Policing Minister visits Sussex to see how the force is combating knife crime
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Sussex Police has welcomed the Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire to look at how the force is combating knife crime in hotspot areas.
Chris Philp MP visited Brighton on Wednesday, November 16, alongside Sussex Police Chief Constable Jo Shiner, the force leads for serious violence and knife crime Chief Inspector Simon Yates and Sergeant Liz Reschwamm, and Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne.
The visit was scheduled during Op Sceptre week – the nationwide intensification on tackling knife crime and highlighting the dangers of carrying a knife.
During his visit the minister engaged with officers to see what the force is doing to combat knife crime, observed a knife sweep with volunteers, took part in a hotspot patrol and visited a knife crime engagement van.
Figures show since 2019 knife crime in hotspot areas has dropped by 50% in the 15 hotspot areas across the county.
Each hotspot covers an area of approximately 150m² where serious violence is most concentrated.
The cost of crime within the hotspot areas has decreased by 19.5% since the 2019 benchmark which saves society more than £1.5 million.
The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows Sussex recorded 57 knife offences per 100,000 population in the year ending June 2022, which is lower than the national average of 84 per 100,000 based on the 37 forces who use this methodology.
Chief Inspector Simon Yates said: “It was a brilliant opportunity to host the minister so he could see and hear first hand the proactive work being taken in Sussex to prevent serious violence and knife crime. We were also able to demonstrate how we work with other agencies to keep knives off our streets.
“Sussex has been and continues to be a safe place to live and this is supported by the latest ONS figures.
“Throughout Op Sceptre week our officers have been engaging with the public to inform them what we are doing to keep our communities safe, and what they should do if they have any concerns around knife crime.
“If there is anyone reading this who has a weapon they would like to dispose of I would urge them to use one of the many amnesty bins we have across the county.”
Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire Chris Philp said: “Every knife seized is a potential life saved. While knife crime is down across the country, we cannot be complacent and are acting to prevent more devastation.
“We're giving our police the resources they need to tackle serious violence, recruiting 20,000 additional police officers by March 2023 including 309 recruited by Sussex Police already. We’re also bringing greater powers to stop and search known knife offenders.
“I thank Sussex Police’s officers for their intensive efforts, this week and every week, to cut serious violence and steer young people back on track.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “The Policing Minister’s visit during Op Sceptre week shows the Government’s continuing commitment to support police action against knife crime.
“I’m delighted that Sussex Police are able to show that their efforts and innovation have successfully driven down knife offences. The combination of really creative engagement with young people, the use of amnesty bins and targeted enforcement is making Sussex’s streets safer.”
Find out more about Op Safety which is the Sussex Police response to serious violence and knife crime here.