The police are concerned about the number of minors caught carrying offensive weapons, ranging from guns to illegal fireworks over the past few years.
In total, the police arrested 1,268 youngsters for carrying weapons this year, compared with 315 in 2019.
While just over half the arrests were for illegal fireworks, the number of under-18s caught with knives rose from 33 to 355 while 144 were arrested for carrying a gun.
National force spokesman Martin Sitalsing said the increase could be down to a more active police approach to the problem, as well as to youngsters arming themselves after being threatened on social media.
Nevertheless, he said, the development is worrying.‘If you have a weapon with you, you will be more likely to use it, with all the risk of death and injury that entails,’ he said.
The number of murder and attempted murder cases in which minors are suspected of having a role is up 2.5 times on last year, the AD reported earlier this month, citing figures from the public prosecution department.
By mid November, youngsters were suspects in 64 murder and attempted murder cases, compared with 25 in the same period in 2020. There was also an increase in cases with suspects aged 18 to 21 – from 51 to 76 – the prosecution department said.
The paper did not say how many youngsters were eventually convicted of murder or attempted murder or how many remained in custody.
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