Moving videos tell story of knife crime victims in new Essex Police #NoKnivesInEssex campaign

Some of the knives confiscated by Essex Police. Piicture: ESSEX POLICE

Some of the knives confiscated by Essex Police. Piicture: ESSEX POLICE - Credit: Archant

Essex Police has today launched a new campaign to tackle knife crime in the county, with officers warning that there is “no excuse” for carrying a blade.

Only Cowards Carry founder Caroline Shearer emptying out the Clacton knife amnesty bins at the local

Only Cowards Carry founder Caroline Shearer emptying out the Clacton knife amnesty bins at the local police station. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

The #NoKnivesInEssex scheme has been launched to reduce the number of knives on the street and reduce the amount of knife crime which police say has been increasing year on year, and will be using a series of social media and video messages telling the stories of victims of knife crime.

Chief Superintendent Paul Wells said: “Knife crime is increasing year on year in Essex and across the country.

“It is a needless crime that devastates lives and there is no place for it in our county.

“There is no excuse to carry a knife in Essex.


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“Knife crime can have devastating consequences, not only for the victim but for their family and friends and the emergency services that have to deal with the aftermath.

“If you are found illegally in possession of a knife you will be arrested and subject to the criminal justice system.”

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The campaign is being backed by Caroline Shearer from Clacton, whose son Jay Whiston was murdered aged 17 at a Colchester house party in September 2012.

Mrs Shearer set up the Only Cowards Carry cause to help eradicate the streets of knives and knife crime, and is backing the new police campaign.

One of the knives seized by Essex Police. Picture: ESSEX POLICE

One of the knives seized by Essex Police. Picture: ESSEX POLICE - Credit: Archant

“I don’t remember who I was, that’s how much it changes you,” she said in a poignant video prepared for the campaign.

“I don’t remember the person I used to be – I don’t think any of us do.

“People just don’t realise the after effects of the calls that come after, about what do you want done to your sons body parts.

“I go up to Jay’s grave and I swear a lot.

Jay Whiston was stabbed at a house party in Colchester in 2012. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Jay Whiston was stabbed at a house party in Colchester in 2012. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

“It’s the one place I get truly, truly angry, because there is this anger that comes over you that is so scary that is just uncontrollable.

“I try to say it like it’s a story so its not really real, but it’s not until I get home that I know it is real.

“And I am sure I am not the only one in this position.

“That’s why we call it Only Cowards Carry and not Jay’s Justice - this is for you all.”

Statistics released by police have revealed that in the last 12 months there were 2,441 knife crime offences in Essex, with more than three quarters of the 815 knife crime victims under 30 being teenagers.

More than 1,000 knife crime suspects were also aged under 30, with 957 being teenagers.

Only Cowards Carry has provided seven knife amnesty bins across the county open all year round for people to dispose of knives, while the public are also being urged to report those that carry knives either anonymously on the Fearless website or by calling police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.

Chief Supt Wells added: “The public has a major role to play in helping us to tackle knife crime.

“We urge you to report anyone that you know is carrying a knife.

“You can do this anonymously via Fearless who will pass on any reports to us.

“We know that you might not want somebody close to you to get in trouble for carrying a knife but by helping us take knives off the street, you could be saving somebody’s life and saving their family, friends and the wider community from a life time of devastation.

“You can also help by safely disposing of your knives to ensure they are not used to cause harm.

“There are a number of knife bins dotted across the county for you to safely dispose of knives and more information about their locations can be found on the Only Cowards Carry website.”

To find out more about the campaign visit the Essex Police website here.

Search #NoKnivesInEssex on social media for updates throughout the campaign.

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