Met police
File photo: Metropolitan police officer iStock

There has been a marked increase in knife possession offences in the UK since last year, with the overall number of people cautioned or convicted rising to its highest level in over five years.

New figures from the Ministry of Justice show that at 5,184 were 11% more knife possession offences dealt with by the criminal justice system in the first three months of 2017 than during the same period in 2016.

The MoJ said this is an increase over the "majority of police force areas" and it was the highest number since the third quarter of 2011.

However there was a drop in the percentage of adult offenders, which was down 7%, which the Ministry of Justice said was now at the lowest rate since the figures first began.

Knife possession offence numbers had been declining between 2007 and 2014 but in 2015, that trend turned around.

A larger number of offenders were given an immediate custodial sentence too, with the rate for adult offenders 20% higher than in 2008 while the number of adult offenders given cautions dropped 24% in the same timeframe.

According to the Times, the Office for National Statistic said there were "genuine increases" but that the rise was in part because of better recording practices.