The mother of a boy stabbed to death in Haverhill has said stricter knife crime laws are “vital” following a government crackdown on banned weapons.

The government is set to toughen laws on zombie knives, which were previously defined as knives with a cutting edge and a serrated edge and "images or words that suggest that it is to be used for the purpose of violence".

The new laws, which will come into effect in September, are set to ban zombie knives with no threatening words or images.

The maximum sentence for possessing banned weapons will be increased from six months to two years.

Bernice Barfield, mother of 16-year-old Harley Barfield who was murdered in a knife attack on January 9 last year and died in hospital two days later, said the new laws were an improvement but argued there is further “vital” work to be done.

Ipswich Star: Harley Barfield picture with mother BerniceHarley Barfield picture with mother Bernice (Image: Bernice Barfield)

She has set up a petition to introduce a mandatory minimum sentence for possession of a knife which has got almost 3,000 signatures in two days.

Ms Barfield said bringing in strict new laws should be an immediate priority.

She said: “It’s paramount. There’s no deterrent. It’s kids killing kids now. It’s vital there are changes.

“Kids are being killed over nothing. It’s mindless. It’s not just devastating for my family but for every family affected.”

Tim Passmore, Suffolk's police and crime commissioner, added: “I welcome these changes to ban the sale and possession of zombie-style knives.

Ipswich Star: Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk Tim PassmorePolice and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk Tim Passmore (Image: Sarah Lucy Brown)

“Anything that helps reduce the number of weapons on our streets has got to be a good thing. 

“I really hope this will make it almost impossible for people to get a hold of these dangerous weapons and will allow the police to prosecute those who supply or sell them.”

Home Secretary James Cleverly has previously said the steps being taken this week are "further strengthening" the government's ability to tackle knife crime.

He added: "We'll add to what has been a success story since 2019. We've seen a very significant reduction in knife crime over that time.

"We have a plan which is working and driving down knife crime."