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Police chief calls for emergency funds to tackle knife crime

PICTURED: Sara Thornton, chair of the National Police Chief’s Council

SARA THORNTON, one of England’s most senior police officers, has said that emergency funding needs to be released to help solve the issue of rising knife crime.

Appearing on BBC Breakfast this morning, on the same day that police chiefs meet with home secretary Sajid Javid to discuss knife crime and how to solve it, Thornton, the chair of the National Police Chief’s Council, said that police do not have the capacity to deal with the increase in violent crime.

“This is really serious and my thoughts are with the friends and families who’ve lost loved ones. It’s a priority for policing and police officers are making huge efforts but it’s a much wider problem...it’s got to involve local authorities, health, education, parents and families,” she said.

She added: “We think that it needs to be treated as if it’s an emergency. When you have an emergency you get all the key people round the table to solve the problems, we think that needs to be done – setting up Cobra with a senior minister, holding people to account – because it’s not just about policing, it’s about all the other agencies and organisations that have a really important part to play.”

“But also we think it’s an emergency and it needs some emergency funding. We need to have more officer hours on the streets, we know what tactics work about targeting hotspots about using stop and search about tackling county lines gangs but we just haven’t got the capacity, we just haven’t got the officers at the moment so we need some money now to pay for overtime to pay for mutual aid between forces.”

She also called for serious, longer-term investment in the police, citing that they were making fewer arrests, charging fewer people and taking longer to respond to emergencies due to the lack of adequate resources.

There has been a 21,000 drop in police numbers since 2010.

In February, figures showed the number of fatal stabbings in England and Wales last year rose to 285, the highest number since records began in 1946.

Thornton’s comments come after Theresa May dismissed that there was a link between police numbers and the reduction of knife crime.

She said there was “no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers”.

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