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Zero tolerance to knife crime

30 August 2022

You may have heard last week in the news that heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury is calling for tougher sentences for those involved in knife crime after his cousin, Rico Burton, was stabbed to death in Manchester. Fury described knife crime in Britain as a ‘pandemic’ and I agree with him.

Then over the weekend, we saw more stabbings in London following Notting Hill Carnival.

My police and crime plan outlines my zero tolerance approach to knife crime. Sadly, young people are most at risk of being injured by knives. But the drivers for knife crime and the solutions are often misunderstood. More police on the streets and increased uses of stop and search certainly helps, which is why I am recruiting 600 extra police officers here in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

My police and crime plan outlines my zero tolerance approach to knife crime. Sadly, young people are most at risk of being injured by knives. But the drivers for knife crime and the solutions are often misunderstood. More police on the streets and increased uses of stop and search certainly helps, which is why I am recruiting 600 extra police officers here in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Increased sentencing for those caught carrying a knife or bladed article was enacted earlier this year as part of The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, and that is absolutely another, welcomed deterrent.

However, these consequences are sometimes not enough to prevent a young person from deciding to carry a knife. Knife crime is a societal issue and often starts with teenagers, mostly young boys, connected to drug taking and drug dealing. Parents and education partners are key to preventing a young person from making the decision to pick up a knife, not just the police. Realistically, the police are there to intervene when an incident happens, to remove the weapons from the streets and take appropriate action. Hampshire Constabulary has an excellent track record of tackling knife crime and officers prevent hundreds of serious injuries and deaths per year through proactive operations and interventions.

As Commissioner, I am committed to tackling knife crime through funding early intervention and prevention projects, specifically through Violence Reduction Units which are focussed on stopping young people from committing serious violence. Schools, parents and guardians of young people have a responsibility too. Young people need to feel safe so that picking up a knife ‘for protection’ isn’t an option. A knife won’t protect them, it will just make them more at risk of being a victim of knife crime themselves.

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