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Children as young as six found with bladed weapons at school

Youngsters found with knives on school premises are immune from prosecution because of their age.

Young children are being caught with knives at school but cannot be prosecuted because of their age, an investigation has found (Posed by model/Katie Collins/PA)
Young children are being caught with knives at school but cannot be prosecuted because of their age, an investigation has found (Posed by model/Katie Collins/PA)

By Ryan Hooper and Alison Kershaw, PA

Young children are being caught with weapons at school but are immune from being taken to court because of their age, an investigation has found.

Children as young as six were allegedly found with a bladed weapon on school premises in West Mercia, police said, while Warwickshire Police said a nine-year-old was accused of carrying a similar weapon on site.

Dorset Police said a nine-year-old was involved in a similar incident.

The data, released under Freedom of Information laws, comes a week after a PA news agency investigation disclosed that thousands of children had been caught carrying weapons in school since April 2017.

Dorset, Warwickshire, West Mercia Police, who released their figures after the original investigation into forces across England and Wales, found there were 30, 45 and 74 incidents respectively where people were accused of carrying and/or threatening another person with an offensive weapon or blade on school premises over the last two-and-a-half years.

In total, four pupils under the age of 10 in West Mercia, one from Dorset and one from Warwickshire were accused of weapons-related offences at school, but none could be prosecuted because of their age.

This included a nine-year-old from West Mercia allegedly found in possession of a blade on school premises in 2017/18, while another nine-year-old was accused of being in possession of an offensive weapon in 2017/18. An eight-year-old was said to have threatened another person with a blade on school premises that same year.

West Mercia Police said weapons involved in school incidents included dozens of knives, as well as hydrochloric acid, a brick and a screwdriver.

Warwickshire Police counted a 3D printed knife, a knuckle duster and a machete among the weapons used in alleged crimes on school premises between April 2017 and August 2019.

Last week, information from 29 other police forces in England and Wales with relevant data showed there were 1,072 incidents in the last financial year, up from 831 in the previous 12 months.

Between April and August 2019, there were a further 311 incidents.

The figure is expected to be much higher considering that several forces – including the Metropolitan Police, the largest in the country – did not provide data.

PA

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