Assaults with knives and other sharp objects led to almost 900 hospital admissions involving Thames Valley residents in less than a decade, figures show.
Anti-knife crime charity the Ben Kinsella Trust called for more to be done to educate children about the impact of knife crime, with two in five stabbing admissions across England involving young people.
Between April 2012 and March this year, there were around 885 admissions of patients from the Thames Valley policing area following an assault with a sharp object, according to data from NHS Digital.*
Of those, around 40 per cent involved people aged under 25, matching the national average.
The news comes after two stabbings in Reading in a week, one leading to the death of 22-year-old Reece Heffernan.
A total of 11 people were arrested following the fatal stabbing on Halloween, 10 of which were aged 23 or under.
A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police said: “We should all be concerned whenever a serious crime happens but there is a strong partnership in place across Oxfordshire and Berkshire between the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit and other statutory partners, charities and communities at a local and strategic level with an aim to reduce serious violence.
“This partnership includes additional funding and resources to tackle the causes of violence through early intervention and prevention and through targeted enforcement.
“Thames Valley Police has increased patrols to areas most affected by violence and has invested in enhanced problem solving action, working closely with the Violence Reduction Unit, and will continue to monitor the results of these additional activities.
“On top of this, TVP is committed to supporting the national effort to reduce knife crime by providing enhanced focused enforcement through, for example, Operation Sceptre.
“A week of action under Operation Sceptre commences on Monday.
“Although we have seen some significant incidents recently, knife crime is reducing year-on-year in the Thames Valley.”
English NHS hospitals have recorded more than 38,000 hospital admissions of patients from police force areas in both England and Wales since 2012-13 for assaults involving sharp objects.
Patrick Green, CEO of the Ben Kinsella Trust – a knife crime charity established in memory of a young stabbing victim – said the statistics were “shocking”.
He said: “These figures show that knife crime remains a significant problem for the criminal justice system and the NHS.
“But more worryingly, they show that we are failing to protect young people.
“We need to do far more to educate young people about the dangers of knife crime.”
* Figures are rounded to the nearest five to protect patient confidentiality.