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Working Together To Tackle Knife Crime

11 March 2019 Local News

Staffordshire Police is calling on partners, parents, schools and the wider community to come together in support of a national operation to tackle the issue of knife crime.

This week (11-17 March), under Operation Sceptre, the force will be rolling out a wide variety of enforcement and educational activities, with the support of partners, to help reduce the impact of knife crime in the communities of Staffordshire.

Superintendent Ricky Fields, strategic lead for knife crime at Staffordshire Police, said: “Staffordshire Police continues to see increases in recorded crime involving the possession or use of knives alongside increases in overall violent crime. Knife crime is unfortunately a visible part of communities in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and not an issue we can tackle on our own.

“We are doing lots to tackle knife crime and we are actively pursuing those who intend to cause harm within Staffordshire’s communities. We will do all we can to bring offenders to justice, however enforcement is just one element of the response needed. Knife crime cannot and must not be treated in isolation.

“The threat of knife crime increases when considered with street gangs or drugs activity. Our approach is not to criminalise young people but to safeguard them and protect them. With partners, parents and schools we need to understand why young people choose to carry knives, because we have seen a marked increase in recent years in Staffordshire.”

Staffordshire Police’s neighbourhood policing teams will be visiting schools and colleges to educate young people on the dangers and consequences of carrying knives, setting up proactive knife operations in busy town centres to detect and deter habitual knife carriers, and organising knife sweeps in knife crime hotspots to discover any knives concealed in public areas. The force will also be continuing in its efforts to deter offenders through the use of stop and search.

To complement this activity, a targeted social media campaign aimed at those most likely to commit offences with a knife will be rolled out. This hard-hitting campaign will shine a light on the stark realities of knife crime and youth violence.

Supt Fields added: “We must encourage young people, parents, schools and other public bodies to have conversations about knife crime. This week of targeted activity will hopefully help to raise the profile of this important topic and help us to prevent the terrible events that have been seen recently in other areas of the country.”

Knife crime has increased in Staffordshire by 5% (32 crimes) over the past rolling 12 months (1 March 2018 – 28 February 2019) with personal robbery where a knife is used having increased by 20%. The top three neighbourhood policing teams in Staffordshire for knife crime are Stoke-on-Trent North, Stoke-on-Trent South and Tamworth.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council was recently awarded £226,000 following a bid to the national Supporting Families Against Youth Crime Fund. The money will be used to provide extra training and support to help children who might be vulnerable to criminal exploitation and their families. The council’s youth offending service is also working with schools and the charity Street Doctors to deliver targeted sessions to children who might be at risk of carrying knives and offensive weapons.

Cllr Randy Conteh, cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: “Knife crime has no place in our city and communities and we are committed to working with partners to stamp it out. The majority of people do not carry knives and are generally safe within the city. We are putting a lot of work in with schools to educate children and young people about the risks and dangers of carrying knives and weapons, and the dire consequences doing so could have on their future.”

To support the Operation Sceptre campaign, you can share messages on social media using the hashtag #opsceptre.

Notes to editors

Chantelle Thompson, head of service for New Era, which provides support for victims of domestic abuse and services for perpetrators across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, said: “With the rise in domestic related knife crime in Staffordshire, providing advice and support to keep people safe forms a key part of our ongoing work.

“When someone is in an unhealthy relationship, we aim to intervene as early as possible to reduce the likelihood of someone getting hurt, and to prevent the normal sanctuary of home quickly becoming a place of potential danger.”

• 15% of offenders are under 18 years of age
• 23% of knife crimes are domestic related. Domestic related knife crime increased by 5% compared to the previous 12 months.
• The volume of knife crime committed by repeat offenders in Staffordshire over the last 12 months is relatively low and there are very few repeat victims and locations of significance.
• National home office definition:-Knife Crime is defined as any offence involving assault with injury or intent, robbery, sexual assault, rape and homicides where a knife or sharp instrument has been used in the commission of the offence.  It does not include other crime types including possession offences or lower level assault

The figures for crimes involving knives per neighbourhood policing team for the past 12 months are below.
• Stoke North – 180
• Stoke South – 160
• Tamworth – 62
• Stafford – 59
• East Staffs – 55
• Newcastle – 52
• Staffordshire Moorlands – 45
• Cannock – 41
• Lichfield – 33
• South Staffs – 32
• Force total Mar 18 to Feb 19 = 719
• Last year’s force total Mar 17 to Feb 18 = 687


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