Lancashire in top five in the UK for knife crime after 33% jump in offences
A 33% spike in knife crime recorded by Lancashire Constabulary puts the region in fifth place nationally.
Knife crime in Lancashire hit a record high in 2018/19, up 33% on the previous year, official figures show.
Police recorded 1,151 offences involving knives or sharp objects in the county in the year to March 2019, up from 867 in the previous twelve months.
The national figures, released on Thursday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), showed and 8% increase across the UK, as police recorded 43,516 offences.
Barnardo's chief executive Javed Khan said: "It's unacceptable that the knife crime crisis continues unabated with offences at record levels.
"Vulnerable children and young people are being recruited and exploited by criminal gangs and forced to traffic drugs and carry knives."
The figures mean that Lancashire Constabulary is dealing with the fifth highest spike in knife crime in the UK, behind the British Transport Police, Dyfed-Powys, Merseyside, and Suffolk forces.
Mark Bangs, from the ONS, said: "The picture of crime is a complex one. Overall levels of crime have remained steady, but this is not the case for all types of crime.
"For example, overall levels of violence have remained steady but we have seen increases in violent crimes involving knives and sharp instruments."
Lancashire Constabulary figures also show that the force has recorded the fifth highest number of knife crimes in the UK.
Policing minister Nick Hurd said: "While the chances of being a victim of crime remain low, we are deeply concerned that certain offences, including serious violence, have increased and we are taking urgent action.
"Police funding is increasing by more than £1 billion this year, including council tax and £100 million for forces worst affected by violent crime.
"I am encouraged to see officer numbers increasing, and that police and crime commissioners have committed to recruiting over 3,700 additional officers and staff this year.
"We are also acting to address the root causes of violence and stop young people being drawn into crime in the first place. This week we announced a new legal duty for public bodies to work together to prevent and tackle serious violence as part of our public health approach."
But the Reform think tank said simply putting more officers on the streets is not the answer to the knife crime epidemic.
Director Charlotte Pickles said: "The continuing rise in knife crime is tragic, but not surprising.
"Until politicians take seriously the need to invest in prevention alongside enforcement, more young people will continue to die on our cities' streets.
"Any increases in police numbers must be targeted and coupled with serious investment to tackle the lethal mix of poverty, school exclusion, poor mental health and drugs.
"It's astonishing that both Tory leadership candidates think that pledging thousands more bobbies is enough."