Page last updated at 09:19 GMT, Monday, 11 August 2008 10:19 UK

Knife charges down 50% since 2004

1,445 knives have been seized since May

The number of people charged with possessing a knife in London has fallen by 50% in the past four years, police figures have shown.

New Metropolitan Police (Met) figures show that in 2004, 2,810 people were charged with possession of a knife or bladed article.

But in the 12 months to April this year the number fell to 1,361.

The Met expects more people to be charged with knife-related crimes since an operation, Blunt 2, began in May.

A Met Police spokesman said since it began, officers had conducted 48,869 stop-and-searches, seized 1,445 knives, carried out more than 340 metal detector gate operations and arrested more than 2,000 people.

'Major improvements'

A Met Police spokesman said: "Tackling knife crime is a top priority for the Met with enforcement activity taking place across the capital every day under Operation Blunt 2, which was launched in May.

"As a result more people are being arrested and charged for carrying knives. Since the beginning of April this year, 1187 people (887 adults and 300 youths) have been charged with possession of a knife or sharp instrument.

"That represents 88% of all of those arrested for this offence. The MPS is making major improvements in charging people caught carrying knives with the charge rate having risen to over 90% in recent weeks.

"The Met will continue to monitor its performance and will maintain a positive charging policy to deter people from carrying knives on the streets of London.

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