POLICE said Cumbria was still 'one of the safest places to live' after the force recorded a record high for incident involving knives in 2019-2020.

210 offences involving a knife or sharp weapon were reported, according to figure released by the Office for National Statistics..

This was a record high for the police since records began, with there being roughly 42 knife or sharp weapon offences per 100,000 people in Cumbria last year.

In 2012-13 that figure was 19 per 100,000 as the region reported 97 offences.

Despite the figures more than doubling in seven years, Cumbria Police said the number should be compared to other regions in the country before making any judgments.

Superintendent Andy Wilkinson from the Constabularies Operational Support Unit said: “Cumbria remains one of the safest places to live, offences involving knives or firearms within the area is low in comparison to other areas, but that does not mean we will be complacent.

“We continue to hold regular knife surrenders under the national Operation Sceptre, and have taken part in an ongoing national offensive weapons act surrender which ends this month to remove dangerous weapons off the streets and assist in keeping our communities safe.

“The force continues to prioritise all violent crime, including knife offences, and will continue to work with our partners in the criminal justice system.”

A rise in gun offences was also reported last year.

In total, there were 46 offences involving a gun in Cumbria, nine more than the 37 recorded a year earlier.

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 per cent) were for assault with injury or assault with intent to cause serious harm, and 21,961 (44 per cent) were used in a robbery.

Patrick Green, chief executive of the anti-knife crime charity, Ben Kinsella Trust, said the latest figures are “frightening”.

He said: “Tragically, knife crime has become embedded into our society, affecting generation after generation. 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.”