A national programme to tackle teenage knife crime has not seen a reduction in the number of killings.
The Tackling Knives Action Programme, launched in ten police areas in July last year, saw a 17 per cent reduction in knife-related violence against under-20s.
But the number of under-20s killed by a knife or sharp object did not change. There were 23 deaths during the time the scheme was running between July 2008 and March 2009, the same as during the equivalent period the previous year.
Senior officers said changing attitudes towards knife crime was like “turning the proverbial oil tanker” and could take generations.
In the West Midlands, police saw a drop of almost 20 per cent in the number of young people using knives to commit violent crime on the streets, while other forces saw a rise in offences.
There was also a 17.8 per cent fall in possession of knives among youngsters aged under 19 as officers carried out the second highest number of targeted stop-and-search operations for offensive weapons.
West Midlands Police said the intelligence-led actions resulted in the force recovering proportionately more weapons than any other force.
The Home Office-led initiative will be extended into a second phase, with £5 million available to the ten original forces and six others.
The programme will now focus on all forms of serious violence among 13 to 24-year-olds.
Warwickshire Chief Constable Keith Bristow, who is in charge of rolling out the second phase, said: “This is a long journey. Success when you’re dealing with these sort of problems might be measured in generations, not weeks or months.”