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Surrey Crime Commissioner: 'No evidence of link between youth centre cuts and knife crime rise'

Surrey Crime Commissioner: 'No evidence of link between youth centre cuts and knife crime rise'

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Rebecca Curley at 6:00am 21st September 2019.

Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro has played down any links between cuts to youth centres and the rise of knife crime. 

He said there was “no evidence” of a correlation between funding pulled from youth services and a rise in offences.

But he stressed the fear of knife crime was “much higher” among teenagers and young people than he would like. 

Surrey Police has been running a knife amnesty this week with bins at police stations in Staines, Guildford, Woking and Reigate for people to dispose of knives and bladed weapons with “no questions asked”. 

During the campaign in March this year over 100 weapons were handed in. 

Analysis by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on knife crime reported in May that it had found that areas suffering the largest cuts to youth spending have seen bigger increases in knife crime. 

In 2018 Surrey County Council reduced the number of youth worker hours from 794 hours across the county each week to 618 saving £2.46million. 

Raising the issue at Surrey Police and Crime Panel on Wednesday, cllr Will Forster asked Mr Munro if he felt not enough provision for young people was “having a detrimental effect on knife crime”. 

Mr Munro said: “Knife crime in Surrey is low. Fear of knife crime is much higher than we would like.”

He said there needed to be more education around the dangers of carrying a knife. 

He added: “Too many young people carry knives because they think they are safer. But all the evidence shows that if you carry a knife you are putting yourself into more danger of being stabbed.”

In April this year Surrey Police said it had seen an increase of 20 more offences in the serious knife crime categories in 2018/19 compared to the previous year but that this was due to a change in reporting methodology. 

Between April 2017 and March 2018 there were 21 possession of weapons offences recorded. 

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