Police invest £150k to cut knife crime

MORE than £100,000 will be spent on measures to tackle violent knife crime in Essex, it has been revealed. Essex Police plans to invest £150,000 in a high profile campaign, including knife-detecting equipment, in a bid to clamp down on those carrying weapons.

James Hore

MORE than £100,000 will be spent on measures to tackle violent knife crime in Essex, it has been revealed.

Essex Police plans to invest £150,000 in a high profile campaign, including knife-detecting equipment, in a bid to clamp down on those carrying weapons.

The force will install 11 more portable knife-detector arches and 80 handheld metal detectors for use across the county.


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The archways will be used in train and bus stations. There are no plans at this stage to use them at schools.

The money will be used to teach youngsters about the dangers of carrying a blade in what officers are saying is a mix of “education and enforcement”.

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Knife crime campaigner Ann Oakes-Odger, whose son Westley, 27, was stabbed to death in Colchester, has welcomed the move.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted that Essex Police has been recognised in this way.

“The headlines and extent of knife crime has not surprised me - it is the awareness that has changed and people realise it is a problem that needs to be tackled.

“The tide is now starting to turn with this problem, but I will not stop until that happens.”

The Colchester mother, who works alongside Essex Police with her campaign, revealed she had been asked to attend all three of the main political parties' conferences next month to speak about the impact of knife crime.

About £58,000 of the money is going towards the 2SMART education programme for pupils and will include preventative work in schools about knife crime.

A referral project for youngsters who may already be carrying knives is also being set up to offer support to re-educate and deter them from carrying knives again.

Inspector Kevin Whipps said: “We believe a mix of education and enforcement is the answer to tackling knife crime and anti-social behaviour.

“It's important to remember that the vast majority of people are law-abiding citizens and that knife crime in the county is low.

“However, we will never become complacent and will continue to work inside schools, and within the communities we serve to keep Essex safe.

“Education and prevention are vital measures in reducing the number of people whose lives are affected by knives, but local residents should be assured that Essex Police will use all the technology available to tackle anyone in this county carrying a weapon and they can expect to be dealt with robustly.”

An Essex Police spokeswoman added: “Essex is one of the safest counties in the country and does not experience the knife crime problems seen in other areas.

“However, one victim is one too many and we will seize every opportunity to continue to work to eradicate this type of crime from our streets.”

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