'Parents, question your children's friendships' – appeal follows stabbing
An Ipswich police sergeant has urged the community to give up anyone involved in violent crime, following the third stabbing in the town in the past two weeks.
Sergeant Vicky McParland’s safer neighbourhood team were stationed at a mobile police unit in Ravenswood on Thursday.
Sgt McParland was shocked by the victims’ ages – two in their teens – and by the public nature of the most recent incident.
“The victims in these case have been kids,” she said.
“As shocking, is how low people stoop.
“They don’t care if the public are in McDonald’s with their kids.
“We don’t want these people in Ipswich or in Suffolk.
“The community knows who is carrying weapons.
“If you are a parent, ask yourself, what do you know about your children? Are you questioning their friendships?
“On each occasion, we’ve made arrests. These have been targeted incidents, but we need intelligence from the wider community.”
Sgt McParland said anyone fearing repercussions of talking to the police can use other means, through Crimestoppers and online resources like fearless.org, which gives access to understanding criminality and how to report it.
“If you are in school and know someone is carrying a knife, tell your teacher,” she added.
“If you’re in trouble, speak to your parents or a social worker.”
She said police want to make it “unpleasant and uncomfortable” for criminals, but that it could only happen with the community giving people up.
“We all have a moral and social responsibility to stop this happening,” said Sgt McParland, whose colleagues have adopted the social media hashtag LivesNotKnives.
“That’s really key,” she said.
“This isn’t like a video game – you can’t reset and start again.”
The mobile police unit has been in circulation since the murder of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens to provide reassurance, a base for patrolling officers and a point of contact for public concerns or information.
Inspector Andy Pursehouse said: “We won’t solve this on our own.
“We all need to come together, identify what’s going on and who’s involved, and work with education, social services and all across the board to make sure we are getting that message out there – that carrying knives is causing these problems, and we need to be working together to tackle this.”