Only Cowards Carry campaigner says it’s time for action over weapon possession in Ipswich

The scene close to Cineworld at Cardinal Park in Ipswich following a reported stabbing. Picture: ADA

The scene close to Cineworld at Cardinal Park in Ipswich following a reported stabbing. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

“The more time people spend talking and not acting the more victims there will be.”

Caroline Shearer marking five years on from the murder of her son Jay Whiston. Caroline holding a pi

Caroline Shearer marking five years on from the murder of her son Jay Whiston. Caroline holding a picture of Jay and his sister Holly. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

That was the warning from an anti-weapons-carrying campaigner who lost her son after a stabbing in 2012, following the latest firearm and knife crimes in Ipswich.

On Friday officers were called to a reported stabbing in Cardinal Park, Ipswich, just days after an unrelated incident in Grove Lane where two people were reported to have been carrying guns and threatened three people in their home.

Caroline Shearer, an Essex mum who launched the Only Cowards Carry campaign to eradicate knife crime on the streets after her son Jay was murdered aged 17 at a Colchester house party in 2012, said action was needed.

“This problem needs to be eradicated but it’s not just the police that can do it. Parents, pupils, the community must get on side,” she said.

Police at the scene of an incident in Grove Lane, Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Police at the scene of an incident in Grove Lane, Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“It is so out of control everyone is just scratching their heads and talking.

“Action now is needed with education for pupils from schools, to disadvantaged children, to parents and communities.

“The more time people spend talking and not acting the more victims there will be.”

Only Cowards Carry is hoping to speak to Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore about putting its amnesty bins in Suffolk and delivering talks in schools to deliver “no frills and hard hitting training” to educate people on the consequences.

Chief Inspector Simon Mills said those who carry arms were more likely to use them

Chief Inspector Simon Mills said those who carry arms were more likely to use them - Credit: Archant

Most Read

Chief inspector Simon Mills from Suffolk police said that there was a public perception that knife and gun crime was on the increase, but officers also had to deal with other weapons such as recent acid attacks.

“In terms of the threat to the wider public, we still consider the risk relatively low – most of the offences involve victims and offenders who know each other,” he said.

Chief Insp Mills said that the force’s Bin A Blade campaign had helped remove many weapons from the streets of Ipswich, alongside weapons sweeps in areas like Jubilee Park, but warned that those who carry arms could find themselves using them even if that was not their intention.

He added: “We have seen a change in culture with youngsters where they are quite happy to carry a knife on their person, either for fear of violence towards them or if they are fearful of something that might take place in their area.

“We try and educate them of the consequences of using weapons – if you are carrying a weapon you are more inclined to use it.

“It may not be their intention to start with, and sometimes it’s a status symbol to their friends, but that’s where we say the risk is really high.

“Suffolk in comparison to other parts of the country is still relatively low, but we are doing a lot of work.

“We have already had a lot of success with weapon sweeps in Jubilee Park, and we are focused quite strongly on individuals carrying weapons.”

A 21-year-old from Colchester and a 19-year-old from Ipswich, who were arrested following the Cardinal Park incident have been released under investigation.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter