This week is national Knife Crime Awareness Week, aiming to educate and highlight the complexities of knife crime, the devastation it causes to families and communities as well as providing details of knife crime prevention initiatives taking place around the country.
Results are in from the OPCC knife crime survey
An amazing 2,551 individuals responded to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioners recent knife crime survey, and a staggering 47% were under the age of 18. Proactively tackling knife crime forms a central part of Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mark Shelford’s Police and Crime Plan.
The survey aimed to gain a greater understanding of the perception of knife crime across Avon and Somerset and was live for 12 weeks (closing in November 2022). This survey was a first of its kind in the area.
The survey aimed to gauge how perceptions of knife crime impact people’s feeling of safety.
- 38% of respondents disagreed that they worried about knife crime in their local area.
- Over 18 respondents were more worried about knife crime in their local area and were more likely to avoid going to certain local areas because of fear of knife crime than respondents aged under 18 years.
If you ever feel or have felt unsafe, you can report the location anonymously via SaferStreets. This will help identify the location as somewhere that has felt unsafe and aid the development of future community safety activities.
- Female respondents were more worried about knife crime in their local area and were more likely to avoid going to certain local areas because of fear of knife crime, than male respondents.
Tackling violence against women and girls continues to be a strategic priority for Avon and Somerset Police, who have committed to a local action plan which sets out their activity against the national frameworks. Their delivery plan is available here.
The survey aimed to gain an insight into what approaches local people view as important to combatting knife crime.
- The top answer from the under 18 respondents was to help young people get support and access to employment or education.
The Avon and Somerset Violence Reduction Units (VRU) work collaboratively with partners to support young people, youth professionals and community groups. They provide prevention initiatives, mentoring, sports-based activities, as well as programmes to keep young people in education. Click here to learn more about the Avon and Somerset VRU
- Over 66% of respondents are in support of more knife surrender bins being installed across the county, in an effort to reduce knife crime.
- Community centres was the preferred public space to see knife surrender bins (followed by Police stations).
Avon and Somerset Police have been extremely proactive with the installation of these surrender bins, with more installations planned.
Since 2016, the police have had over 4,000 knives and weapons surrendered through these bins. The value of taking knives and other weapons off our streets cannot be underestimated. In the wrong hands, they can devastate people’s lives. If you would like to find out where your nearest surrender bin is location, please click here.
“Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who completed the knife crime survey, the results have provided a clearer understanding of how knife crime is perceived locally. They will also help shape the police and partners response to future knife crime prevention initiatives.
“Although this survey was open to all ages, I believed it was vital to have the opinions of teens and young adults, I am therefore delighted that 47% of respondents were under the age of 18. Their responses will be shared with police and partners to review and learn from.
“I am a huge supporter of the Avon and Somerset surrender bins and am delighted that over 66% of respondents also support their installation. The value of taking knives and other weapons off the streets cannot be underestimated. In the wrong hands, they can devastate people’s lives.
“This national knife crime awareness week is a wonderful opportunity to highlight some of the fantastic prevention and early intervention initiatives that are regularly being provided across our county. Although it is a topic that is often feared, I would like to remind everyone that 99% of young people are not carrying a knife and if you know someone who is in the minority of regularly carrying a knife, please report what you know to the police or anonymously to the charity CrimeStoppers.”PCC Mark Shelford