THE Staffordshire Commissioner has called for better cooperation between the NHS and law enforcement to help tackle knife crime across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
Matthew Ellis, the Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime, says it is vital that police have better statistical information from health services about injuries likely to have been caused by a knife, but not reported to the police.
He has also welcomed a 12 per cent increase in the use of ‘Stop and Search’ by Staffordshire Police over the last year.
Figures presented to the recent Public Performance Meeting showed 334 stop searches linked to knife crime between October 2017 and September this year – an increase of 12 per cent on the previous year when 299 were conducted.
Mr Ellis said: ‘Tackling the scourge of knife crime and other serious violence has to be a priority for policing. While in most of Staffordshire the scale of knife crime is nowhere near that of many other places, it only takes one moment of madness to result in tragedy.
‘But policing cannot do this purely by enforcement and they cannot do this on their own. Trading Standards are stepping up their work to ensure knives are not sold illegally and all agencies, from schools to councils to the voluntary sector, are actively working collectively.
‘Key to understanding more about the scale and circumstances of knife crime is good intelligence, but also good statistics and data. Health services, particularly A&E, have high-level data which does not identify individual details of assaults but provides geographic information which helps understanding.
‘I have written to the NHS twice now asking for greater cooperation in providing statistics which will assist police by providing geographical data. I remain hopeful, that as in other areas, that might be improved.’
Members of the Staffordshire Youth Commission, established by Mr Ellis in 2016, have been visiting schools to help educate young people about knife crime and the risks of carrying a knife