Police expect £2million to combat knife crime after fatal stabbings
Police are expecting more than £2million extra funding to tackle knife crime after a string of stabbings prompted action from the government.
A spate of fatal stabbings, including the killing of Connor Brown in Sunderland earlier this year, put the issue of knife crime high on the political agenda.
Connor, 18, was found in a back lane next to The Borough pub in Sunderland in the early hours of Sunday, February 24, with life-threatening injuries, which Northumbria Police said were consistent with a stabbing. He was taken to hospital for treatment but later died.
Northumbria Police Chief Constable Winton Keenan said the force was expecting £2million to combat knife crime – but added that the region did not suffer from the ‘street gang culture’ which has been driving attacks in other parts of the country.
He admitted a ‘slight’ increase in the number of recorded incidents and in people arming themselves ‘for security reasons’.
“Knife crime is in the media all over the place, some of it’s sensationalised, some of it isn’t,” he said.
“The one thing I would say about knife crime is we are having a slight uplift, a four per cent increase over the last few years. But every increase we have is someone who is affected by knife crime. We’ve had two homicides involving knife crime and two is far too many.”
The Chief Constable was speaking at a meeting of South Tyneside Council, at South Shields Town Hall.
In March, the government promised an extra £100million to police forces across the country to tackle knife crime, although it is still yet to confirm how this cash will be allocated or when it will be paid out.
Keenan, a former Sunderland beat bobby, said he expected Northumbria would get about £2.3million.
He added: “That has been awarded by the government and welcomed, although we haven’t asked for it – it’s because of the number of admissions we have going through our A&E departments that involve pointed or bladed instruments.”
Since 2010, Northumbria Police has had about £140million wiped from its budget.