Crime falls in knife crackdown areas
Stabbings fell in areas targeted by a police crackdown on knife crime, Home Office figures revealed today.
But critics said knife carriers were still being given a "slap on the wrist".
Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve said anyone caught carrying a knife should face an automatic prison sentence.
Figures from knife crime hotspots revealed the number of youngsters admitted to hospital with stab wounds fell more than a quarter between July and September compared to last year.
The number of serious injuries and deaths against youngsters in the same period fell by nearly a fifth.
In the 10 Tackling Knives Action Programme areas where there was increased use of stop and search, fewer youngsters were caught with knives - down from one in 30 to one in 65.
Mr Grieve said: "We deeply welcome any reduction in knife crime but this has come about because police officers have been focused on the street - something we have long called for.
"However, this has been done through ad hoc, regionally focused operations.
"The government have done this before only to revert to type once they got some good statistics.
"Short term measures will only achieve short term results.
"We need concerted and tough action in the short, medium and long term.
"As well as deploying more police on to every street for good, knife offenders must face an automatic presumption of jail, not a slap on the wrist."
Police carried out 105,000 searches for weapons between June and October and seized 2,200 weapons.
The crackdown followed a string of high profile stabbings of young people during the summer.
In the UK this year, 34 teenagers have died from stab wounds, with 23 of those in London.
The areas are: London, Essex, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, Merseyside, the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Nottinghamshire, south Wales and Thames Valley.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith told the BBC: "The forces that we focused on are those where nearly 80 per cent of knife crime actually happens.
"We chose the areas where we were going to make the most difference and we have seen that having an impact.
"But we do want to learn from what's happened in these areas, continue it there and make sure that other forces can benefit from it."
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Russian hack of President Obama's emails worse than previously admitted
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
UK weather: Britain braced for snow to replace sun as arctic air mass moves in
Nepal earthquake: US Pastor Tony Miano sparks outcry by suggesting Nepalis should not rebuild their 'pagan shrines'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP