Knives taken into West Midlands schools more than 650 times in five years

Knives were taken into schools in the West Midlands more than 650 times over the last five years, shocking new figures have revealed.

A total of 665 reports of pupils having a bladed or pointed article were made to the police in the region since 2017.

And worryingly, data suggest youths taking the deadly weapons into schools is an increasing trend.

Cops searching people as escalating violence sparks terror in Walsall residents

The number of kids being caught with knives rose every year until the pandemic and shot up again during 2021, in what are sure to be concerning statistics for police and education bosses.

Children were threatened 75 times with knives while at school over the last five years, while “offensive weapons” other than knives were taken into schools on 177 occasions.

Reports of knives being taken into schools peaked in 2019 at 165 before the pandemic which brought severe disruption to education. It meant the total dropped to 99 in 2020 before rising again to 158 last year – three times a week on average.

And those were only the incidents that were reported to police.

The number of pupils threatened with knives also peaked in 2021 at 28.

It comes after BirminghamLive recently revealed plans by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner to put officers in schools where there are concerns over crime and violence, amid serious fears children could be at risk.

Pre-pandemic figures showed knife crime was rising faster in the West Midlands than anywhere else in the country.

In November, it was claimed a pupil was threatened with a knife at Audley Primary School in Birmingham.

Councilor Chris Towe, education boss in Walsall, said it was ultimately the responsibility of headteachers to make sure children are safe in school.

He said: “Clearly it’s unacceptable. Anybody taking a knife into school needs to be dealt with swiftly. There is no reason it should happen. We can not have children in fear in school.

“It is the headteacher’s responsibility, and the governing body, that children are safe when they go into school.”

Councillor Towe believes increased educational police programs around knife crime could be key and said he would support increased use of knife arches, as has happened at some schools, if they were likely to make a big difference.

An “improvised weapon” was discovered during a knife arch check at a Sutton Coldfield school last year.

He said: “The police have a role. They can go into schools and talk about these things and what the consequences are.

“Knife crime has risen across the country, we are all aware a lot of young people are using knives.

“I would support anything that deals with the problem. If knife arches will help with the challenges then it’s something we need to consider.”

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