Big increase in knife convictions

Monday, 4 June, 2007

NEW figures show the number of people carrying knives in Suffolk is at its highest level in 10 years.

In 2005, the latest year for which figures are available, 69 people were convicted of carrying a knife in a public place in Suffolk - an increase of 123 per cent since 1997 when 31 people were convicted.

The situation came to light after David Ruffley, MP for Stowmarket Needham Market and Bury St Edmunds, questioned Vernon Coaker, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office.

Mr Ruffley said: 'The increase in the number of knives being carried on the streets of Suffolk is of real concern.

'In recent weeks the tragic results of knife crime have become acutely apparent to the residents of Bury St Edmunds and Suffolk.

'Since 1997 the number of people in Suffolk convicted of carrying a knife in a public place has increased by 123 per cent.

'This is a truly alarming statistic.

'Therefore, I have today tabled a series of House of Commons questions, investigating knife crime and the proliferation of knives in Suffolk, to further look into this important subject.

'In addition I have taken the matter up with the Acting Chief Constable of Suffolk, Colin Langham-Fitt, asking what steps his force is taking to clamp down on knife crime.

'The people of Suffolk are entitled to feel safe as they conduct their day-to-day lives and the apparent increase in the number of people carrying knives on our streets will not give them the peace of mind they deserve.'