Police assurance on knife crime

Superintendent Wendy Middleton.
Superintendent Wendy Middleton.

A local police chief has said they are not complacent about knife crime.

The assurance follows separate incidents in Lurgan over the Easter weekend in which two people were stabbed.

Superintendent Wendy Middleton, Area Commander, Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, said: “We are aware of concerns after two stabbing incidents in the Lurgan area at the weekend, but because we’ve charged two individuals in connection with these incidents we’re unable to say anything further about these specifically.

“Furthermore, no one should comment on those specific cases to avoid negatively impacting on court proceedings.”

However, in more general terms she said: “We fully understand why people are concerned, but what I want to do today is reassure you that police are not complacent about knife crime and we continue to focus our efforts on the prevention of knife crime and reinforce the message that the carrying of knives is illegal and dangerous.

“My message is clear - never carry a knife; knives take lives. It is unacceptable in any circumstances, and the consequence of carrying or using a knife can be devastating, often with life taking and life changing consequences.

“The issue of knives is not just a policing one, but it is police and our NHS colleagues who are left to deal with the sometimes terrible consequences of when a knife has been used.

“In reality, we need the whole community to work together to deal with this issue and to reinforce the messages knives are illegal - don’t carry them.

“If you find a knife discarded, please, don’t touch it. Instead call us on 101.”

She concluded: “A knife picked up by a child could prove devastating so I am urging parents/guardians to have a conversation with your children and tell them of the dangers posed by knives.

“Make sure they know never to carry one, just how dangerous they are and what they need to do if they come across a knife.”

SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly also expressed her concerns about knife crime.

She said: “There is no excuse for carrying a knife or blade in public. Not only is it a criminal offence, it increases the carrier’s risk of becoming the victim of knife crime.

“I have previously raised this issue with senior police officers and will continue to raise it through the policing board.”