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Knife crime reaches new five-year high in Suffolk and Essex

PUBLISHED: 17:26 15 September 2017 | UPDATED: 18:02 15 September 2017

Knife crime is on the rise in Suffolk and Essex. Picture: KATIE COLLINES/PA WIRE

Knife crime is on the rise in Suffolk and Essex. Picture: KATIE COLLINES/PA WIRE

Some young people see knives as being “part of their uniform”, police admit, after the latest figures showed a fresh five-year high in the crime.

The number of offenders cautioned or sentenced after being caught with knives in Suffolk and Essex has hit the highest level for five years.

Ministry of Justice statistics show there were 183 knife possession cases in Suffolk where offenders were dealt with by the criminal justice system in the 12-month period to June 2017.

This was the highest since 2012, when the figure was 192, but lower than when the figures were first recorded in 2009 (266).

In Essex, the number of knife possession offences resulting in a caution or sentence in the 12 months to June 2017 stood at 490. It was also the highest since 2012 (564), but lower than 866 in 2009.

The findings come amid concern about a surge in knife violence in both counties.

In Suffolk, concerns are growing over London gangs and drug-related offences.

Suffolk Constabulary has stepped up action to act on rising knife crime, carrying out weapon sweeps and intelligence-led raids.

• The Ipswich Star and East Anglian Daily Times launched an anti-knife campaign in Suffolk and Essex.

Seven people have lost their lives in stabbings since December.

Nationally, police say youths are increasingly keeping blades on them for reasons including “status” and self-protection. Campaigners warn youngsters are becoming increasingly desensitised to knife crime.

Chief Inspector Simon Mills, of Suffolk Constabulary, has previously said: “Knife crime can have devastating consequences and if you are found illegally in possession of a knife you will be arrested, could be put before the court and brought to justice.”

Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said: “We need to do all we can through education, peer pressure, policing and sentencing to make it absolutely clear that it’s never acceptable to carry a knife.”

Essex Police said their figures were skewed by international arrests at Stansted Airport.

A force spokesman said: “We know that violent crime involving knives has gone up. We know that London drugs gangs have expanded their activities into places like Essex and have brought with them into the county more violence and knives being used as normal.

“We’d agree that there are groups of young people who see knives as part of their “uniform”. Our view is that carrying a knife, whatever your intentions, massively increases your risk of coming to harm.

“Knife crime in Essex still shocks communities and we don’t recognise a desensitisation but some young people living lifestyles that bring them into contact with gang activity will be familiar with peers carrying knives.

“Our activities on knife crime include putting knife amnesty bins in key areas and towns, intelligence led operations to stop and search people at risk of carrying knives and visiting schools and colleges to educate young people about the risks of carrying a knife.”

Three people are due to appear in court on Monday after an elderly woman had her handbag stolen in Felixstowe town centre on Saturday afternoon.

Emergency services were called to a two-vehicle crash at a busy junction in Ipswich on Sunday night.

Widespread snow has been forecast for Suffolk and Essex next week, starting on Monday morning. Find out here if your local school in Suffolk or Essex has been forced to close fully or partially on Monday.

A man arrested after reportedly being armed with a gun and allegedly holding a young woman against her will at a house in Ipswich this morning has been released under investigation, pending further enquiries, police have said.

Police searching for missing Kesgrave man Paul Moore, who has not been seen for almost three weeks, have made an arrest.

I promised to write more about the café/restaurant on the corner of Fore Street and Neptune Lane cutting down to the Quayside. You will probably recall it as the Neptune Café but it has traded under a variety of names.

With temperatures due to plunge and three days of snow warnings, calls are being made for neighbours to look out for the more vulnerable people in their communities.

Meet Ally – a devoted guide dog who is being forced to retire early after she was attacked six times in Suffolk.

A man has been bailed after a jogger was allegedly attacked in an area of woodland near Foxhall Stadium in Ipswich.

Emergency services were called to the Orwell Bridge area on Sunday afternoon after two motorists reported seeing a man leaning over the bridge parapet.

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