There has been a lot about knife crime in the press over recent months but the problems we face here in Nottinghamshire are nothing like the scale of those faced by forces such as the Met and Greater Manchester.
I told 160 people at my recent knife crime conference, ‘yes, we have got a problem, but we can fix it.’
And I truly believe we can.
My budget this year included funding for a dedicated knife crime strategy manager who now is working with our partners, to ensure that we tackle knife crime from every angle
We are currently working with numerous organisations to develop a multi-agency knife crime strategy.
But, importantly for people living in Mansfield and Ashfield, the area has not seen a burgeoning knife crime problem and I want it to stay that way.
Enforcement alone will not work – we must change the mindset of young people so that carrying a knife is not the norm.
So, from September, every school will have a schools’ liaison officer.
Often, the first time young people have something to do with the police is when they are in trouble, but we want to build a relationship before then, before things spiral out of control.
I’ve also provided nearly £50,000 of funding to help three projects delivering knife crime prevention.
They will work directly with young people at risk of knife crime to harness their skills and provide an alternative to violence.
Nationally, hospital admissions for knife-related incidents are increasing, so I have agreed to co-fund a youth violence intervention programme which sees specialist youth workers at the Queen’s Medical Centre providing early intervention after an assault.
Preventing knife crime is a big task but if we can spare families the devastation of losing a loved one then our efforts will have been more than worthwhile.