A specialist police team committed to driving down knife crime in Nottinghamshire now has even more teeth after doubling in size.
An extra sergeant and six police constables have beefed up the numbers on Nottinghamshire Police’s successful Knife Crime Team, increasing its capacity to tackle violence and crime, remove dangerous weapons and drugs from the streets and keep people safe.
It’s a welcome boost to the force’s ongoing work to further reduce knife crime by working closely with partners, including Nottinghamshire’s enterprising Violence Reduction Unit, and by using a combination of engagement, education and enforcement.
The boost in numbers comes after latest official figures released today (Wednesday 3 February 2021) by the Office for National Statistics show that knife crime in Nottinghamshire reduced by four percent in the year end to September 2020, compared to the previous year.
Nottinghamshire’s fall in knife crime was in stark contrast to the regional and national picture (East Midlands regional average rise of two per cent and nationwide fall of three per cent across England and Wales).
The new Knife Crime Team recruits are based in Mansfield but can be deployed anywhere in the county, acting on intelligence and targeting those involved in criminality.
They will also work closely with fellow Knife Crime Team members in the city, combining their resources effectively to help keep communities safe.
The force has been able to swell the ranks of the Knife Crime Team due to being at the forefront of the national police recruitment drive through Operation Uplift, which is recruiting hundreds of extra officers to our front line while also becoming more representative of the communities we serve.
Nottinghamshire Police Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: “Our relentless work to tackle knife crime and serious violence goes on all year round.
“I’m pleased the Knife Crime Team has made such big inroads in tackling and reducing knife and drug-related crime over the last year, with a number of significant arrests and seizures, but it is just one strand of the tireless work we’re doing day in and day out in our communities to drive down knife crime and violence even further.
“They bolster the great work which is taking place every day across the force’s neighbourhood teams, response teams, CID and other areas of the force in terms of enforcement against knife crime.
“We have the only dedicated knife crime team outside of London, which uses intelligence to target those who we know are likely to be carrying knives, and now we have added even more strength to the team to help tackle the issue and make it clear that carrying knives on our streets will simply not be tolerated.”
The new team members are determined to build on the proactive knife crime team’s impressive statistics last year which included:
• 276 people arrested
• 485 drug seizures
• 175 vehicle seizures
• 363 people reported for summons
• 450 weapons seized since team’s inception in 2016
• Over 35,000 miles patrolled across Nottinghamshire
As well as strong enforcement action to crack down on knife crime, Nottinghamshire Police has also reintroduced schools and early intervention officers who are dedicated to working with children across the county as part of its prevention work.
The force also continues to work closely with its local partners and communities to help tackle what is a societal issue through education as well as diversionary and intensive preventative intervention work.
A key driver helping to steer young people away from knife crime and violence is the Violence Reduction Unit which continues to work with vulnerable individuals and families to help make a difference to young lives and put them on the road to a safer and more positive future.
Street outreach workers, a custody diversion scheme and other initiatives including the Ben Kinsella Trust at the National Justice Museum also serve to educate young people and help them to make positive life choices.
Dave Wakelin, director of the VRU, said: “Tackling and reducing knife violence is a real shared ambition and as partners we continue to work closely together to make our communities safer and prevent young people from carrying knives and inflicting harm.
“I welcome these new resources which, not only will boost the Force’s capacity to target those who carry knives and commit violence but will also go some way to further reassure our communities and making our streets feel safer.”
Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said: “Our readiness to invest in a dedicated Knife Crime Team, back in 2014, has already paid huge dividends, with sustained reductions in knife crime across the county.
“The strength of this team’s achievements cannot be underestimated, and I am delighted we are in a position to double capacity and invest even more effort into driving down violence.
“Working in partnership with the force, the VRU and Nottingham City Council, we are confronting all angles of the problem, spending as much time engaging with those who have not yet entered the justice system as those who need support to come out of it. There is much more to do but huge inroads have already been made.”