Letter to Editor: Robert Halfon MP: My thoughts and prayers go to those affected by the recent knife violence in Harlow

Crime / Sun 4th Feb 2024 at 11:58am

Dear Editor, 

LIKE many, I have been heartbroken by the recent instances of knife crime and anti-social behaviour in Harlow and my thoughts and prayers go out to everybody who has been impacted by these devastating events in recent months. I am proud to call Harlow my home and I am deeply saddened by these incidents.

I was moved to see the town come together to remember those who have been lost to, or impacted by, knife crime when the Knife Angel, made from over 100,000 seized blades, came to Harlow in October. Since 2010, I have been honoured to join Harlow College on a number of occasions to take part in their knife crime awareness activities. From meeting victims of knife crime to hosting knife detecting arches, Harlow College has been a shining light, raising awareness amongst our young people of the dangers of carrying knives and educating them on preventative steps they can take. 

This Government has taken decisive steps to ending knife crime. By investing £110 million this year, hotspot policing is in place for the most seriously affected areas and 20 new violence reduction units have been established to tackle knife and violent crimes. This Government has also banned the most dangerous knives, such as zombie style knives and machetes, and given police more powers to seize weapons and remove dangerous bladed items from our streets. 

Locally, Essex Police have partnered with multiple organisations to deliver education programmes through sports clubs and other activities to encourage high risk young people away from gang culture and violent crimes. Police officers in Harlow remain, as always, ready to act whenever there are reports of violent crime in Harlow, protecting the public and delivering justice for victims.

More broadly, I want to reassure local residents that I am working hard with Harlow Police, the Essex Police Commissioner and with the Government to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in our communities, deliver tougher sentencing for offenders and to make our streets safer. 

Crime is falling in Harlow. In the year to November 2023, crime in Harlow fell by 3.6% overall, with anti-social behaviour falling by 33.4%, violence against the person by 16.4%, and domestic abuse by 30.3%. Last year, Harlow was confirmed as a trailblazer area for new measures to crackdown on anti-social behaviour. Increased police presence, tougher penalties and a new Immediate Justice System where offenders are made to right damage caused within 48 hours have all led to a significant downturn in the number of anti-social behaviour incidents across our town. 

Across the country, we now have more than 20,000 extra police officers compared to 2019, with 500 new police officers in Essex, and 30 more in Harlow alone. Essex’s Police Commissioner has awarded the Safer Harlow Partnership £83,000 to carry on their excellent work tackling anti-social behaviour, and the Government has brought forward new laws to give police more power to tackle illegal drug use, strengthen sentences and penalties, and to ensure that those who commit serious crimes have no option of early release.  

I would like to pay tribute to the police officers and support staff at Essex Police, and to the Safer Harlow Partnership, who all work tirelessly to protect our communities and to keep us all safe. I will continue to work hard in Parliament and in Harlow to ensure we put a stop to knife crime and anti-social behaviour in our town once and for all. 

Yours sincerely, 

Robert Halfon

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13 Comments for Letter to Editor: Robert Halfon MP: My thoughts and prayers go to those affected by the recent knife violence in Harlow:

2024-02-04 12:39:30

We may well have 20,000 extra police officers compared to 2019, but your Government cut over 20,000 officers when you came into power in 2010, so I'm not sure thats much to celebrate. Also, the 20,000 that were cut were probably experienced officers. Yes, its good to have new recruits but I would imagine that it will take a long time for them to gain the experience of the ones that were unnecessarily cut by the Tories. Also, I find it hard to beleive that crime is falling in Harlow. Based on what I hear, see and read it seems to be getting worse!

Guy Flegman
2024-02-04 13:06:20

The authorities think crime is falling because people don’t bother reporting crime any more as the police response is inadequate. All crime is up because lots of people have not had a moral education and simply think they can take what they want or do what they want without understanding the wider implications of their actions. None of this will change until we start educating people again( preferably from a young age). Banning things will not help.

Luke Burton
2024-02-04 15:08:31

This letter is nothing more than a PR puff piece. Robert Halfon is utterly revolting for using the recent attacks as a platform to promote his supposed achievements when it comes to crushing crime.

2024-02-04 15:46:39

So I read the headline ‘Robert Halfon MP: My thoughts and prayers go to those affected by the recent knife violence in Harlow’ and thought, a bit of kind-heartedness and compassion on a Sunday, I will read that. You started off well with ‘I have been heartbroken by the recent instances of knife crime’, but just FIVE sentences in and it's ‘This Government has taken decisive steps to ending knife crime’. It’s not good optics to look to turn tragedy into opportunity. On the substance of it - You have more chance of ‘STOPPING the boats’ than you do of ‘ENDING knife crime’.

2024-02-04 18:09:15

Whilst you will never stop knife crime we will deter a lot more if our courts actually punished offenders rather than soft lefties claiming all sorts of nonsense to try and lessen the sentence, Only when the police receive the backup from our courts with harsher sentences will we SE a reduction

2024-02-04 18:46:08

With rape victims in London waiting more than six years for cases to get to court and our prisons full, I think it might be our government (Braveman, Patel Et al.) that bears the blame for lenient sentences. I think the soft lefties would probably like to see more rapists convicted and locked up for longer.

2024-02-05 00:07:39

Guy flegman you are 100% correct crime is definitely not going down, the reporting of crime is going down, as you say its futile to report crime now, this government have run down the Force so much, coupled with the social and economic problems people face now, mental illness takes up so many hours of the police service time. I cant see the country getting much better the tories have spent all the money.. The few billionaires own the country wealth.. Now war looks an odds on chance spending will have to be ramped up on defence. The NHS is knackered. Education in a state. Prison service not fit for purpose. This last 13 years of tories running the country has been so bad,, you have to think can Britain every repair its self. Personally I'm very apprehensive.. 😭😭

2024-02-05 12:46:16

Don't worry Peter , we have come back from a lot worse than this.World war 1 and 2. The Falklands , 3Day week. Winter of discontent. Covid. Spanish flu. Miners strike. Need I go on.

Mark Gough
2024-02-05 18:08:28

We will never get anywhere with knife crime until we actually make carrying a knife a crime with a five year prison sentence. Similarly a ten year sentence for a gun. This has been called for by victims families for so long, and our weak pathetic politicians of both red and blue have failed to deliver. Not good enough. Time for action not empty words!

2024-02-05 19:34:53

Maybe open youth clubs etc again. The teenagers have nowhere to go apart from the streets. You knocked down the square so young adults have nowhere to go. Your doing the new development in town that you think is going to benefit people. But is it aimed at teenagers and young adults? Maybe ask the people living in harlow what they would like . This is all a PR stunt as elections are coming up.

2024-02-08 10:37:43

Successive mainstream Parties have overseen the gradual decline of every aspect of life in this country over the past 40 years or so. Labour and Tory - two cheeks from the same arse. Liberal Democrats are the same. Don't vote for any of them.

Pia Jay
2024-02-09 04:42:24

Thoughts and prayers? Pathetic.

Geoff Whiting
2024-02-09 10:51:59

If the resources for youth hadn't been cut to the bone and they had something to do we wouldn't have this issue. Increasing population with zero support infrastructure growth is a recipe for chaos. Mr Halfon, your party has had the means to do something on a national scale for more than a decade

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