Huge rise in knife crime convictions in Suffolk
CONVICTIONS for carrying knives in Suffolk have more than doubled, new government figures reveal.
But efforts to remove knives from the county's streets have seen more than 2,000 surrendered since December.
The figures released today (Tuesday) by the Home Office show that convictions for carrying knives and bladed items in Suffolk have more than doubled over a 10-year period: in 2000, there were 30 people found guilty of possession of a bladed article in public by courts in the county. In 2009, this had risen to 78.
However, during those 10 years, convictions peaked in 2005 with 106 offences.
The figures come as Suffolk police reveal that since December 14, last year, a total of 2,236 knives have been surrendered anonymously as part of its year-long Bin A Blade amnesty.
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At the first three secure bins outside Lowestoft, Ipswich, and Bury St Edmunds police stations, 19,72 knives were handed in. Another 264 were deposited at mobile bins in Leiston and Haverhill.
Holly Watson, whose brother Lewis, 23, of Rubens Walk, Sudbury, was stabbed to death in Cavendish Way, Sudbury, in 2009, gave an insight into what it is like to lose a loved one through knife crime.
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Miss Watson, 17, who now campaigns against knife crime, said: 'It is just so unnecessary and unacceptable for people to still be carrying knives and using them.
'It was such a shock that Lewis's life was ended when he was so young and when he was never given the chance to marry and have a family.
'It is very hard. It has affected not only his close family. It has had a ripple effect on his friends and other people.His death has had an impact on so many people's lives. Lewis had his whole life ahead of him.'
Andrew Rowlands, 27, of The Croft, Sudbury, was jailed for life last year after being convicted of Mr Watson's murder.
A Suffolk police spokesman said: 'Enhanced intelligence and increased proactive patrols have ensured that those arrested for being in possession of an offensive weapon have remained relatively constant throughout the last decade.
'There have been years whereby prosecutions have spiked and these are due to our targeted campaigns where our determination to make Suffolk even safer has risen.'