Published: 14:30, 27 July 2020
| Updated: 14:45, 27 July 2020
Here is the truth behind Kent's new annual crime statistics.
The county saw a significant decrease in knife crime from March 2019 to March this year, but also saw a spike in drugs offences and the more general weapons offences.
Data from the Office for National Statistics showed offences involving a blade dropped by 226 cases - the first time it has fallen in a decade.
This time last year knife crime had rocketed by 152% in eight years - the biggest increase in England. While this year's figure is lower than 2017/18 and 2019/20 it is still the third highest in the past decade.
Figures also demonstrated drugs offences and crimes involving a weapon had jumped by a quarter in 12 months, with the former increasing by 27% and the latter 25%.
The number of crimes hasn't been affected by the coronavirus pandemic as they were recorded pre-lockdown.
Kent Police say it is proud of the reduction in knife offences, and put it down to regularly taking part in the national Operation Sceptre - a campaign which aims to reduce knife crime.
"Knife crime here will not be tolerated."
Deputy Chief Constable Tony Blaker said: "This reduction in reports of knife crime is testament to the hard work of our officers in taking a zero-tolerance approach to knives and weapons in our communities
"Our officers are committed to tacking knife crime and removing dangerous weapons such as knives from our communities. This is done through targeted enforcement action and effective educational interventions in the community.
"We feel that the message is getting through to people that if you choose to carry a knife in Kent, even if you feel it's for your own protection, you are likely to get arrested, prosecuted and will receive a tough punishment.
"Kent is a safe county and we plan to keep it that way so our message is simple; knife crime here will not be tolerated."
In total, crime in the county was down by 5%, with drops of more than 10% in stalking and harassment, death or serious injury through unlawful driving, burglary, bicycle theft and public order offences.
However, there were increases of more than 10% in theft from a person and shoplifting.
Speaking about the overall drop in crime figures, Kent's Police and crime commissioner Matthew Scott added: "This is great news.
"Behind every crime is a victim, which means nearly 9,400 fewer victims. We are seeing the work of the last few years really bearing fruit.
"Thanks to money raised through local council tax, Kent Police has embarked on a transformational recruitment campaign.
"We now have around 550 more officers than when I was elected and the force is on course to soon be bigger than it has ever been.
"Some of those officers have joined the chief constable’s Crime Squad which has been targeting burglars and violent criminals who seek to do harm in our communities.
"Hundreds of offenders have been charged and then sent to prison as a result of the Crime Squad’s work."