Help spread the word on knife crime
Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens writes on law and order issues facing our area.
RESIDENTIAL burglary, knife crime and the illegal supply of drugs have a devastating impact on our communities. I know local people continue to be very concerned about these crimes, as am I – especially with the ongoing national conversation about knife crime – and you want to be assured that the police are doing everything they can to tackle these issues.
With the council tax bill coming through our letterboxes recently, you will have noticed an increase for policing. By increasing policing by £2 a month for the average band D household, the Constabulary will be intensifying their fight against serious violence and continue to make our communities safe.
This investment means we can recruit an additional 100 new officers and launch a focused operation that will tackle burglary, knife crime and the supply of drugs as part of initiative called Operation Remedy. I want local people to see and feel the difference in our Constabulary’s fight against crime, and we will be sending a loud and clear message to criminals that coming into our area to commit crime and exploit the vulnerable is not an option.
Work to tackle knife crime and serious violence was intensified in mid-March as officers took part in Operation Sceptre, a week of action that aims to reduce the number of knives on our streets. The initiative incorporates several tactics including education of both young people and retailers, targeted patrols of hot spot areas, weapon sweeps and knife surrender bins.
We need to remember that knives do not keep you safe; by carrying a knife you are putting yourself in much greater danger and are more likely to become involved in a violent situation. We must work alongside other agencies in health, local government, the charitable sector and our communities to understand the reasons why young people are arming themselves. We need to make it clear it is never acceptable to carry a knife or a weapon. If you are worried that someone you know is carrying a knife but are nervous to talk to the police, you can contact Fearless (the Crimestoppers youth arm) anonymously and potentially help to save a life.
Finally, we also supported child exploitation (CE) awareness day. Children and young people can be victims of sexual or criminal exploitation in return for money, drugs, the newest trainers or simply just affection.
These children who are being exploited don’t think of themselves as victims; we need to be their voice, speak out on their behalf and raise awareness of the warning signs. Our frontline officers are working with hospitality businesses and taxis so employees can spot and speak out about this form of abuse. The police, educators, healthcare professionals, charities and youth workers need to continue to work in partnership and be the ones who ask, ask again and keep asking so we can stop the exploitation of our children. If you suspect a child is being exploited, please let the police, local authority or a charity know and help us end the cycle of abuse.