Community groups, local authorities and other public sector bodies in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are being urged to come together to help tackle knife crime.
At a Confidential Inquiry Session (CIS) with Staffordshire Police last week, Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis reinforced the need to keep the issue of knife crime as a priority following the release of national figures that showed such crime to be on the rise.
His concerns were echoed by last month’s Big Knife Crime Debate, which involved Staffordshire’s Youth Commission, criminology students from two US universities, Staffordshire Police officers, knife crime victims and experts.
Although knife crime is not as prevalent in Staffordshire as in some parts of the UK, the county has seen a significant rise in such crime, up 22 per cent in 12 months (compared to 30 per cent nationally). In the period from 2013-18, the youngest person identified was just five-years-old.
And the PCC hopes communities across Staffordshire will come together to look at ways of combating the growing menace.
Local authorities, criminal justice agencies, voluntary sectors, schools, colleges and universities, sporting associations, youth groups, medical sectors – the invite to take a stand, and make a difference, is extended to all.
Mr Ellis said: ‘Knife crime figures across some parts of the county are a cause of concern.
‘But police enforcement won’t solve the issue on its own – this is a societal issue and we really want to understand what is behind the rising figures.
‘It’s important we hear people’s views on this issue and what they feel can be done to reduce such crime. Why are people carrying and using knives?
‘There is some really good work going on throughout Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent by voluntary groups, communities and public bodies but we need to bring together those efforts in a more integrated way.
‘The talks I am having with other agencies suggests a more collaborative approach is needed to help tackle this devastating crime.’