BEAT SPEAK: Take a stand against violent crime, says Chief Insp Paul Winter

Chief Insp Paul Winter
Chief Insp Paul Winter

Let’s set the scene. You are about to leave the house for your work Christmas party.

You’ve had a shower, had a shave, you’ve splashed on a bit of Old Spice (because it’s a special occasion). You put on your coat and before you head out the door you make sure you have your necessities – your wallet, your keys, your mobile phone and your knife.

Wait a minute.

A knife?! Most wouldn’t dream of taking a knife to a party, but for some it is considered as essential as cash to arm themselves with a blade.

It’s for protection they think. Just in case.

Did you know that if you carry a knife you are more likely to be injured with one?

Men in their late teens or early 20s are also most likely to be involved in knife crime, as either the offender or the victim.

Since 2008 there have been 311 incidents of knife possession in Mansfield and Ashfield and 32 so far this financial year.

Since April this year there have been 24 people in the region who have been injured with a knife. Many injuries happen in town and city centres during nights out.

Over the next few weeks, as part of our Alliance Against Violence, we are focussing on knife crime in a bid to change people’s behaviours.

Next week we will be asking people to surrender their knives during an amnesty.

There are strict laws governing knives and this means there is little reason for carrying one. Excuses such as ‘I need it for protection’, ‘I was carrying it for someone else’ or ‘I didn’t know’ are not acceptable and all will see you arrested.

People think there is a distinct difference between carrying a knife and using one. We disagree. If you are carrying a knife you are more likely to reach for it at the sign of trouble. This immediately intensifies the situation and the knife is then often used as an extension of the fist or even in a perceived sense of self-defence. The result is always the same, another person seriously injured or killed.

The maximum penalty for an adult simply carrying an illegal knife is four years in prison and a fine of £5,000. If you injure someone you face a lengthy jail term. Killing someone will be a life sentence, not just in jail but on your conscience.

There will be an amnesty bin at Mansfield Police Station, in Nottingham Road, from Monday. So come along, drop off you knives, no questions asked.

Make a stand against violent crime. ‘Like’ our Nottinghamshire Alliance Against Violence Facebook page.

If you suspect someone of carrying a knife contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.