Assaults and robbery up amid 'concerning rise' in Cambridgeshire knife crime

Darryl Preston on working with Cambridgeshire Police to tackle knife crime

Darryl Preston (inset), police and crime commissioner, said he will continue to support Cambridgeshire Police in tackling the rise in knife crime within the county. - Credit: John Baker/Archant

Robbery and assault have ranked amongst some of the most common offences involving knives in Cambridgeshire. 

Between January and December 2021, there were 357 offences linked to assault with injury and assault with intent to cause serious harm out of 722 knife-related crimes in the county. 

Up to the end of last year, the percentage of robberies involving knives in Cambridgeshire was 30 per cent, four per cent higher than the England and Wales average according to the Home Office

Superintendent Laura Hunt, of Cambridgeshire Police, said: “An increase of in the number of people caught carrying knives in the county is obviously a concern.  

“One knife is one too many, but it is unclear what impact the pandemic and lockdowns had on these figures.” 

Last year, there were 138 knife-related offences involving threats to kill, equating to 15pc of knife crime in Cambridgeshire compared to 11pc in England and Wales. 

Cambridgeshire Police have tried to stifle this rise in knife crime through initiatives such as Operation Guardian through deploying officers to more prominent areas for offences involving knives. 

A week-long amnesty found 60 knives and weapons handed into police, with knife crime rising by 27pc in 2021

Knives and other sharp weapons surrendered in Cambridgeshire

A week-long amnesty found 60 knives and weapons handed into Cambridgeshire Police, with knife crime rising by 27 per cent in 2021. - Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

“Due to the change in the law, some people may unwittingly be committing a criminal offence simply by owning items now covered under the Offensive Weapons Act,” said Spt Hunt. 

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“We have recently been part of a national operation called Operation Sceptre. 

“That included a knife amnesty, an intensification period where officers increased patrols in hotspot areas, conducted knife sweeps in areas where it is thought weapons could be hidden and targeted.” 

In Cambridgeshire, possession of an article with blade or point offences increased from 243 in 2020-21 compared to 309 in 2021-22.   

When compared to 2019/20, the increase is five per cent from 293 to 309. 

Darryl Preston, police and crime commissioner, said he will “continue to support the constabulary hold amnesties and work within schools to dissuade people from carrying weapons in the first place.” 

A police spokesperson added: “The rise is concerning for everyone and we are working hard, utilising several different methods to try and reduce it.”