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Knife crime has gone up by 83 per cent in Cambridgeshire since 2014

Knife crime in Cambridgeshire has surged by a dramatic 83 per cent since 2014, according to governme..

By admin , in Cambridge , at May 8, 2018

Knife crime in Cambridgeshire has surged by a dramatic 83 per cent since 2014, according to government figures.

The number of incidents involving a bladed weapon rose to 403 in 2016/17 – up from 220 in 2013/14.

Experts warn that city-based criminal gangs are expanding their operations to more rural areas.

Across other regions knife crime statistics are on the rise as an epidemic of incidents in the country's cities spreads to its shires.

In Hertfordshire incidents shot up by 150 per cent between 2014 and 2017, in Essex they grew by 86 per cent and in the Thames Valley by 50 per cent.

The Home Office figures emerge as London is rocked by a spate of stabbing incidents in the first few months of 2018.

Since the start of the year 36 people have been fatally stabbed in the capital.

London has been badly affected by knife crime in 2018 (Image: Alan Simpson/PA Wire)

An investigation by the Sunday Times revealed that knife crime had almost doubled in Hertfordshire, Warwickshire, Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, Essex and Norfolk in three years.

Vince OBrien, head of drugs operations at the National Crime Agency (NCA), told the newspaper that the rises were fuelled by drugs gangs targeting new customers.

"There is an increasing level of violence coming from city gangs establishing themselves in new drugs markets in rural areas," he said.

"Counties which surround London are being affected."

The Home Office's Serious Violence Strategy published in April linked rising violence to "county lines" drug dealing, where city gangs push drugs to users in suburbs or shires and forcefully oust local dealers.

Andy Higgins, research director for the Police Foundation think tank, said: "Although the highest volume of knife crime is in London, some of the largest increases in recent years have been in the county forces. The county lines phenomena — organised crime groups exploiting vulnerable young people to supply drugs in smaller towns — is known to be associated with serious violence."

In Cambridgeshire the police force regularly holds knife amnesties to collect offensive weapons. In November, the News reported on how hundreds of blades were being handed in.

Officers have caught children as young as 10 carrying knives in the region.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary runs a number of education and prevention sessions in secondary schools talking about the dangers of carrying knives and other weapons.

Speaking on local knife crime in February, chief inspector Marcia Pringle said: "People carrying knives, particularly young people who carry knives do so without understanding the real consequences of using them, the devastation it can cause to those who are seriously injured or fatally wounded, nor the impact on the families who have lost loved ones."

It is illegal to:

– sell a knife of any kind to anyone under 18 years old

– carry a knife in public without good reason – unless its a knife with a folding blade three inches long (7.62 cm) or less, eg a Swiss Army knife

– 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)

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

Anyone who knows someone who carries a knife can also report it anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visiting https://crimestoppers-uk.org

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