United in battle over knife crime 

AT least ten stabbing incidents including four deaths in Bristol since the start of 2024 have prompted moves for united action to tackle knife crime.

Police have announced a “proactive operation” to disrupt serious violence and media and community organisations have launched a “Together for Change” initiative to try to prevent more tragedies. 

The campaigners want to

• Set up a task force 

• Get knives off the street 

• Strengthen the Online Safety Bill 

• Raise awareness of how knife crime is linked to poverty, education, employment, social exclusion and the collapse in youth services.”

• Lobby the government 

• Hold power to account 

Police activities will include: 

• High–visibility patrols in areas at increased risk 

• Targeting of habitual knife carriers 

• Knife sweeps of parks and open spaces 

• Intervention and disruption activity co-ordinated with multi-agency partners  

• School visits raising awareness of the consequences of knife crime  

• Working with the Post Office and Border Force to intercept knives being sent in the post 

• Hosting meetings to listen to people’s concerns and to provide reassurance 

• Utilising civil orders such as Criminal Behaviour Orders to place restrictions on young people such as preventing them from wearing balaclavas and associating with named individuals or groups 

• Working with others to install emergency bleed kits in and around the city.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Peter Warren said: “What we have seen in recent weeks in Bristol and to a lesser extent elsewhere across our policing area in recent months is nothing short of tragic. 

“Children are being seriously injured and killed by people of the same age. It cannot be allowed to happen. 

“Our intelligence suggests a number of the recent incidents in Bristol have involved children and young people with rival affiliations or links to organised criminal groups, and so our work will be on developing this intelligence and preventing any further harm.

“We are working closely with our partners across education, health and social care, and local authorities through our local Violence Reduction Partnerships (VRP) to ensure that we are taking a holistic approach, considering the age and vulnerability of some of those involved. 

Police urge anyone carrying a knife in the belief it will keep them safe to dispose of it. There are knife amnesty bins in Castle Park and at Trojan Free Fighters, St Jude’s, BS2 9DA as well as at police stations.

Police also urge anyone concerned or worried that someone they know may be involved or at risk of serious violence, involving knife crime, to report it. You can do so by:  

• Calling 101 

• Reporting online or 

• Crimestoppers (anonymously) on 0800 555 111 or online