Knife Crime: Is it a problem in West Sussex?
The evidence shows that whilst overall crime continues to fall, knife crime has risen since 2014 across virtually all police force areas in England and Wales. These increases have been accompanied by a shift towards young victims and perpetrators. But is knife crime an issue in Sussex and more importantly what do our young people have to say about it?
West Sussex County Council organised an event (19th September 2019) to find out the answers to these questions. They invited West Sussex Youth Cabinet, UK Youth Parliament Members and West Sussex MPs to debate on knife crime.
Their discussions were stimulated by informative talks from Sussex Police, the Police & Crime Commissioner’s REBOOT team and members from the Youth Offending Service who all gave clarity on the impact of knife crime in West Sussex.
Ellie Roberts, 18, West Sussex Youth Cabinet Chairman, said: “We are grateful to be given the opportunity to discuss this growing issue which affects the lives of young people in West Sussex and all over the country. The Youth Cabinet is committed to continuing to raise awareness of knife crime and the damage it causes.”
Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, comments:
“It was great that my REBOOT team had the opportunity to speak to young people and stimulate discussion on the dangers of carrying knives and repercussions that follow. Many of us underestimate just how tuned in young people are to the issues society faces, so it is refreshing that West Sussex County Council have given their Youth Cabinet and Youth Parliament Members the platform to raise their concerns on the issue.
“We have successfully secured just over £4million in the last year for Sussex Police and Partners to address youth crime and exploitation, knife crime and modern slavery. It’s important that young people know how this money is being spent and have a say on the approach we are taking to safeguarding and securing their futures.”
Commenting on knife crime in Sussex, Superintendent Miles Ockwell said:
“Although knife crime in Sussex remains low, there have been a number of recent, quite disturbing incidents, so it is important that we are not complacent. We will continue to engage with members of the public, particularly young people, about the dangers and consequences of carrying knives, as well as continuing to work on disrupting knife-related criminal activity.
"This isn't just about policing. Partnership working is key to our on-going commitment to prevent and tackle knife crime. Getting caught in possession of one, in a public place with no lawful reason, could result in up to five years in prison and may well affect future employment and travelling plans. We all agree that we need to be driving that message home.”
PCC’s Partnership Manager and John Willett commented:
“We talked about the need to keep young people in education and avoid exclusion at all costs as it has been evidenced that it can increase their vulnerability. REBOOT is working to achieving this. Coaches work with the vulnerable young person to set achievable goals, get them back into education and other positive activities in the community.
“Events like this are so useful to clarify the reality of the issue and get some perspective from the age group it is actually affecting.”