Churchgoers in knife-protest march from Birmingham to London

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A group of Birmingham churchgoers are taking part in a 114-mile protest march to raise awareness of knife crime.

Worshippers from Kingstanding Methodist Church are making the six-day trip to Westminster with a cross made out of about 200 knives.

Blades have either been handed into the church or confiscated by West Midlands Police.

They want to put pressure on the government to do more to tackle knife crime.

Three teenage boys were stabbed to death in Birmingham over 12 days earlier this year, with police chiefs branding knife crime as a “crisis and an emergency”.

Image caption Walkers will cover about 114-miles from Birmingham to Westminster

Reverend Andrew Brazier, from the Sutton Park Methodist Circuit which covers Kingstanding, organised the march.

“We shouldn’t be living in a world where having knives feels necessary,” he said.

“We are walking distance from London and there’s a lot of focus on what’s been happening in London and we just want to say ‘it’s a problem here too and we need support’.”

Image caption Reverend Andrew Brazier said we “shouldn’t be living in a world where having knives feels necessary”

The protestors will walk through Kenilworth, Daventry, Dunstable and Watford on their way to London – spending nights at local churches along the way.

The West Midlands Police force area saw a 72% rise in knife crime between April 2013 and the year ending March 2018, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) analysis shows.

Knife crimes recorded by West Midlands Police

Offences between April 2013 and March 2018

Across England and Wales there were 285 killings by a knife or sharp instrument in the 12 months ending March 2018 – the highest figure since records began in 1946.

Out of 43 forces, West Midlands Police saw the third highest knife crime offences per head of population between April 2017 to March 2018, according to the Home Office.

Ten forces with the highest knife crime rates

The number of offences reported for every 100,000 people

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