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“It’s a scary world at the moment” - council chief calls for tougher sentences after double stabbing in Colchester

PUBLISHED: 21:26 14 September 2018 | UPDATED: 08:46 17 September 2018

Mike Lilley (left) and chief inspector Shaun Kane launching Colchester town centre action plan earlier this month Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

Mike Lilley (left) and chief inspector Shaun Kane launching Colchester town centre action plan earlier this month Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

Archant

A community chief has called for harsher sentences for those caught carrying knives after two teenagers became the latest stabbing victims in Colchester.

The two men, aged 18 and 19, were stabbed in the buttocks on Abbots Road on the outskirts of the town at around 9.15pm on Thursday.

It is believed that the teenagers were attacked following a confrontation with two other men.

Mike Lilley, Colchester Borough Council (CBC) representative for the Old Heath and The Hythe ward, where the stabbing took place, and portfolio holder for planning, public safety and licensing, said he believed the sentences for carrying knives should be increased.

“The worry is somebody has gone out carrying a weapon and they have deliberately tried to harm somebody else,” he said.

“We really need the government to look at the sentencing that goes around if you carry a weapon.

“There should be a longer sentence for that.”

Mr Lilley argued that cuts to the police force in Colchester, and indeed across the county, have created an environment where it is possible for knife possession to go unpunished – leaving the door wide open for violent crime.

He said that only 10 full-time police officers remain in the town, supported by eight PSCOs, two sergeants, two inspectors, and one chief inspector, resulting in a “lack of police outside the town centre areas”.

“It is a scary world at the moment,” he said. “There just aren’t enough officers to patrol everywhere.”

He added that, while police were working extremely hard, moral among officers had taken a hit.

“We are all feeling the consequences of the austerity cuts now,” he said. “It is a worrying time.”

When asked whether residents in his ward should be concerned for thieir safety, Mr Lilley added: “Well obviously every time there is an incident involving knives or weapons it should be a concern to everybody. For the area it’s quite an unusual thing to happen. There is obviously some sort of background story to this.”

Residents in Colchester reported on social media that Ladbrook Drive and Mountbatten Drive in the town had been closed off by the police for a time in the aftermath of the assault.

Anybody with information about the incident should call Essex Police on 101 quoting incident 1355 of September 13.

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