Rise in number of gun and knife seizures in Kettering

File picture of a working German handgun handed into Northamptonshire Police during their gun amnesty in 2014
File picture of a working German handgun handed into Northamptonshire Police during their gun amnesty in 2014

The number of people caught with guns and knives in Kettering has increased by more than a third, according to the latest police recorded crime statistics.

There were 94 weapons possession offences in the 12 months to September 2018, according to data by the Office for National Statistics. These can include hand guns, knives and even corrosive acid.

That figure is up 34% on 2016-17, when 70 incidents were recorded.

The statistics are based on crimes reported to the police, and the ONS urges caution in interpreting some of these figures.

However, statisticians said that recorded crime figures are reliable for lower volume offences, such as possession of a knife or a gun.

The rise was reflected nationally. Across England and Wales there was an 8% increase in offences with knives or sharp objects.

Helen Ross, from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: “In recent decades we’ve seen the overall level of crime falling, but in the last year, it remained level.

“Burglary, shoplifting and computer misuse are decreasing but others, such as vehicle offences and robbery are rising.

“We have also seen increases in some types of ‘lower-volume, high-harm’ violence including offences involving knives or sharp instruments.”

Overall, police recorded crime in Kettering slightly increased in the 12 months to September 2018.

Over the period, 7,721 crimes were recorded, up by 4% on 2016-17.

That means there was a rate of 77 crimes per 1,000 residents during 2017-18, slightly below the England and Wales average of 85.

There were 480 residential burglaries reported in Kettering. Due to a change in how the ONS categorises burglaries, the localised figure cannot be compared with other years.

There have been three homicides, which are murders or manslaughters.

Across England and Wales, the number of recorded homicides rose by 14%, to the highest level since 2008. These figures excluded people who died in terror attacks.

Theft, one of the most high volume crimes, decreased by 11%. Drugs related offences rose by 51%.

Commenting on the national figures, Chief Constable Bill Skelly, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “Rising crime, increased terrorist activity and fewer police officers have put serious strain on the policing we offer to the public.

“We are determining the additional capabilities and investment we need to drive down violence and catch more criminals - and we will make the case at the next Government Spending Review.”

Criminal damage in Kettering, which includes arson and vandalising cars and houses, has gone down, from 856 incidents in 2016-17, to 832 in the latest figures.

While violence with injury, which includes assault, GBH and wounding, has risen, this could be due to improved police recording.

Similarly sexual offences are hard to judge as many more victims are now coming forward due to a series of high profile cases.

In Kettering, there were 295 incidents recorded between October 2017 and September 2018, an 18% rise on the previous year, when 251 crimes were reported.

There were also 349 cases of stalking and harassment reported over the same period.

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, commented: “Society just isn’t as safe as it once was, and although the police service is doing everything within its power, we are swimming against the tidE.”