Suffolk hit by knife crime

KNIFE crime is affecting almost every town and village in Suffolk, it has emerged.

KNIFE crime is affecting almost every town and village in Suffolk, it has emerged.

No fewer than 54 separate areas of the county recorded knife-related offences between January last year and March 2007 - including some of Suffolk's most idyllic villages, seaside towns and hamlets.

Figures show 435 offences involving a blade - including possession, violence, disorder and criminal damage - were committed in Suffolk in the 15 months from January last year.

Ipswich recorded the most knife offences at 145, followed by Lowestoft at 76, Haverhill at 34 and Bury St Edmunds at 28. Felixstowe recorded the fifth highest figure at 21.

Among the incidents in which a knife was used in the seaside town was robbery, racially or religiously-aggravated fear or provocation, assault causing actual bodily harm and possession of a knife.

Many villages recorded a single knife-related offence. While most of these were possession of a knife, some were at the top end of seriousness, ranging from threats to kill, robbery and wounding.

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Other offences in villages ranged from threats to kill, affray to criminal damage and possession of a knife.

Knife crime rose marginally last year from 337 in 2005 to 353 in 2006 and officers are going into schools to drive home their message.

A spokesperson for Suffolk police said: “Suffolk is one of the safest counties in the country and Suffolk Constabulary wants to do everything within its power to ensure that it stays that way.

“It is important that these figures, which cover a 15 month period, are seen in context, i.e. only a very small percentage of them relate to stranger attacks where the victim suffers physical harm. The majority were detected when offenders were dealt with for other unrelated offences.

“Knife crime has no place here and anyone caught in possession of a knife without a genuine reason will be dealt with to the full extent that the law allows.”

Is knife crime a problem in Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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