Ten-year-olds with knives and teenagers with machetes - police reveal the number of children caught carrying weapons in Sunderland
Children as young as 10 have been caught by police carrying knives in Sunderland.
Figures released by Northumbria Police under a Freedom of Information request show that 164 children were found to be carrying weapons over the last five and a half years in Sunderland.
From 2014 to 2019 police have recorded how children have been discovered carrying the likes of machetes, firearms, knives, swords and air weapons.
Police say they are committed to tackling the issue and work in schools to highlight the dangers of carrying weapons.
As many as five children aged 10 to 12 were found carrying knives from 2014 to 2019, with a total of 33 youngsters found with the weapon in that period.
One knife was discovered in a night club and two knives were found in Sunderland schools over the five and a half years.
Other knives were found in dwellings, on a grass verge, at a quarry, and on the street.
While a total of 10 machetes were found on youngsters aged 16 to 18, both on the street and in dwellings from 2014 to 2019.
And children as young as 13 have been found with air weapons in the city, with a total of eight youngsters aged from 13 to 18 found with the weapon in that same period.
One air weapon was found at a school, while the remaining were found on the street and in a field.
In the same time period a total of five girls aged 13 to 18 were charged for carrying an offensive weapon.
While a total of 73 boys aged 13 to 18 were charged for carrying an offensive weapon.
But figures show how the number of youngsters caught with weapons in Sunderland has fallen from 2014 to 2019.
In 2014 a total of 39 children were caught carrying offensive weapons, while in the first half of 2019 that figure had fallen to just 17 children.
Northumbria Police welcomed the reduction and said they are working to educate young people in schools about the dangers of carrying weapons.
Chief Inspector Sam Rennison, of Northumbria Police, said: “As a force, we are committed to cutting crime and protecting the communities we serve.
“We do a lot of work within schools to educate young people, parents and staff about the dangers of carrying weapons, and it is encouraging that the figures suggest our message is being heard.
“This work regularly leads to disclosures and intelligence received from inside the school community, which our officers can then act upon.
“We will continue to work closely with schools and partners to keep people safe and offer reassurance to the communities we serve.”