Suffolk sees biggest knife crime rise across England and Wales
PUBLISHED: 07:30 19 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:10 19 July 2019
Knife crime in Suffolk rose by 51% - the highest in England and Wales - while robbery also saw a sharp increase, according to latest statistics from the Home Office.
Total crime across Suffolk increased by 3% to 54,475, which was lower than the 8% rise across England and Wales, excluding fraud, to 5.2million in the year ending March 2019.
The number of knife and sharp instrument offences recorded by Suffolk police increased from 146 (from April 2017 to March 2018) to 221 (April 2018 to March 2019) - a 51% rise.
The Home Office crime data compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also revealed there were 477 recorded robberies - a rise of 32%, well above the national average of 11%.
Burglaries in the county fell by 12% to 3,817 against a national drop of 3% while drug offences also dropped by 13% to 1,344 when there was a national rise of 11%.
MORE: Father and stepmother of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens open youth club in bid to rebuild sense of community
The stepmother of murdered Ipswich teenager Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, Helen Forbes, admitted she was frustrated by issues in the town.
She said: "The rise is frightening, but it isn't the police's fault, they are rushed off their feet and doing all they can.
"I get a bit frustrated by it. We've seen youth clubs and centres close over the years and there isn't anything for the kids to do."
Tavis' father Neville Aitkens and Miss Forbes have recently set up a youth club at Nansen Road Baptist Church in the Nacton area in a bid to help people stay away from gangs.
"We've now got 60 children coming along and it keeps us focused," Miss Forbes added.
"We want to try to bring everyone together to give something back and really focus on the next generation."
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Speaking about the knife crime increase, ACC David Cutler said: "Any increase is really concerning for us and it is something we are focusing hard on.
"Working with a range of our partners, we are looking how to best get the message out there about the dangers of carrying a knife and the potential consequences.
"The last thing any of us want is what we have seen in Ipswich where people have been injured and lives have been lost.
"Any increase is not what we want to see but we are committed to doing something about it."
ACC Cutler added that an operational restructure in 2018 put more than 100 officers into safer neighbourhood teams, with further investment in the local policing response planned.
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