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Nottinghamshire Police announce new role to help tackle knife crime

Simon Firth.
Simon Firth.

Nottinghamshire Police has appointed a new knife crime strategy manager.

Detective Superintendent Simon Firth (pictured) has been appointed to the position, to bring together all aspects of education, engagement and enforcement.

Nottinghamshire Police said he will also "pursue best practice in tackling knife crime" and introduce new measures to help reduce the number of people carrying knives and incidents where injury is caused by knives.

The force is currently the only one outside the Metropolitan Police with a dedicated knife crime team and has already given advice to other forces on how we operate on the issue.

Det Supt Firth's role will officially start on Monday, February 19.

The appointment comes as Nottinghamshire Police today begins its support of Operation Sceptre, a national campaign on knife crime throughout this week, by highlighting some of the work it does throughout the year to educate and prevent offences as well as pursue offenders.

Det Supt Firth said: "In recent years, sadly there appears to have been a change in the way people think about knife possession which means we are finding more young people who are willing to carry knives - whether they are carrying them with the intention of using them in a crime or they have a misguided belief it will 'protect' them.

"As a partnership and as a society in general we need to work out how we bring about a fundamental shift in that perception. Partnership working is absolutely key to doing that and a big part of my role will be to join forces with partners including the health service, local authorities, charities, schools and the communities themselves to develop a team mentality to tackling this issue."

Chief Constable Craig Guildford, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: "National Crime Recording changes aside, we have seen a slight increase in the number of offences where a knife is used, or carried, it is not simply an issue we can police our way out of. Tackling knife crime has got to be a priority for us all, and Simon’s role will enable him to bring together experts from all areas of society – such as education, health, and social care, to supporting families directly – to co-ordinate activity and tackle this challenging issue.

"As a police force our role is to pursue knife crime offenders and protect the public, however if we can get to a place where together we are preventing knife crime from happening in the first place, that is where I want us to be."

And Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: "My commitment to tackling knife crime is stronger than ever which is why we have invested some of the additional funding we will get in 2018/19 into tackling the problem.  

"This new role will boost the work of the knife crime team while gaining an insight into new and innovative approaches used to tackle and prevent this type of crime. 

"I am delighted that Simon has accepted the job. He brings a huge amount of experience and local knowledge to the role and I look forward to working with him. 

"At the end of the day, I know that people want to feel safe in their streets and neighbourhoods which is why overcoming the knife crime challenge is so important to me."