KNIFE crime in West Mercia has more than doubled in seven years, new figures reveal.

West Mercia Police recorded 733 offences involving a knife or sharp weapon in 2019-20 according to ONS data.

This was more than double the 313 recorded in 2012-13, when comparable records were first published.

There were roughly 57 knife or sharp object offences per 100,000 people in West Mercia last year, a record high and well up from 25 per 100,000 seven years earlier.

Anti-knife crime charity the Ben Kinsella Trust warns surging knife crime rates are no longer confined to major cities across England and Wales, and that "every village, town and city" should be aware of the scale of the crisis.

Patrick Green, chief executive of the Ben Kinsella Trust, said the latest figures are "frightening".

"Tragically, knife crime has become embedded into our society, affecting generation after generation," he added.

"We are no longer simply dealing with a sudden jump in knife crime, this problem has been growing and getting worse every year.

"The Government needs to change its approach. We are beyond the point where we can arrest our way out of this problem, we must do more to tackle the root causes of knife crime.

"This means a greater focus on prevention and early intervention to stop knives being carried in the first place."

Knife crime has risen across England and Wales in recent years, the ONS said, with a record 50,000 offences recorded by police in the year leading up to the coronavirus crisis.

Of those, 22,012 (44%) were for assault with injury or assault with intent to cause serious harm, and 21,961 (44%) were used in a robbery.

The ONS said despite improved crime recording methods, increases are likely to reflect a real rise in the number of knife and sharp weapon offences nationally.

Separate ONS figures show knife crime soared by 25% between July and September last year as lockdown restrictions were lifted.

The latest data also reveals the number of gun crimes recorded by police forces in England and Wales.

West Mercia Police recorded 105 offences involving a gun in 2019-20, one more than the 104 recorded a year earlier.

The figures include offences where a firearm has been fired, used as a blunt instrument or as a threat, but exclude any involving air weapons.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Too many young lives are being needlessly lost. We are working closely with the police and others to stop this senseless bloodshed, particularly as Covid restrictions are eased over coming months.

"We are making sure the police have the resources and support they need, including bolstering their ranks with 20,000 new officers.

"At the same time, the Government is investing millions into Violence Reduction Units to tackle the root causes of violent crime, while our £200 million Youth Endowment Fund supports vital projects that steer young people away from a life of crime."