Commenting on the latest crime statistics for England and Wales, including a 20 per cent increase in knife crime, Emma said:

“The latest crime figures show that our region has experienced a shocking 20 per cent increase in knife crime – almost triple the national rise of 7 per cent. Knife crime is now at record levels in our region. Police officer numbers are down by over 2,000 since 2010. These cuts are having an effect, and have led our Chief Constable Dave Thompson to say he is “struggling to deliver a service to the public” and “criminals know how stretched we are.”

“There were over 3,500 cases across the West Midlands which involved a knife in the last year and, as the Express and Star reported earlier this week, more than 100 young people were caught brining a knife or a blade into school with them. More officers must be combined with preventative work to ensure our young people do to not turn to carrying knives.

“In our region, crime is up 10 per cent, yet some forms of crime have seen huge increases. Knife crime has risen 20 per cent, violent crime has risen 32 per cent, stalking and harassment is up 63 per cent and sexual offences are up 19 per cent. Burglaries have also risen, and possession of weapons are up 38 per cent. This shows the huge and pressing need for more police officers, to combat ever rising levels of crime.

“Last week it was announced that the West Midlands would receive 366 new officers by 2021. New officers are of course welcome, however they do not make up for the 2,131 lost since 2010. Our communities want the reassurance of more police officers, who can focus on preventative work, solve cases, and get knives off our streets – not to be over 1,700 short of where we were ten years ago.”