UNDER-18 knife cautions and convictions have climbed back up from a 10-year low in 2012, new government figures show.

Last year, 43 Wiltshire children aged 10 to 17 were dealt with by the police and courts for possession of knives and offensive weapons.

That was down slightly on the figure 10 years before (45) but up on the number 12 months earlier when 40 children received cautions or convictions for everything from possessing a blade in a public place to using a zombie knife to threaten a rival.

The new figures, published by the Ministry of Justice, came as five young men aged 17 and 18 were arrested in connection with a brutal stabbing in East Wichel.

A man in his 20s was knifed six times in the legs and the buttocks and a baseball bat was also apparently used in the attack.

A 17-year-old boy has been charged with GBH with intent, affray and possession of a knife.

Nationally, the number of knife crimes being dealt with by the police and courts is the highest in a decade.

There were 22,286 knife and offensive weapon offences formally dealt with by the criminal justice system in England and Wales in the year ending September 2019.

It represented a 3 per cent rise on the previous year and the highest since September 2009.

The rise is driven by the number of offences for possession of a knife or weapon – up to 17,048 from 15,965 the previous year, according to a report.

Last week, prime minister Boris Johnson announced a new cabinet committee aimed at halting rising levels of knife violence. It will focus particularly on County Lines gangs.

According to reports, South Swindon MP and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told cabinet colleagues last Tuesday that “every department should be a criminal justice department”.

A government spokesman said: “The government is taking urgent action to tackle knife crime and keep people safe.

“These figures should serve as a stark warning to those carrying knives that you are more likely to be jailed and for longer than at any point in the last decade.”

Responding to the statistics, Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said: “We need to tackle the root causes and understand why those involved carry knives.

“Increasing the number and length of sentences can only be part of the solution, as this may not deter young people who are suffering a poverty of hope.”