficult to obtain knives by raising the minimum age limit for purchase to 18. Last month, it became illegal in Northern Ireland to manufacture, sell, hire or import samurai swords. The recent Criminal Justice (NI) Order contains powers which double the penalties for possessing a knife in public and also for selling/manufacturing/marketing knives to under 18’s.

Knife disposal bins have been retained on site at civic amnesty locations and PSNI education officers continue to raise awareness in schools on a number of key issues, including the dangers of carrying a knife.

Number of violent crimes where a knife was involved in the incident and where the victim was under 18 2003-04 to 2007-081,2,3

Number

2003-04

104

2004-05

65

2005-06

97

2006-07

84

2007-08

101

1 Data are provisional and may be subject to revision.

2 The figures relate to offences where a knife was involved in the incident—it is not known how the knife was actually used.

3 Figures have been provided only in relation to violent crime. Analysis of crime by age of victim is routinely carried out for violent crime offences (offences against the person, sexual offences and robbery) and also for domestic burglary offences. Analysis by age of victim for other crime types is not carried out, as the number of records where the victim age is not available is too high to allow analysis to be meaningful. A small proportion of data are missing for each of the listed years.

Source:

Central Statistics Unit, PSNI

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many crimes involving a knife took place in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years, broken down by local authority area. (210741)

The following table outlines the number of recorded crimes involving a knife broken down by district council area for 2003-04 to 2007-08.

Number of offences where a knife was involved in the incident by district council area 2003-04 to 2007-081,2

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Antrim

23

35

31

16

35

Ards

23

22

39

24

41

Armagh

14

10

17

13

20

Banbridge

9

13

8

8

14

Belfast

355

354

435

373

303

Ballymena

42

43

43

41

47

Ballymoney

8

10

5

8

2

Carrickfergus

16

20

13

8

34

Coleraine

50

48

56

38

46

Cookstown

3

4

2

4

9

Craigavon

52

55

61

48

90

Castlereagh

22

9

27

20

11

Dungannon and South Tyrone

8

20

10

3

18

Down

32

29

27

30

18

Fermanagh

11

14

22

15

23

Foyle

54

67

68

63

70

Larne

21

17

14

16

17

Limavady

14

17

22

12

45

Lisburn

27

28

29

23

53

Magherafelt

4

0

1

4

9

Moyle

8

10

5

3

2

Newtownabbey

63

60

67

55

88

North Down

40

54

43

50

20

Newry and Mourne

49

47

58

63

21

Omagh

30

7

19

21

11

Strabane

7

8

8

9

15

Northern Ireland

985

1,001

1,130

968

1,062

1 Data are provisional and may be subject to revision.

2 The figures relate to offences where a knife was involved in the incident—it is not known how the knife was actually used.

Source:

Central Statistics Unit, PSNT

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions there have been in connection with knife-related crimes in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years. (210830)

The information is not available in the format requested. Court prosecution and conviction datasets do not contain background information in relation to the commission of an offence so it is not possible to separately identify the number of prosecutions and convictions for offences such as murder in which a knife was involved. It is only possible to provide prosecution and conviction statistics for those offences which, in their definition, refer to an ‘offensive weapon’ (of which knives will be one sub-category) or ‘article with blade or point’.

These are:

Armed with offensive weapon with intent to commit offence.

Possessing offensive weapon in public place.

Possessing article with blade or point in public place.

Possessing instrument with intent to commit an offence.

Possessing article with blade or point on school premises.

Possessing offensive weapon on school premises.

Prosecution and conviction data documented in the following table cover the calendar years 2002-06 (the latest available years) and are collated on the principal offence rule; so only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.

Prosecutions and convictions for offensive weapons 2002-06

Prosecutions

Convictions

2002

198

161

2003

236

179

2004

211

181

2005

264

209

2006

317

242

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many victims of knife crime in Northern Ireland there were in each of the last five years. (210831)

The data are not available in the format requested. The following table outlines the number of assaults where a knife was involved between 2003-04 and 2007-08.

Number of assaults recorded where a knife was involved in the incident 2003-04 to 2007-081, 2, 3

Assaults where knife involved

2003-04

292

2004-05

272

2005-06

320

2006-07

260

2007-08

423

1 Data are provisional and may be subject to revision.

2 The figures relate to offences where a knife was involved in the incident—it is not known how the knife was actually used.

3 The assault figures include offences of wounding with intent, GBH with intent, wounding, GBH, AOABH, aggravated assault, common assault and assault on police. The data include offences where no injury was sustained.

Source:

Central Statistics Unit, PSNI