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The latest statistics show that Cheshire is the area with the second lowest rate of knife crime in England and Wales.
The number of knife-related offences committed in the county decreased by 27.6 per cent from the year ending in December 2019 to the year ending in December 2020.
The only area with a lower rate of knife crime in that period in England and Wales is Durham in the North East of England.
Cheshire Constabulary’s Chief Constable Mark Roberts said: “Knife crime is an issue that we take extremely seriously, with our officers working day and night to protect communities and make them even safer places to live, work and visit.
“It is extremely good news that statistics released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that we now have a lower rate of knife crime than all areas of England and Wales bar one.
“Numerous other forces across the country have come to us for advice on how to effectively tackle knife crime.
“We are always more than happy to share details of our multi-faceted and multi-agency approach to tackling knife crime, and it also gives us the opportunity to hear about good practice at other forces.
“The success of our approach has seen Cheshire jump from having the ninth lowest rate of knife crime nationally in 2018 to the second lowest.
“This is testament to all the hard work done at the force and by our partner agencies to make Cheshire’s streets safe.”
Chief Inspector Sarah Heath, the force’s knife crime lead, added: “Our structured prepare, protect, pursue and prevent approach to tackling knife crime involves various partner agencies, including local authorities, education providers, health authorities, third sector organisations, youth representatives and community groups.
“We work together to achieve long-term change by educating young people about the dangers and futility of carrying weapons.
“We make sure they know that carrying a knife, even if they have no intention of using it, is a crime and can increase the likelihood of suffering an injury and having a criminal record.
“We also steer them away from criminality and offer them attractive alternative ways to spend their time.
“It is pleasing to see that this work is having the desired effect of significantly reducing the rate of knife crime in Cheshire, but we won’t be resting on our laurels.
“Our goal is to achieve weapons-free streets throughout the county and we endeavour – through education, awareness and action – to make Cheshire an area where no-one carries a knife, or feels that there is a reason to do so.
“However, police forces cannot achieve that goal on their own. Knife crime is a societal problem that cannot be solved without the support of our communities.
“If you have any information regarding knife crimes, or those who carry weapons, please let us know.
“If you know someone who carries a knife, reporting it to the police could be enough to save a life.”
Retailers also have an important role to play, by helping to ensure that weapons are not falling into the wrong hands. They are urged to have robust controls on the sale of blades, such as kitchen knives.
It is illegal to sell a knife to anyone under the age of 18, and anyone found carrying a knife in public, without a reasonable excuse, faces a prison sentence.
John Dwyer, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, said: “It is really pleasing to hear that Cheshire has the second best knife crime figures in England and Wales.
“I would like to thank everyone involved at Cheshire Constabulary and partner agencies for all the hard work that has been done to achieve this feat.
“I’m committed to working with the force and our communities to make the streets of Cheshire even safer moving forward.”
To report any type of crime involving weapons, call Cheshire Constabulary on 101, or 999 in an emergency.
Information can also be passed to the force online via https://www.cheshire.police.uk/ro/report.
Anyone who knows someone that carries a knife can report it to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/forms/give-information-anonymously.