MORE than a dozen incidents involving knives in schools have been reported in Bolton over the last three years.

Figures obtained using Freedom of Information Act reveal that there have been 16 incidents involving weapons in schools in Bolton since January, 2009.

But senior police officer Supt Phil Davies says there is no problem with knives in schools, and that the numbers have fallen in recent years.

The incidents include a nine-year-old with behavioural difficulties who grabbed a knife after a disagreement with a teacher and threatened to stab them. One 12-year-old hid a kitchen knife in a shoe and was ordered by a teacher to hand it over.

In another incident, a 14- year-old pulled out a pocketknife during a fight with other pupils, while eslewhere a 15-year-old had a knife during a lesson.

It was reported in one school that an 11-year-old went in with a “bladed article”

which was seen in the playground. It was confiscated by staff and police were called.

There were also two incidents involving BB guns, and one in which a youth was seen walking through school grounds with a handgun.

The schools where the incidents had taken place have not been revealed.

Supt Davies said: “Bolton has a population of more than 120,000 people and a secondary school population of nearly 19,000.

“In 2012, we have had two reported incidents of issues with knives in schools.

“One was in relation to a pupil with learning difficulties who waved around a kitchen knife belonging to the school, and the other was a pupil bringing a pen knife into the playground.

“Both were dealt with appropriately by the school and the latter incident was subject of police restorative justice.

“In 2011, we had one incident, and the protagonist wasn’t a pupil.”

A Bolton Council spokesman said the authority took such reports very seriously, and that schools had policies to deal with them.

He added: “Although the reported incidents are very serious, we would like to reassure pupils, parents and carers that they are very rare and isolated events.”

Bolton Secondary Heads chairman John Porteous said: “Our job in schools is to be positive role models and help young people to treat each other with consideration and respect.

“There are examples of selfish and aggressive behaviour out there, but we need to show they are not acceptable and that there is a better way to live.”