Knife crime in Nottinghamshire has fallen sharply – bucking national trends which has seen the number of similar offences in England and Wales rise to a new record high, says the Office for National Statistics.
The force saw a 13 percent reduction in the number of knife offences in the year end to March 2020. This is in stark contrast to the national and regional picture, where knife crime increased by six percent in England and Wales and by 11 percent in the East Midlands.
The reduction is a result of sustained and tactical proactive engagement with local communities in order to prevent knife crime, coupled with investment into the force’s Knife Crime Team and Robbery Team, who focus on tackling weapon-enabled violence.
Schools and Early Intervention Officers have also been working hard in secondary schools across Nottinghamshire to drive home the prevention message over the last three academic years – prior to schools closing due to Coronavirus – and further PCC investment has gone into launching the Dare 25 programme in primary schools, which includes bespoke education on knife crime.
Chief Constable Craig Guildford feels a combination of factors has contributed to the drop in knife crime. He said: “Our focus has been unrelenting around knife crime. People will see that knife crime figures have increased nationally by around six percent and there’s lots of hard work going on locally to reduce this type of offending.
“To see a 13 percent reduction in the number of offences before Coronavirus social distancing measures came into place is something that I think the public will be reassured by and that is down to a lot of hard work across Nottinghamshire Police.
“We’ve achieved this as a result of excellent work with our partners, focusing and targeting the right people thanks to excellent intelligence gathering from our local communities and therefore checking and searching the right people, which ultimately leads to preventing crime.
“We have a dedicated knife crime analyst and researcher whose work helps us to identify hotspots and trends. This allows us to be very targeted with our patrols and other initiatives to tackle knife crime.
“Street outreach workers, a custody diversion scheme and other initiatives including the Ben Kinsella Trust at the National Justice Museum serve to educate young people and help them to make positive life choices.
“Working with our partners in the city and county Youth Justice Services, among others, we have adopted a tailored approach to each individual to ensure they get access to the right kind of support.
“The whole of the force has got behind this and our crime reduction performance has been very impressive in all types of offences.
“That being said, it is also important for me to say that our job will never be done. We are here for you and it is important that we keep responding to local information so please contact the police, give us the information and we will continue to help you.”
Chief Inspector Kathryn Craner, Nottinghamshire Police’s Force Lead for Knife Crime, added: “The Knife Crime Team has been working incredibly hard over the past few years with the goalof clamping down on the illegal possession of knives.
“We are making good progress in our commitment to knife crime and we will continue to focus our efforts into preventing knives from being used on the streets of Nottinghamshire.
“I am pleased with the reduction but we are not complacent. I look forward to the extra resources we have at our disposal thanks to the funding secured by the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) and further Home Office funding.”
This year, it was announced that Nottinghamshire Police would receive £1,003,730 of Home Office funding to help tackle violent and knife crime.
Chief Constable Guildford added: “The extra funding is a welcome boost to our ongoing work to tackle and further reduce knife crime through a combination of education and enforcement.
“The force has invested heavily in a programme of recruitment of officers, with 282 more officers recruited into the front line a year ahead of schedule. We are well on with recruiting another 300 officers this financial year too.
“The VRU funding and Home Office surge funding we have received has also been used to target additional patrols and other officer activity to combat knife crime.
“Overall, we have a very robust approach to dealing with knife crime offenders, including youth offenders, to ensure that no opportunity is missed to divert them away from this kind of offending.”
If you have any concerns about knife crime in your area, please contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101.