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Possession of guns and knives increases by more than a third in Dartford and Gravesend

The number of people caught with guns and knives in Dartford and Gravesham has increased by more than a third, according to the latest police recorded crime statistics.

There were 123 weapon possession offences between April 2017 and March 2018, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

These can include handguns, knives and even corrosive acid.

A man has been charged. Stock pic (3313147)
A man has been charged. Stock pic (3313147)

That figure is up 33.7% on 2016-17, when 92 incidents were recorded.

The statistics are based on crimes reported to the police, and the ONS urges caution in interpreting some of these figures.

Some offences go unreported while others may be more numerous due to a change in the focus of the police or greater public attention.

However, ONS spokesman Caroline Youell says that along with weapons offences, the number of stabbings and killings has generally gone up.

She said: “There have been increases in some lower-volume ‘high-harm’ offences such as homicide and knife crime, consistent with rises over the past three years.

“However, the latest rise in gun crime is much smaller than previously seen.”

“Too many lives are being shattered by these violent crimes.” - Alex Mayes, adviser for charity Victim Support

Across England and Wales there was a 16% increase in offences with knives or sharp objects and a 12% rise in homicides - murders and manslaughters - excluding charges from the Hillsborough disaster and terror attacks.

Adviser for charity Victim Support, Alex Mayes, said: “It’s truly shocking to see these rises in homicides and violent crime such as knife crime.

“While overall crime levels are generally stable, these increases in some high harm crimes are concerning.

“Too many lives are being shattered by these violent crimes.”

Overall, police recorded crime in Dartford and Gravesham increased significantly in 2017-18.

During the last year 24,365 crimes were recorded, up by 27% on 2016-17.

Police are investigating. Stock pic (3313139)
Police are investigating. Stock pic (3313139)

That means there was a rate of 114 crimes per 1,000 residents during 2017-18, above the England and Wales average of 82.

There were 1,194 residential burglaries reported in the borough. Due to a change in how the ONS categorises burglaries, the localised figure cannot be compared with other years.

There were six cases of death or injury by dangerous driving.

Theft, one of the most high volume crimes, has increased by 6%.

Drugs related offences rose by 15.6%.

Ms Youell added: “Most people don’t experience crime.

“The figures show a fairly stable picture in England and Wales for most crime types.

“We have seen continued increases in some theft offences such as vehicle-related theft and burglary, while computer viruses have fallen.”

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