Police say they are working ‘constantly’ to ensure Derbyshire’s streets are safe – as figures reveal an increase in knife crime across the county.
According to Government data, Derbyshire Constabulary recorded 48 offences involving knives or sharp instruments per 100,000 people in 2017-18. The figure was 35 in 2010-11 – representing a 36 per cent rise in that seven-year period.
A knife surrender is taking place across Derbyshire this week to reduce the risk of weapons falling into the wrong hands.
The surrender is part of a national anti-knife crime initiative called Operation Spectre.
Forty-one people have been killed in stabbings in the UK this year.
Hardyal Dhindsa, Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “The knife crime problem on Britain’s streets is a national problem and Derbyshire is not as badly affected as many other areas.
“Research shows that around three quarters of knife crime incidents are related to drugs and serious and organised gangs, so the chief constable and I are calling a meeting with our partners – city, district and county councils and others responsible for community safety – to discuss how we can work in partnership.
“But our partners are struggling for funds to pay for the type of activities that will divert people away from a life of crime.
“In the force we are seeing the results of nearly a decade of cuts and the loss of 400 officers and a similar number of police staff.
“That’s why I’ve added my voice to those calling for Government intervention and investment.
“We must act, and act now, to bring a halt to this horrifying list of unnecessary tragedies.”
A spokesperson for Derbyshire Constabulary said: “Derbyshire, like many areas in the country, has seen an increase in knife crime and the reasons are many faceted.
“Project Zao, a Derbyshire police-led initiative to reduce knife crime in the county, has been running for a number of years now and is seen as a beacon for other forces as a long-term, joined up and multi-agency approach to combatting knife crime.”
Inspector Richard Keene, who is responsible for Project Zao, said: “We are leading the way when it comes to our approach and engagement work into knife crime – but we are not complacent and realise every serious knife crime incident is one to many and we will work constantly to ensure the streets of the county are as safe as is possible.
“While Project Zao includes educational elements in terms of visiting schools and warning on the dangers of carrying a knife, our message is clear: where we have information that individuals are carrying knives we will act on it by using our powers of stop search and arrest where necessary and people will be brought to justice.”
He added: “This week we are fully participating in the Home Office’s Operation Sceptre but for us it is not just a week of action but an all year round focus on this issue.”