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Knife Appeal

by msecadm4921

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales has launched a programme to challenge those who carry knives in Newham’s public places in east London.

Though knife crimes are not increasing in Newham, the deaths of two boys aged 15 and 14 who were schooled in the borough, have raised concerns.

The council, with Newham Police, will carry out searches using arch and wand metal detectors at public events in its parks during the summer including the Mayor’s Show and Under The Stars music events.

There will also be sporadic searches at other times to people entering council public buildings and amenities. The borough’s schools are also being encouraged to actively use their powers to screen and search pupils for weapons in order to make premises safer.

Sir Robin said: "We will be working with the police in carrying out searches at random locations and times. The detectors will be used as a deterrent to reinforce the message that if you consider carrying a weapon you will get caught.

"The vast majority of people do not carry knives, but those that do seem to think it keeps them safe when in fact it could get used against them. We want to build a culture of safety – people should not feel the need to protect themselves – that is the job of the police and the council.

"We want people to know that if you carry a knife in Newham you run the risk of getting caught, put before a court and getting up to four years in prison. Parents especially need to make their children aware of the dangers and risks of carrying a bladed weapon."

Officers from the police’s Safer Neighbourhood Teams will be available to help head teachers and other staff carry out random knife searches on school pupils. It is expected that all secondary schools will be visited at least once a term.

Added the Mayor: "Random checks like this will catch offenders unawares. They will be a clear message to the small number of pupils who want to bring knives and other weapons into the classroom. I want schools to be safe and secure places to learn."

The council is also looking at setting up a dedicated hotline where pupils can – anonymously – call or text details of others they suspect of carrying weapons. Investigations will follow if there are reasonable and lawful grounds to do so.

Newham Police support the council’s stance. Borough Commander Det Chief Supt Nick Bracken said: "Though the overall level of knife crime has actually decreased, the recent incidents have raised concerns for children and parents about their safety. It is this that has prompted us to ensure we are working with the council as effectively as we can to improve feelings of safety."

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