Knife crime, especially when it involves young people and teenagers, is worrying to all of us. There have been instances of knife crime in our area recently, but it is also a national concern. In April 2018, the Home Office’s Serious Violence Strategy document stated: “The evidence shows that while overall crime continues to fall, homicide, knife crime and gun crime have risen since 2014 across virtually all police force areas in England and Wales.”
Last December, both the Chesham and the Amersham Neighbourhood Policing Teams in our area identified tackling knife crime as a priority, following the meeting of the Chiltern Community Forum in November.
Nationally, the Home Secretary, Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, announced that the government is stepping up efforts to respond to knife crime and is seeking to introduce new orders to prevent criminals from carrying knives. The proposals would mean that the new deterrent can be imposed on any individual aged 12 or over, to prevent vulnerable young people from becoming involved in knife possession or crime. Knife Crime Prevention Orders could be imposed on anyone whom police officers believe are carrying a knife, those who are habitual knife carriers or people who have been previously convicted of committing a knife-related offence.
New civil orders will also restrict behaviour, by putting curfews or geographical restrictions in place, as well as limiting social media use.
Action is also planned against retailers who repeatedly sell knives to under-18s. This will include measures to deal with online sellers.
I know that many parents are worried about their children who think about carrying a knife because others around them do so. This spring, there will be a #knife free campaign launched, aiming to inspire young people to pursue positive alternatives. In Amersham, Thames Valley Police have a designated schools officer who is working with the Neighbourhood Teams and our local secondary schools.
[This article was first published in Your Chesham and Your Amersham]