KNIFE crime has become almost six times as common in Gwent in the space of a decade, official data shows.

Gwent Police recorded 376 knife and sharp instrument offences between October 2022 and September 2023, up from an annual figure of just 65 a decade prior.

Chief superintendent Carl Williams says there has been “no exception” in Gwent to the proliferation of knife crime across the country.

But the difference in Gwent - a staggering 478 per cent increase - is far starker than across Wales as a whole, where the figure is 148 per cent.

According to the ONS data, only one force in England and Wales – Surrey, which includes unbroken bottle and glass offences in its data – has seen a bigger increase over the 10 years than Gwent.

Free Press Series: Recorded knife offences by police force in WalesRecorded knife offences by police force in Wales (Image: Sam Portillo)

All figures are subject to changes in methodology and data recording.

Gwent Police chief superintendent Carl Williams said: “Knife crime has risen nationally across the past decade and we as a police service are no exception to that.

“There are no excuses as to why someone should carry a knife and our officers regularly carry out intelligence-led patrols to deter offending, target those who may commit violent crime and remove dangerous items from our streets.

"We regularly participate in Operation Sceptre, the national intensification week launched in 2015, to tackle knife crime during the week of action with targeted operations as well as officers visiting schools to educate and speak to children directly to highlight the potential risks of carrying a knife."

'Wreaking havoc'

Labour Party analysts say knife possession offences have doubled in rural policing areas, outpacing the 60 per cent increase seen in urban areas.

Shadow Welsh secretary Jo Stevens MP said knife crime was “wreaking havoc on communities across Wales” and no longer confined to inner cities.

The UK Government reserves control over policing in Wales while other policy areas, including social services and healthcare, are devolved to Cardiff Bay.

WATCH: Police investigating as mum threatened with a knife inside her home

The UK Government is bringing forward new legislation which will make it illegal to possess, sell, manufacture or transport machetes and zombie-style knives.

Home secretary James Cleverly said: “We must stop these dangerous knives ending up on our streets and in the hands of criminals. Knife crime continues to take precious lives away and I am determined to put an end to this senseless violence.

“We cannot let them be sold to children and we must give young people a way out of violence. That is why I have expedited the ban on zombie-style machetes and we are increasing the maximum sentence for selling knives to under-18s.”

People in possession of such weapons have been urged to hand them in voluntarily before the ban comes into force.

Cardiff Central MP Jo Stevens said: “The Tories talk tough on knife crime – yet on their watch it is rising at an alarming rate.”

Labour says it would deliver a new “preventative programme” and aim to halve serious violence within a decade in government.

A Conservative spokesperson said: "Labour Police and Crime Commissioners need to get a grip of knife crime in their areas. The data is clear - the public is less safe in Labour-run areas.

"The Conservative Government is clamping down on knife crime, banning zombie knives and getting them off our streets. Our plan is working, with hospital admissions for young people with serious knife injuries down by 25 per cent since 2019.

"Only the Conservatives have a plan to take the tough action necessary to tackle knife crime, Labour would just take us back to square one."