Knife crime hits six year high in Essex as police investigate fatal stabbing in Chelmsford

Pc Bernard, Police and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst and Pc Jellis walking through Vineyards Shoppi

Pc Bernard, Police and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst and Pc Jellis walking through Vineyards Shopping Centre near Chelmsford Picture: CHRIS COOK - Credit: Archant

Knife crime in Essex is at its highest level in six years, new figures have shown.

The news comes in the wake of a fatal stabbing in Chelmsford today.

Police were called to Cromar Way just before 1am this morning and found a man, in his 40s, severely injured at the scene.

He was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead just after 2am.

Knife and offensive weapon offences led to 527 cautions or sentences in Essex in 2017/18, the highest number in a year since 601 were recorded in 2011/12.

The number of convictions in the area has risen by three per cent in a year, up from 511 in 2016/17.

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However with 33 cautions or sentences handed out for knife and offensive weapon offences per 100,000 people, the rate was lower than the average rate of 41 per 100,000 across England and Wales as a whole.

The increase coincides with a reduction of around 1,000 officers and staff instigated in a long term plan from 2010 to balance budget constraints.

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However, in a reverse of policy, Essex Police is set to create 150 new posts in a bid to fight and prevent crime in communities over the next year – funded by an additional £12 a year on the average council tax bill.

A total of 53 officers will join Local Policy Teams who work on the front line on patrol, responding to emergency and priority calls.

Community Policing Teams will get an extra 50 officers to increase visibility, prevent crime and work on the front line with partners to tackle crime and community problems such as anti-social behaviour.

There will also be 21 more detectives to investigate domestic abuse and help vulnerable people to safety, while 25 officers will go to the Operational Support Group – the uniformed team which supports local officers to prevent crime, tackle offenders and carry out visible patrols as well as using specialist tactics.

Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst has warned Essex residents they are likely to be landed with another £12 on their council tax bill next year to fund additional policing costs.

He said the £12 increase levied on Essex council tax bills this year is not enough to pay for all the extra officers he aims to recruit in the next two years.

Mr Hirst wants to see as many as many as 290 extra officers recruited between now and 2020, taking the total number to around 3,140 through an extra investment of around £15 million.

Most of the 150 officers paid for from this year’s council tax increases will not be in place until January 2019.

• Three men, aged 40, 53 and 59, and a 53-year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of murder in relation to the death in Chelmsford this morning. The 53-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of Class A drugs.

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