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Essex: Knife crime stats are ‘tip of the iceberg’

Jay Whiston and mum Caroline Shearer

Jay Whiston and mum Caroline Shearer

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The mum of a murdered teenager has said knife crime figures for Tendring are just “the tip of the iceberg”.

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Statistics released by Essex’s Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston reveal knife crime rose by almost 23% in the district last year.

Between March 2012 and February 2013 there were 153 recorded incidents of knife crime, compared to 188 the following year.

Mr Alston has pledged to continue to tackle knife crime as a priority.

Clacton mum Caroline Shearer, whose son Jay Whiston was stabbed to death at a Colchester house party in September 2012, set up the Only Cowards Carry charity in the wake of Jay’s death in a bid to educate young people about the dangers of carrying a knife.

She said: “I’m not surprised because the information we collect and collate is still a lot higher than what is being recorded, this is the tip of the iceberg. I’m glad Mr Alston has acknowledged it is going up.”

In Colchester knife crime rose from 135 to 145, a rise of 7.4%, while in Braintree knife crime fell by 9.5%.

Essex-wide there were 117 more knife crimes year-on-year, a rise of 8.3% to 1,522, with the biggest rise in Southend. One-quarter of these were for possession of a knife or blade.

Mr Alston said: “I will continue to support proactive policing to take weapons off our streets, and bring those carrying weapons to justice.

“I will also continue to support the ethical and proportionate use of stop and search tactics to target those carrying weapons.

“We must make it clear, through education, community pressure, policing and sentencing, that it is not acceptable for a person to carry a knife or weapon.”

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