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Colchester to host knife crime debate
12:56pm Wednesday 18th September 2013 in News
A KNIFE crime summit will be held in Colchester to address public concern about the issue.
Nick Alston, police and crime commissioner for Essex, has changed his mind about the need for a debate.
It comes in the wake of more than 30 people knife attacks in the town in the last year.
High-profile incidents include the murder of Thomas Brittain in March this year and the fatal stabbing of Jay Whiston last September.
Mr Alston said: “I don’t believe there is a serious knife crime problem in Colchester but that is not the point.
“There is a lot of public concern and if this helps address this and we can get the right messages across then it will be useful.”
The summit will be held on December 5 with the final details still to be decided.
Jordan Newell, chairman of the local Labour party, originally suggested the ideain June this year but it was rebuffed by Mr Alston.
He said: “Sometimes the fear of crime can be greater than the reality but based on the numbers this is needed.
“I am delighted the commissioner has made a u-turn and I hope we caneducate people and stop them carrying a knife.”
Tim Young, councillor responsible for community safety, said: “We are putting together the agenda and I am very pleased Nick is now on board.
“There have been a number of incidents and some very high profile ones.”
Knife crime campaigner Ann Oakes-Odger’s lost her son Westley after he was stabbed to death at a cashpoint in Greenstead eight years ago.
She has fought for better education and tougher penalties.
She said: “I think the summit is an excellent idea.
“Young people are still carrying knives and I am sure parents would be very relieved to know Colchester is trying to do something.
“We need more young people to understand the consequences of carrying knives.”
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