If you follow the national media and crime stories, you will be aware there is no shortage of incidents of knife crime. 

Too many young people carry knives and some seem only too ready to use them.  Although in Gloucestershire, knives are involved in less than 1% of crime, tragically, too many young lives have been lost or seriously damaged as a result.  So what are we doing to tackle this worrying problem?

Strategically, I continue to strengthen the Constabulary, and remain on track to have added 300 more police by summer next year (depending on our rate of recruitment).  I am also putting in place funding to massively expand our Special Constabulary and our volunteer Police Community Support Officers, who will help deliver our crime prevention plans.

My Commissioner’s Fund also takes a public health approach to fighting crime – tackling the causes of crime before it happens – and is focussed on projects that seek to divert young people from getting involved in anti-social behaviour and even more serious crime. The new police Gang Reduction Intervention Pilot (GRIP) team is also focussed on preventing serious violence.

“Our success in bidding for over £3m from the Government Safer Streets fund has been particularly helpful in dealing with men’s violence against women and girls”

My Office has just recruited a specialist to coordinate our strategic planning towards preventing serious violence in all its forms.  This approach will improve our understanding of how urban street gangs, the illegal drug trade and serious violence often go hand in hand. We are also recruiting another analyst to look at all our relevant crime data, which will help map organised crime groups and identify emerging crime hotspots, so that the Constabulary can mount covert and proactive operations.

Our specialist Vanguard teams have already given our neighbourhood police real teeth to deal with serious threats. Our success in bidding for over £3m from the Government Safer Streets fund has been particularly helpful in dealing with men’s violence against women and girls, whether in the home or in public places.

Much has been achieved this year but there is still more we can do.  Early next year the emotive Knife Angel sculpture will be sited near Gloucester Cathedral, to provide a focus and inspiration for a community-based programme aimed at changing the culture around youth violence. This will see local councils, CitySafe, the NHS, the Cathedral, the Constabulary and my Office, all working together, to deliver a social media and educational programme to divert young people from violence of any kind.