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Essex Police set to launch knife amnesty in Harlow

Crime / Sun 8th May 2022 am31 11:39am

A KNIFE amnesty will be launched across Essex alongside the rollout of new branding on knife bins placed at 14 sites across the county.

Essex Police has now taken over responsibility for the bins, which are funded by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC), the Violence and Vulnerability Unit (VVU) and Essex Police.

As part of that move, a new bin has been installed at Grays police station while each container has now been rebranded using artwork from three secondary school pupils; one from in Essex, Southend and Thurrock, who won a competition to design new livery.

Each pupil’s work will adorn the bins in their council area.

In Thurrock, the work of Rachida, 12, from the Hathaway Academy, Thurrock, has been printed on the container whilst in Southend, Dexter 11, of Eastwood Academy, will appear. In Essex, the work of Bethany 13, of the Cornelius Vermuyden School, can be seen.

We have also partnered with the Ben Kinsella Trust, an educational charity set up following the tragic murder of 16-year-old Ben Kinsella in 2008.

The organisation campaigns against knife crime and works with more than 4,000 young people each year in order to prevent them from straying into crime.

The re-launch of the bins coincides with a knife amnesty, which will take place across the county in the week commencing May 9.

The amnesty allows for anyone who wants to dispose of bladed weapons to do so safely and without fear of prosecution. The priority is for as many knives as possible to be taken off the streets of Essex.

These bins are, of course, just one element of our wider approach to tackling knife crime.

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Clayton Ford, of the Prepare, Prevent and Protect Team, which is part of our Serious Violence Unit, said: “We put significant effort into tackling knife crime including ‘hotspot’ policing, intelligence gathering, using knife arches, and utilising additional powers such as dispersal orders and Section 60 powers, which are an extension of the stop-and-search activity which takes place every day.

“Thankfully, knife enabled crime is falling across Essex; in the year 2019/2020 – the best year with which to compare given the impact of covid – there were 1,881 offences recorded. In 2021/2022, 1,629 offences were recoded – a drop of 13 per cent.

“But we aren’t resting on our laurels. Knife crime and violence is not an issue the police can tackle alone, and we work with partners to address it.

“In Essex, we are incredibly lucky to have so many partners, such as the Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit, who believe the same as we do – that the response to knife crime requires a multi-agency approach by working with education, health, local authorities, local organisations and probation services.

“A key focus is to help divert people who are involved in, or at risk of being involved in, knife and violent crime away from this lifestyle and into areas as sports, education, volunteering, rehabilitation.

“This is a battle that we as a community must fight together. That includes educating our children about the reality of being involved in gangs and the reality that carrying a knife will not protect them but put them at more risk of being hurt or hurting someone else.”

Roger Hirst, PFCC for Essex and Chair of the Essex Violence and Vulnerability Partnership, said: “We know that knife bins do a great job in taking thousands of knives off our Essex streets each year, but what is equally important is the role of education and information.

“Teaching our young people why you don’t need to carry a knife, why they should tell their friends not to carry a knife and why being knife free is the positive life choice to take.

“That’s why I’m delighted to be unveiling the new knife bins in Essex, the bins that young people themselves have designed. Young people who, like me, want their County to be a safe place to play, study, work and grow up in.”

The competition winners have also secured a trip to the Ben Kinsella Trust “Choices and Consequences” workshop, funded by the VVU, which will highlight the dangers of knife crime and help the children learn about Ben’s life.

Where you can dispose of weapons in Essex

Clacton Police Station, Beatrice Road, CO15 1ET
Maldon District Council office, Princes Road, CM9 5DL
Harwich Park Pavilion, Barrack Lane, CO12 3NS
Colchester Police Station, Southway, CO3 3BU
Braintree Police Station, Blyth’s Meadow, CM7 3DJ
Chelmsford Police Station, New Street, CM1 1NF
Southend Police Station, Victoria Avenue, SS2 6ES
Rayleigh Police Station, High Street, SS6 7QB
Canvey Island Police Station, Long Road, SS8 0JD
Opposite Chalvedon Social Club, Chalvedon Square, Pitsea, SS13 3QX
Basildon Police Station, Great Oaks, SS14 1EJ
Brentwood Town Hall, Ingrave Road, CM15 8AY
Harlow Police Station, The High, CM20 1HG
Grays Police Station, Brook Road, RM17 5BX

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