Knife crimes on the rise as police look to install surrender bin in Weston-super-Mare

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 May 2018

Hundreds of knives have been collected, but there is not yet a surrender bin in North Somerset. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Hundreds of knives have been collected, but there is not yet a surrender bin in North Somerset. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

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Knife crimes have a ‘devastating effect’ on individuals and communities, says the Police and Crime Commissioner as blade-based crimes are on the rise.

Sue Mountstevens said the repercussions of knife and serious violent crime ‘are vast’ and ‘will not be tolerated’ by the police.

Home Office figures revealed Avon and Somerset Constabulary recorded 550 crimes in which knives were used in 2017.

The most common offence recorded was assault with injury or intent to cause serious harm.

There were 284 such incidents recorded in 2017, which were 52 per cent of all knife crimes.

Other knife crimes included 197 robberies, eight murders, nine attempted murders, nine rapes and four sexual assaults and 39 death threats.

Ms Mountstevens said: “Although the increase in knife crime in Avon and Somerset has been less than in other areas, it’s important to continue disrupting criminal activity, taking as many knives off our streets as possible.

“Knives cost lives and we must never be complacent about it.”

Ms Mountstevens said prevention ‘is key’ to tackle knife and serious violent crimes.

Since May 2013, she has awarded more than £700,000 to voluntary organisations and community groups to provide ‘diversionary activities’ for young people.

But, while the force is doing everything it can to curb the crime, Ms Mountstevens said ‘striking the balance’ between tackling offenders and exploring preventative measures is ‘tricky’, especially when resources are ‘already stretched’.

Sergeant Mike Vass, who co-ordinates the force’s work on knife crime, said: “We are committed to tackling knife crime using various tactics such as enforcement, education, intervention and deterrence.

“We know one of the key areas is educating younger people about the dangers of carrying a knife and how it can destroy lives and families.

“That’s why we are focussing much of our work on education – going into schools and delivering hard hitting workshops which really bring home the impact knives can have not just on individuals, but on families and communities.”

The force has also hosted knife amnesties and set up knife surrender bins around the force area.

The police are now looking at placing a permanent bin in Weston for the first time.

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