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SERIOUS knife crimes in Sussex have slightly dropped, new figures show.
There were 311 blade-related crimes reported across the county in 2017 – a drop of 18 from the 329 the year before, according to statistics released by the police and crime commissioner (PCC).
The figures go against the national picture, which shows a greater number of violent offences are being reported to police.
PCC Katy Bourne thinks there is a deeper issue around how criminals committing knife offences get hold of the weapons.
She said: “While the police do have a key role in tackling knife crime, we also have to look at where people get hold of knives and that includes our homes and shops and the internet.
“I know the force is not complacent and I’m pleased to say there will be another national knife campaign and amnesty that Sussex Police will be fully supporting from February 12 this year.”
Mrs Bourne also welcomed the proposed changes in legislation which aims to restrict young people’s access to knives.
She said: “Proposed changes to tighten the law include restrictions or a ban on under-18s being able to purchase knives and having to collect in person any knives ordered online so that age could be verified.
“I welcome the proposals which would also give police more powers to seize ‘zombie knives, throwing stars and knuckle dusters’ from private property.”
The commissioner has also pledged support to clamping down on knives in schools, colleges and public places.
Mrs Bourne said she has met teachers to discuss the issue and they are working together to try to drill messages into the heads of students.
She said: “I know from recent conversations with headteachers and our district commanders that schools want to get a firm message across to pupils and students about the devastating effects of carrying knives, from being injured, maimed or even murdered to carrying a permanent police record for possession.
“The message we need to get out is quite simple: lose the knife, not a life.”
The proposals for tighter knife regulations were announced by Home Secretary Amber Rudd last July.
The MP for Hastings and Rye said at the time: “Knife crime has devastating consequences.
“I am determined to tackle this and do all I can to break the deadly cycle and protect our children, families and communities.
“The action I am setting out today will help keep people safe and give police the powers they need to crack down on offenders.
“Prevention is also key and we will be working to educate our young people and give them the strength they need to turn away from knives.”
Knife crime across the country has risen 21 per cent from September 2016 to September 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics. There were 37,443 offences in those 12 months, which is the highest it has been since 2011.
Source: The Argus