L-R: Mark Dean; Chief Constable Craig Guildford; PCC Paddy Tipping; Rachel Tuffin; and Patrick Green
Representatives from the police and partner organisations, led by Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping, came together for a major conference on knife crime.
The PCC invited community safety, criminal justice, Local Authority and third sector partners from across the county and beyond to take part in his Knife Crime Conference this week to assess current knife crime problems in the county and identify action in preparation for the launch of his Knife Crime Strategy later this summer.
The event, which was hosted at The Atrium in Carrington, Nottingham, also featured the powerful testimony of Trish Bergan whose 27-year-old son Jerome Eugene Bergan was killed following a single stab wound to the chest in Strelley, Nottinghamshire, in December 2002.
The conference heard Mr Tipping outlining a raft of new measures to tackle knife crime across the county including the recruitment of 11 dedicated knife crime officers who will be assigned to schools in the county at an investment of more than £500,000.
The new police school liaison officers will be tasked with re-educating pupils on the dangers of carrying knives and building stronger relationships with young people at risk of knife crime as perpetrators or victims.
The PCC, who has already committed funding to employ a Knife Crime Strategy Manager, has also set aside more than £70,000 of his budget to fund community projects which work alongside disengaged young people and channel their energy into sport to prevent offending.
Mr Tipping said: “Knife crime is one of the most serious threats facing our young people today and it’s imperative that we act now before the next generation of children grow up and duplicate the violence they see from their peers.
“We need to stop young people carrying knives and this means reaching young children at an impressionable age who’ve not yet formed opinions or ideas about who they want to be. This is why it’s so important we develop a strong presence in our schools and steer young people in a positive direction.
“This conference brought together everybody affected by knife crime and those responding to it including the police, criminal justice partners and the third sector to decide the best way forward.”
Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: “The fact that so many agencies came together at this conference shows just how committed and enthusiastic we are about the Lives not Knives project and how strongly we feel that working together is the key to tackling this national problem.
“Like all other forces with a core city, we have seen an increase in knife crime following changes to crime recording but it still only accounts for a tiny proportion of all the crimes we deal with. Reducing knife crime remains one of our key priorities but this issue is far more complex than police just locking up offenders which is why it requires a united front from all avenues of our community.
“We have already set the plan in motion and over the coming weeks we have a number of measures in place that will sees us working with parents, community groups, schools, health services, local councils and other agencies to make it clear that carrying a knife should never be seen as acceptable and that our lives are better without them.
“If we all work together to spot the signs, educate people and take action as soon as we can, we can make a positive difference to people’s lives and make Nottinghamshire an even safer place to live and work.”
Nottingham City Council's Portfolio Holder for Community and Customer Services, Cllr Toby Neal, said: “Knife crime is something we all have a part to play in tackling and so it’s very positive for a range of agencies to come together to discuss the best ways to do this.
“It was a productive meeting where all organisations were able to share their own ways of approaching the issue and we discussed next steps in the fight this crime which can have such a devastating effect on victims, offenders, their families and the wider community.”
Dave Wakelin, Chair of the South Notts Community Safety Partnership Operational Group, added: “Today has been a key meeting to harness the Counties determination to reduce the harm caused by knives. Community Safety Partnerships are key to drive the activity needed around prevention in local areas, over the coming months we’ll be involving a range of local partners to join us in building up and delivering a range of interventions that are prevention and enforcement focused.”
The Conference featured presentations from knife crime experts including Patrick Green, chief executive of the Ben Kinsella Trust; Rachel Tuffin OBE, director of the College of Policing; Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police Craig Guilford; and Det Supt Simon Firth from Nottinghamshire Police.
Following the presentations, delegates were invited to take part in a host of table-top workshop discussions discussing safeguarding and prevention.
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Posted on Tuesday 1st May 2018