5 March 2019
More police officers and increased use of stop and search would help tackle the knife crime epidemic, according to Leicestershire Police Federation chair Dave Stokes.
But he said officers needed to have confidence that the public supported the use of stop and search.
“It is a complex issue,” says Dave, “I think the Prime Minister comes across as quite arrogant when she asserts that there is no correlation between the increase in knife crime and the cuts to police numbers that she presided over as Home Secretary.
“She needs to listen to police leaders. This morning we had the country’s top police officer, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, saying that there is a link between the upsurge in knife crime and reduced numbers of officers and she went as far as to say that Theresa May has got it wrong.
“National Federation chair John Apter has also weighed into the debate, calling for an investment in policing, increased use of stop and search and also tougher sentences, with new jails if necessary, for those caught carrying knives.
“Of course, there are other issues, we need to look into education, particularly at a secondary level, and partnership working with community groups but we need to act, and act fast. It is absolutely shocking to see the number of young people tragically losing their lives while we all wait for the Government to get it act together.”
John Apter, who was interviewed by many media outlets today, said Mrs May is ‘delusional’ and called the knife crime epidemic a national crisis.
“Policing has been stripped to the bone and the consequences are clear - splashed across newspapers front pages and TV news bulletins; children being murdered on our streets,” he said.
“What makes this all the more sickening is that it was predicted. This is the true cost of austerity that we warned of but were ridiculed for doing so. Theresa May herself accused the Police Federation of ‘crying wolf’ when we highlighted our concerns. Those concerns have become a reality but still the Prime Minister fails to accept the harsh truth.”
He added: “What we need now is less talk and more action, fewer policies and more police officers - boots on the ground, out there on our streets making a real difference, protecting our youngsters. Yet politicians, who have it in their power to make this effective and meaningful change, choose to merely tinker around the edges with new-look ASBOs and catchy hashtags.
“The public deserve better, they need our so-called leaders to step up and lead, to stop the bloodshed and end this criminal waste of young life.”
Home Secretary Sajid Javid is chairing a roundtable with chief constables on Wednesday (6 March) to discuss the crisis.