More criminals are being cautioned or convicted for knife and offensive weapons crimes in West Mercia, as the number of offences dealt with nationally hit a record high last year.

Ministry of Justice statistics show that criminals were cautioned or sentenced for knife and offensive weapons offences in West Mercia on 294 occasions in the year to September 2019 – up from 269 the previous year.

But this was still much lower than the 419 cautions and convictions in 2009, when records began.

Across England and Wales, the number of cautions and convictions for such offences hit a record high of almost 22,300.

The figure includes possession of, or threatening with, a knife or other offensive weapon.

Justice minister Chris Philp said the Government is recruiting 20,000 more police officers, extending stop and search and making sure the most violent offenders spend longer behind bars.

He added: “These figures should serve as a stark warning to those carrying knives – you are more likely to be jailed, and for longer, than at any point in the last decade.”