Gloucester’s Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate has raised concerns over a 38% rise in knife crime across the county.
Dr Rebecca Trimnell said cuts to policing in Gloucestershire were partially to blame for the rise and called on the police and crime commissioner to take action, including education programmes.
Statistics from a House of Commons Briefing Paper on knife crime published in June of this year showed that in 2010/11 there was 185 knife or sharp instrument offences recorded by the police for selected offences in Gloucestershire.
By 2016/2017 this had risen to 261 – an increase of 38%.
Offences per 100,000 of the population in Gloucestershire had risen from 30 to 42, according to the briefing paper.
Dr Trimnell said: “I am deeply concerned by the increase in knife crime across Gloucestershire and I call on Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl to look again at this problem and for his full attention to be given in finding ways of reducing knife related crimes across the county.
“I believe education is key, I welcome knife amnesties and the use of retributive justice but let us not be under any illusion that part of this problem has been from the detrimental cuts made to our police force over the years. It is essential we bring back more police on our streets.
“It is vital that action is taken now to reduce these shocking figures before we start to see our children living in a land of blades where carrying knifes like guns in the US becomes part of the norm.”
Gloucestershire Police has recently launched a campaign to recruit 120 new officers.
But there are now nearly 250 fewer officers in Gloucestershire than 10 years ago and the numbers of police community support officers has fallen by 16% since 2013.
Dr Trimnell added: “I welcome recent decision by the force to recruit 120 new officers, particularly seeking to attract women and ethnic minorities, as the police must reflect our diverse communities in Gloucestershire.
“But remember this increase in officers is only half of what has been lost in the last decade.”
Overall, the number of violent and sexual offences recorded by the police in England and Wales involving a knife or sharp instrument increased by nearly 10,000 from 2013/14 to 34,700 in 2016/2017.