Sutton named as hotspot for knife crime as county incidents soar

The knife amnesty will run for six weeks.
The knife amnesty will run for six weeks.

Sutton has been revealed as one of Nottinghamshire’s worst areas for knife crime as knife-related incidents rose across the county by 15 per cent this year.

New figures published this week show there has been a 15 per cent rise in knife crime offences in Nottinghamshire for the first six months of this year, with 70 recorded in both May and June across the county.

Last year’s monthly average was just 48.

The increase was revealed at a meeting of Nottingham Police and Crime panel on Monday where the force revealed a specialist knife crime team was achieving positive results in bringing knife crime down.

A separate Freedom of Information request has revealed there were 32 knife crime incidents in Sutton from June 1 2015 to May 2016.

There were six in Kirkby during the same period.

An Ashfield councillor has called for more action by the police and Ashfield District Council to tackle the problem after three stabbings - one of them fatal - in three weeks in his ward.

Ashfield District Council has defended its approach to tackling the issues surrounding knife crime.

Coun Jason Zadrozny:

Independent Councillor Jason Zadrozny said: “When there were about 30 community protection officers (CPOs) patrolling the streets, crime dipped . The number in Ashfield has gone down to 10

“Over the last few weeks there have been three stabbings in three weeks within a few hundred metres of each other, at Gleneagles Drive and Lemmington in my Larwood ward. People are dying on the streets of Ashfield and no one is getting a grip on the problem.

“I have written to ask what the council was doing to address the fact that we have reduced the CPOs from 30 to 10.

“Criminals are realising there is less of a presence on the street and they are feeling more able to carry weapons.

“The council needs to set out what it is doing with the police with a forward-thinking plan, including early intervention on domestic violence, and there needs to be more high visibility patrols in problem areas, whether it is PCSOs , CPOs or the police.”

District Council:

A spokesman for Ashfield District Council said: “Ashfield District Council is working with Nottinghamshire Police to reduce knife crime across the district and is focussing upon domestic violence-related incidents.

“The council is committed to supporting residents facing domestic violence and has worked with partner agencies to develop and improve a range of preventative and support services available to victims and vulnerable individuals.”

He said the authority has invested in a domestic violence prevention officer, currently on a fixed-term basis, to bolster efforts to raise awareness and ensure domestic violence victims approaching the council are offered more specialist support, help and guidance.

This involves understanding the needs of the victim and their circumstances and working closely with them including home visits being made as often as possible.

In the first five months of 2016, 29 women have been supported by the Domestic Violence Prevention Officer who has worked with Women’s Aid Integrated Services and other support services including the Council’s Housing Options Service to ensure suitable accommodation can be found for persons wishing to flee from domestic violence or risk measures put in place.

He said domestic violence can take many forms such as psychological, emotional, physical, sexual and financial and is quite often something that occurs behind closed doors.

It can in some circumstances lead to homicide which is why awareness raising, support and accommodation is so important. The Council also offers a sanctuary scheme to cover the cost of security measures to ensure victims feel more secure in their own homes where suitable.

He added: “Community protection has moved on from an initial emphasis of tackling on-street ASB through high visibility patrolling, to a more successful approach which not only seeks to confront issues directly on street, but also works with victims over time and build cases against offenders where necessary.

Community protection officers support the police in gathering intelligence in relation to knife crime and the Council actively utilises evidence to evict or apply for appropriate sanctions of any offenders of knife crime or domestic violence who are Council tenants. The current service is more effective and sophisticated in its approach.

Since 2009, the community protection staffing levels have risen from 23 to 26. This is made up of the community protection manager, three team leaders, 12 CPOs and nine ASB and nuisance case workers, and a domestic violence prevention officer.

Councillor Cheryl Butler said: “Crime of any type is unacceptable, domestic violence is particularly horrendous. This is why Labour in Ashfield are set to agree the continued funding of a stand alone domestic violence officer. This is one of the most important non-statutory services we provide at Ashfield District Council.

“I am pleased that, even though funding from central Government continues to be cut, since Labour took control of the council in 2009 we have increased our community protection staff levels from 23 to 26.”

Coun Lee Anderson:

Labour Councillor Lee Anderson said: “The increase in knife crime is deeply concerning to all Ashfield residents.

“We need to be working with the police to stop it happening and to make sure offenders are prosecuted and punished.

“Chad readers will be aware that one Kirkby woman lost her life and her partner has been charged with her murder.

“Though the council has seen eye watering cuts in its budget we take domestic violence very seriously and have appointed a member of staff to deal solely with this issue.

“Scoring cheap political points doesn’t help anyone.

“We need an increased police presence but the last government which was supported by Cllr Zadrozny cut over 30,000 police jobs.”

The 15 per cent increase in knife crime across Nottinghamshire was revealed at a meeting of Nottingham Police and Crime panel on Monday.

The meeting heard that Nottinghamshire police and crime commissioner, Paddy Tipping had made tackling knife crime a priority in his Police and Crime Plan for 2016-2018.

He said: “Knife crime is a serious offence and I know that some residents in Nottinghamshire have been seriously injured recently.

Nottinghamshire Police has its own knife crime unit and arrests are being made and people prosecuted.

“The most sensible way forward is for no-one to carry a knife, then no-one can get hurt by it.”

Measures taken include setting up a dedicated team to bring knife crime down.

The knife crime team (KCT) introduced in January 2016 is an intelligence led team whose aim is to reduce knife crime through providing an on-street presence.

The report said the KCT has had a positive effect on knife-enabled crime figures with a 62.5 per cent month-on month reduction between January and March 2016.

Data showed that in the weeks immediately prior to the KCT, knife crime was showing an upward trend which reversed, the report added.

The reduction in knife crime was most effective during the weeks where the KCT was actively patrolling an area.

While the KCT was present there was a 20 per cent reduction in anti-social behaviour.

The team had disrupted the activities of knife carriers, drug dealers and other criminals.

Targeted stop searches had produced positive outcomes as high as 44 per cent.