Commissioner’s blog – we can all help to prevent knife crime on our streets

Hardly a day goes by when we are not hearing about knife crime on the news.

There have been a number of very high profile incidents in which young people have been killed or seriously injured by others using knives as weapons.

This is a challenging time for police forces across the country however we are not seeing in Cambridgeshire the levels of knife crime which are happening elsewhere.  

But that does not mean any of us can rest on our laurels. Prevention is always a far better solution than just dealing with the aftermath of tragedy.

In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, we have already started work on a new project targeting those young people most at risk of becoming involved in knife crime.

At the beginning of the summer I announced that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are getting around £385,000 to support young people from getting involved in knife crime.

Following a successful partnership bid for Home Office funding with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Youth Offending Service, the grant will fund a team of specialist workers to support young people with complex needs who are at significant risk of criminal exploitation and youth violence.

The Home Office has made up to £22 million available through its Early Intervention Youth Fund over 12 months to Police and Crime Commissioners to prevent and tackle serious youth violence and child exploitation and I’m pleased to see our bid for funding was successful.

This project is vital because it means through intensive one-to-one support, this team of skilled workers can help high-risk young people get out of that downward spiral into criminal activity, understand the risks they are taking and give them the opportunity to remove themselves from risky behaviour and situations and make better life choices for themselves whilst at the same time making communities safer.

It is not just a police initiative, it brings together the police and youth offending services to work together to get to the root causes of the issue.

And I strongly believe that tackling knife crime is not something the police can do in isolation. We can all do our bit to make our streets safer. Schools and education, social care, and lots of other agencies all have a role to play if we are to successfully stamp out knife crime from our streets.

Our communities have a very important role in helping to prevent knife crime by being the police’s eyes and ears out in the community. If you hear or see that a young person in your community seems to be falling in with the wrong crowd then could you make a difference? Many young people don’t realise that even the act of just carrying a knife is a criminal offence and if convicted could lead to four years in prison.

If you know them well maybe you could speak to them personally, or even by reporting any suspicious behaviour to the police could help prevent situations from escalating or crimes from being committed.

Young people can find themselves being pressurised into organised and violent crimes when they are disengaged from their communities.

Many older people often hark back to the halcyon days when neighbours kept a watchful eye over younger members of their community.

Without looking at the world through rose tinted glasses, I think all our communities would benefit if more of us did just that and rather than keeping ourselves to ourselves were more aware of those living around us.

By making knife crime all of our business, hopefully we can stop it being a problem on our streets. 

If you have any questions about knife crime, please email whatsthepoint@cambs.pnn.police.uk.

Or if you would like to share information with the police or have any concerns about knife crime, you can report it on-line or call 999 in an emergency.

To find out more about what is and isn’t legal when buying, selling or carrying knives visit https://www.gov.uk/buying-carrying-knives.