‘Holistic’ approach to knife crime in Nottinghamshire to be launched

Inspector Donna Lowton, Nottinghamshire Police lead on knife crime, at the knife amnesty earlier this year.
Inspector Donna Lowton, Nottinghamshire Police lead on knife crime, at the knife amnesty earlier this year.

A new approach to tackling knife crime across Nottinghamshire is being set up.

Rather than treating knife crime simply as a criminal problem, the new approach will aim to replicate similar schemes which have seen success in Glasgow, which take a more holistic view of violence, and treat it in a similar way to health problems.

Already, dozens of different initiatives are being carried out simultaneously in an effort to reduce violent knife crime in the county, and the growth of knife crime appears to be slowing, against the national trend.

The new panel, made up of members from all the city’s main institutions, will aim to integrate all these approaches, and help organisations share good ideas.

It will bring together police, the council, youth workers, the health sector, education, housing organisations and a wide range of other bodies.

Senior police officers told a meeting which was looking into what was being done to tackle knife crime that the police couldn’t ‘arrest their way out of the problem.’

Nottingham City Council leader David Mellen has taken personal responsibility for community protection, and said it was vital that measures were taken swiftly.

Councillor Mellen, who represents the Dales ward for Labour, told the meeting: “It’s quite clear we’re not going to be able to tackle this issue if we all try to do it alone.

“Even when we work together it’s still going to be challenging, so I think it needs leadership at every single layer of the council to show we’re really commited.

“We have had a reputation in the past for being a dangerous city with high levels of crime.

“Over 15 years that reduction has been very successful, and crime levels were cut by more than half. But in the last five years they have started to rise again.

“If we are to have a city where people are comfortable to live and work and learn and relax then this can’t be, and we will have to work on it so people feel safe in our city.

“It’s literally a life and death problem, and we need to do everything we can.”

The new group will be known as the Serious Youth Violence and Exploitation Strategic Programme Board.

Already, £490,000 is being spent on a programme to work with community groups and schools to educate the dangers of knives.

Super Intendent Matthew MacFarlane said his career investigating serious crime and murders meant he had seen first hand the damage knives do to people’s lives.

He said: “We certainly can’t arrest our way out of any of this. We do need the partnership and we need to bring together partners in the city who committed to tackling this.

“We have got to get people away from the life style because the knife is just a symptom of the problem, it’s not the cause of the lifestyle.”