The report is released by the Ministry of Justice and produced in accordance with arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.
The publication contains key statistics describing trends in cautioning and sentencing, probation supervision and the prison population for offences involving the possession of a knife or offensive weapon in England and Wales. As in the previous edition published 7 March 2013, these statistics now include estimates of the number and type of disposal given for possession of a knife or offensive weapon in the most recent 4 quarters. These estimates provide a much more accurate indication of outcomes for those found guilty of possessing a knife or offensive weapon.
Also included in this bulletin for the first time are the recently introduced offences of aggravated possession of a knife or offensive weapon. These are included in their own separate table and are not included in other totals to ensure consistent comparisons.
Main findings – Q1 2013
In Q1 2013, 3,793 disposals were given for possession of a knife or an offensive weapon, 21 per cent lower than in Q1 2012. The latest result continues the downward trend for the number of cautions or convictions given for these offences over the last four years.
The most common methods of disposal for possession of a knife or an offensive weapon were an immediate custodial sentence (28 per cent) followed by a community sentence (27 per cent). This is the first quarter where a custodial sentence was the most common disposal.
The proportion of adults receiving a caution remained the same while the proportion of juvenile offenders receiving reprimands and warning decreased compared to Q4 2011.
- In Q1 2013, 18 per cent (678) of all possession offences resulted in a caution in England and Wales; compared to 19 per cent (915) in Q1 2012.
- In Q1 2013, 27 per cent (1,015) of all possession offences resulted in community sentences; compared to 30 per cent (1,418) in Q1 2012.
- In Q1 2013, 15 per cent (577) of all possession offences resulted in suspended sentence orders; compared to 13 per cent (628) Q1 2012.
- In Q1 2013, 28 per cent (1,077) of all possession offences resulted in immediate custody; compared to 26 per cent (1,268) Q1 2012.
The bulletin is produced and handled by the ministry’s analytical professionals and production staff. Pre-release access of up to 24 hours is granted to the following persons:
Ministry of Justice Secretary of State, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Permanent Secretary, Policy advisers for Sentencing Policy and Penalties Unit, Head of the Community Sentences and Interventions in Youth Justice Policy Unit, Policy lead for Out of Court Disposals, Policy advisers for Out of Court Disposals, and relevant press officers and special advisers.
Home Office: Minister of State, Home Secretary, Head of Violent Crime Unit, Principle Research Officer - Alcohol and Violence, Senior Research Officer - Alcohol and Violence, Policy lead for Crime Strategy and Crime Statistics, and relevant press officers and special advisers.
Cabinet Office: Special advisers to the Prime Minister