Page last updated at 13:15 GMT, Monday, 30 March 2009 14:15 UK

Huge rise in child knife victims

Knife
The rise in child knife victims is worse in London

There has been a 120% rise in the number of children admitted to London hospitals suffering knife injuries, figures from an MP have shown.

Justine Greening MP said NHS figures show there had been 34 emergency hospital admissions of children aged under 16 with stab wounds in 2003/04.

This figure rose to 75 admissions in 2007/08.

The latest figures from the Metropolitan Police show a 12% drop in knife crime in the capital.

The records, obtained by the Conservative MP for Putney in London, also show more teenagers aged between 16 and 18 are suffering knife wounds in the capital, with hospital admissions up from 129 in 2003/04 to 238 in 2007/08 - an 84% rise.

Knife crime 'under-reported'

The increases in London are far higher than the national average, which shows an 80% rise in under-16 victims and a 41% increase in 16- to 18-year-old victims.

The MP, who is the shadow minister for London, told BBC London: "We all know of the tragic cases where people actually die from their wounds, but for every one of those there are up to 14 cases where teenagers are going to hospital for treatment but perhaps not going it to police.

"The figure show why tackling youth crime, and in particular knife crime, is fundamental for our capital and keeping the streets safe."

Last May, the Metropolitan Police began Operation Blunt 2 which used metal detectors to fight knife crime and stopped people using powers under Section 60 of the Public Order Act, which allows them to search targets under the presumption of reasonable suspicion.

As of 9 March 2009, officers had carried out 245,152 searches, arrested 8,527 people and seized 4,723 knives, as a part of the operation.

Police have also set up a 75-strong taskforce to target London gangs and knife crime, in which officers can be rapidly deployed to potential trouble-spots in the worst affected areas of London.



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