5 February 2019
Nothing other than a substantial investment in extra police officers will resolve the violence and knife-crime epidemic.
That’s the view of Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton.
Tony, speaking after the Home Office put forward plans to give police extra powers to combat knife, explained: “It’s all very well introducing new legislation and controls but with 21,000 fewer officers around the country, who’s going to enforce them? Who does the Government think is going to monitor these individuals and their social media activity?
“It’s the decimation of police numbers that has led to the violence and knife-crime epidemic and it is ludicrous to think that anything other than a substantial investment in extra officers will resolve it.”
The Home Office has announced it is seeking to amend the Offensive Weapons Bill with:
The new Knife Crime Prevention Orders would be given to anyone aged 12 or over with the aim of stopping vulnerable young people from becoming involved in knife possession and knife crime. They would fill a gap not covered by gang injunctions and criminal behaviour orders.
Introducing the measures, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I have been clear that I will do everything in my power to tackle the senseless violence that is traumatising communities and claiming too many young lives.
“The police already have a range of measures they are using to keep our streets safe, but there is more we can do to help them in this battle. I have listened to their calls and will be introducing these new orders to stop gang members carrying knives in the first place.
“It is vital we continue to focus on improving the law enforcement response while at the same time steering young people away from criminal activity in the first place.”
But the national chair of the Police Federation, John Apter, claimed the Home Secretary had, yet again, missed the opportunity to make a significant impact on knife crime.
“The Government is simply tinkering around the edges of this highly complex and very serious issue. While I cannot fault Mr Javid’s intentions, I do not hold out much hope that these measures will have the dramatic impact I am sure he is hoping they will,” John said.
And he added: “Mr Javid says he has listened to the police. But his hearing appears to be selective. I urge him to listen now, to listen to the public, and to listen to my members when they tell him the most effective way to address this problem is by putting more police boots on the ground.
“We need officers out on our streets actively targeting this crime epidemic where it is happening, and helping to stop yet more lives being lost to this preventable evil.”
*Officer numbers have fallen every year since 2010. At the end of September 2018, there were 21,000 fewer officers across England and Wales than there were in 2010 (Source Home Office).