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Tackling knife crime

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Knives destroy more than just a life

Nottinghamshire is a very peaceful and safe place to live, work and socialise. In recent years both Nottingham and Mansfield have been awarded the Purple Flag accreditation which only reinforces this status.

The flag recognises that the region offers an entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable evening out. Both the centre of Nottingham and Mansfield is safe and welcoming for people of all ages.

The force continues to work hard in reducing knife crime and anti-social behaviour we all have a part to play.

Nottinghamshire Police support the notion that knives, and other weapons, which are created for the sole purpose of causing injuries, are not welcome in our county.

There is no need to carry a knife in Nottinghamshire. Those who do choose to carry a knife will be a much greater risk, and may have the very knife that they were carrying used against them.

The message is clear - there is no need to carry a knife in Nottinghamshire and they are not welcome in our communities.

The Police are doing a huge amount to tackle knife crime. There are a range of effective intelligence operations taking place to tackle those who take knives onto the street. We work with partners to support offenders in addressing any problems that could contribute to their offending.

Knives destroy more than just a life. The real impact of carrying a knife is felt by entire families and ultimately our communities.

Basic laws on knives

It is illegal to:

  • carry a knife in public without good reason - unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less
  • carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife
  • use any knife in a threatening way (even a legal knife, such as a Swiss Army knife)
  • sell a knife to anyone under 18 (16 to 18 year olds in Scotland can buy cutlery and kitchen knives) unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less, eg a Swiss Army knife

Lock knives (knives with blades that can be locked when unfolded) are not folding knives, and are illegal to carry in public without good reason.

The maximum penalty for an adult carrying a knife is 4 years in prison and a fine of £5,000.

Re-engaging with the offender / knife carrier

It is important for Nottinghamshire Police to re-engage with people who are disenfranchised.

The force must talk directly to the offender and try to re-engage with them – whether that be directly, through partnerships and community engagement or through close friends and relatives.

Educational strategies that demonstrate the dangers and risks of carrying weapons, but also of make available resources and services aimed at helping and supporting very vulnerable young people who live in regular fear of persecution, might be beneficial in tackling this form of behaviour.

The force, schools and friends and family all have an important part to play.

Nottinghamshire Police would like to reiterate their stance to anyone who is thinking of carrying a knife.

Don’t do it. It’s as simple as that. Carrying a knife can increase your chances of becoming a victim, and even your own knife being used on you. There is a high chance you will get caught by the Police and you will be prosecuted for it, which can have such a huge impact on the rest of your life. 

Did you know that if you are with a friend who is carrying a knife you may be facing the same charges and punishment if that knife is used in a crime?

You are also far more likely to be stabbed with a knife if you carry a knife and we often see the very same knife used against the person carrying it in the first place.

The solution is really simple. Don’t carry a knife.

Instances like these are thankfully very rare, and we are working towards eliminating them all together.

The City of Nottingham has been recognised nationally as a very safe place, retaining its Purple Flag status for safety for the sixth consecutive year. It is completely unnecessary to carry a knife for protection.

Nottinghamshire Police treats knife crimes very seriously and has a whole host of tactics in place to take knife carriers off the street before more serious offences are committed.

Our dedicated knife crime team are working proactively in partnership with local authorities and other teams within the force.

The knife crime team would like to encourage you to talk about knives with your friends and family. Those closest to you may not carry knives, but it’s a very worthwhile conversation.

Children and young adults face all sorts of pressures in modern life and they could well be in contact with friends who carry knives or heard stories about people that have carried knives. Your intervention and support could be just what they need.

Nottinghamshire Police also supported the ‘Surrender your knife’ campaign in early 2017 run by the British Ironworks Centre. This fantastic initiative highlights the issues caused by knives and also provides a safe place for anyone to dispose of a knife.

Advice for Relatives

If you suspect a relative or friend of carrying a knife, we are here to support you in having that initial conversation.

Ask yourself these questions and see if you can create an opportunity to talk to someone about knife crime:

  • Do you have a friend, colleague or family member who may be directly affected?
  • Can you talk to them about the risks of carrying a knife?

The message is clear, Nottingham is a safe city and no one should carry a knife.

Those closest to you may not carry knives, but it’s still a conversation worth having with them.

Children and young adults face all sorts of pressures in modern life and they could well be in contact with friends who carry knives or heard stories about people that have carried knives.

There is an increased anxiety when it comes to a conversation about knives, and most feel that they don’t know how to respond or even how to make sense out of the way their friends or family are acting.

Together, we can help by providing the right kind of advice and sup¬port that will better enable them to make changes

What can you do? 

Know the law

Before sitting down and talking, it’s important you do your research first and find out about the law. They could have questions about knives, so you might want to con-sider the following points:

  • It is illegal to carry any knife if there is intent to use it, even defensively, as a weap on. Even if the knife belongs to someone else, such as a friend or boyfriend.
  • Police can and will search someone if they believe they are carrying a knife. Stop and searches can also happen at school from teachers as they search for weap¬ons.
  • Carrying a knife could mean being arrested. They could also be sent to court and holding a criminal record. This could lead to a prison sentence and have huge consequences not just to them, but their whole network of friends and family. This can affect the rest of someone’s life. Having a criminal record can prevent them getting a job, going to university or col¬lege or even travelling abroad to some countries.

Communicate

This can often be a difficult conversation and they may feel uncomfortable about talking about the subject.

Early intervention is better than waiting. It's far better for your loved one to think you're an idiot for over-reacting rather than letting them suffer in silence-or worse.

Be clear that it’s not a bad thing to discuss and make sure you let them know that they have a choice – they may think they don’t.

There may have been something in the news about knife crime that could allow you to open the conversation with and then you can introduce important points with them.

Try to break up the chat with these short points. By carrying a knife you: it doesn’t secure your own safety, it could be arming your attack¬er and increasing the risk of getting stabbed or injure, you are breaking the law.

Work together

You can get helpful advice from your friends and family. If you’re worried, they probably will be too and it’s always good to talk about these things.

By communicating with others, you can work together and keep a closer eye on your loved one’s behaviour.

If there was a particular worry that other parents share, you could contact their school/neighbourhood watch to raise awareness of the issue.

Ask other members of the family who could lend a hand in relaying the messages. They learn more from our actions and our words, but you must be ready to listen.

Spot the signs

Most young people decide they need to start carrying a knife because they feel threatened. There are tell-tell signs that may suggest they are feeling this way:

  • They don’t want to go in to school at all.
  • They’ve been a recent victim of theft/bullying/mugging.
  • They are hanging around with a different network of friends, who may be older.
    The signs are unmistakable, graffiti on books and clothes, bandannas, scarves and emblems that are worn constantly, code words, handshakes and hand signals. 

Here you remind them that walking away if confronted is the safest way of dealing with the situation.

Young people are starved of guidance, for good examples, role models, and mo-rality.

Remember how important your friends and interests are to you when you are mak-ing decisions.

Tell your loved one that you trust their judgement and that you’ll stand by them. And be sure to set limits that are reasonable. You may be surprised how well your re-newed interest in their welfare is received.

Talk about your observations. If they’re willing to talk about how they feel, structure some time with them just to talk, or encourage them to talk with someone on a regular basis.

Get support

If you do have further concerns about someone you care about carrying a knife, there are many organisations available who can offer further help, support and advice.

You can contact your local authority for a list of local groups and organisations who can offer advice, as well as information on setting up your own group.

There are lots of local and national organisations who will give one to one support.

It’s ok to ask questions, seek advice or receive support. It’s easier to learn from talk-ing and experiences, rather than textbooks.

Find more information and guides on our crime prevention advice page.

To speak to our Crime Prevention Unit about protecting your property and reducing your chances of becoming a victim of crime, email: crime.prevention@nottinghamshire.pnn.police.uk