More than one in three knife criminals in Derbyshire face an immediate prison sentence, new figures reveal.
In 2018, 310 people were cautioned or convicted by Derbyshire Constabulary for possession of a knife or offensive weapon, or threatening with a knife, according to Ministry of Justice data.
Of those, 111 – or 36 per cent – received an immediate prison sentence.
In 75 cases knife criminals were handed a community order, 68 offenders were given a suspended sentence and a further 22 were given a fine or discharged from court without a sentence.
Derbyshire police also cautioned 34 people for knife crime offences.
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The proportion of knife criminals in Derbyshire being sent to prison dropped, from 43 per cent in 2017.
A spokesperson for Derbyshire police said the force does not comment on sentencing.
In Derbyshire last year, one in eight criminals cautioned or convicted were children.
Of the 310, 88 were re-offenders and 15 had been cautioned or convicted three times or more.
The number of knife criminals being dealt with overall by Derbyshire Constabulary increased by 15 per cent since 2017.
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Across England and Wales, the percentage of offenders getting immediate custody decreased slightly to 34 per cent in 2018.
However that figure is higher than in 2015, when the two-strike rule was imposed, with a minimum six-month prison sentence for criminals caught twice in possession of a blade.
Justice Minister Rory Stewart said: “Knife crime destroys lives and shatters communities, and this government is doing everything in its power to tackle its devastating consequences.
“Sentences for those carrying knives are getting tougher - they are more likely to be sent straight to prison, and for longer - than at any time in the last decade.”
Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced a £100m cash injection for police forces across the country to tackle the problem of knife crime.