Convictions and cautions for possessing a knife have increased by almost 50 per cent in Derbyshire in the past five years, data released by the Ministry of Justice shows.
The 49 per cent increase is one of the biggest in the country, behind Staffordshire (55%), Hertfordshire (60%), Norfolk (69%), Cheshire (72%), Northamptonshire ( 74%) and Leicestershire (96%).
In 2018, the criminal justice system handed out 21,484 cautions or convictions for possessing knives or offensive weapons, or threatening with one of these weapons.
This is the highest number of offences dealt with since 2009 (25,103).
In more than a third of cases (37%) in 2018, offenders were immediately jailed. This is up from a fifth (20%) in 2008.
The average length of the custodial sentences received also increased over the same period, from 5.3 months to 8.1 months.
Justice Minister Rory Stewart said: “Knife crime destroys lives and shatters communities, and this government is doing everything in its power to tackle its devastating consequences.
“Sentences for those carrying knives are getting tougher – they are more likely to be sent straight to prison – and for longer – than at any time in the last decade.
“But we are doing more – yesterday the government committed a further £100m to tackle knife crime, while our Serious Violence Strategy works to prevent young people picking up a knife in the first place.”
National chairman of the Police Federation John Apter said: “These statistic confirm what I, and my members, know to be true - that knife crime is increasing and is devastating our communities.
“They are also indicative of the hard work and dedication shown by police officers in tackling this issue and bringing those who do choose to carry weapons to justice despite there being almost 22,000 fewer of them than there were in 2010.
“And they send a strong message that those found in possession of knives will be dealt with seriously and robustly by the police, and the criminal justice system.”