Knife crime affects us all, whether we live in a quiet rural hamlet or amid the busyness of a major city.
The existence of knives on our streets increases the risk of violence and serious injury and has a detrimental impact on how safe we feel.
Tackling knife crime is not a simple task and should be as much focused on destroying gang mentality and the acceptance of weapon carrying as it is about removing the danger through enforcement action.
In Mansfield and Ashfield, knife crime levels are relatively low in real terms.
However, every incident involving a bladed weapon is one too many and demonstrates we have some way to go to solve this problem.
There were ten offences involving a knife recorded in Mansfield between April and July this year compared to 19 the previous year – a reduction of nine offences. In Ashfield, figures rose from 11 to 26 during the same time frame (plus-15). Although the figures remain small, knife crime is nevertheless a serious issue affecting our communities.
The issue remains one of my top policing priorities and I’ve kept my commitment to set up a dedicated pro-active knife crime team and provide the necessary resources to support action to reduce the problem.
This intelligence-led, proactive team is focused on reducing knife crime through an enhanced ‘on-street’ presence. The results have been positive with reductions in knife crime reported during the weeks of active patrols.
Most victims and offenders of knife-related violence are aged 27 or under with those young people aged 23-to-27 accounting for a quarter of the total. With this in mind, much of the work underway by my own office, the force, and our partners is targeted towards young people and addressing knife culture.
We’re using metal detectors, for instance, in our night time venues to detect knife-carrying and we’re working with partners on the Vanguard Plus project which delivers knife prevention messages across all primary schools within the city.
Working with Trading Standards in the city, the force has continued to carry out test purchase operations at retail outlets selling knives to ensure retailers are meeting their legal obligations not to sell knives to anyone under 18. Meanwhile, the use of stop and search in a necessary and proportionate manner has also helped to make our communities safer. Targeted stop searches by the knife crime team have been very effective, with positive outcome rates of 44 per cent.
What is clear is that one organisation alone cannot address the problems associated with knife crime and it is an issue which impacts on a host of organisations. It requires a collective response and I’m pleased so many agencies are now joining up their efforts.
Lastly, as we approach Hate Crime Awareness Week on October 8, I would like to take this opportunity to appeal for tolerance, acceptance and appreciation of our diverse county. I’m proud to serve our rich and vibrant communities and would urge you all to celebrate the uniqueness and differences that make Nottinghamshire such a special place to live and visit.
Read more about local knife crime here...