COLCHESTER had the second highest amount of serious knife crime in Essex last year, new statistics have revealed.

The only borough that could top the 100 offences in the borough was Southend with serious crimes defined as any assault, robbery, threat to kill, murder, attempted murder of sexual offence involving a blade.

Overall, the number of offences rose slightly compared to the previous year where there were 97 recorded.

Just 15 people were charged, however that is also the highest amount in the county except Southend.

District commander Chief Insp Rob Huddleston, said: “The figures show that there are just one of these offences for every 2,000 people living in Colchester so, added to the fact around a third of violent crime is gang related, around a third is domestic related, and around a third is related to the night-time economy, it means you’re really unlikely to become a victim.

"Colchester is a safe place to live, work, and visit.

“Crime is going up across the country and Essex is no different.

“That’s why as a force we continue to invest to better support victims, protect the vulnerable, tackle violence and increase visibility.

“We’ve secured millions of pounds of additional funding to tackle and prevent street violence and knife crime as well as introducing new Town Centre Teams.

“Our Op Raptor teams are prolific in disrupting drugs gangs and putting drug dealers behind bars, while our officers’ responsible use of stop-and-search and Operation Sceptre is seeing knives seized and taken off our streets.”


Weapon - a blade used in a stabbing in Colchester in 2018

Essex Police have been using a number of techniques to try to disrupt people carrying blades in Operation Sceptre including knife arches, test purchasing and education events in schools.

During a dedicated week of action last month, 218 knives were surrendered around the county while another 25 were located during searches of different areas.

The statistics which have come from a Freedom of Investigation request by the BBC to forces across the country and also show there were 5.3 serious knife offences per 1,000 people in Colchester last year.

Neighbouring district Tendring had 2.6 per 1,000 people.

Ann Oakes-Odger set up after her son, Westley, was stabbed to death in Greenstead in 2005.

“A knife in someone’s pocket is as bad as a loaded gun,” she said.

“If there is an altercation and it gets used then there is often no second chance.

“If you have been educated about the dangers of getting involved in knife crime and still take the decision to go down that road then there should be a real robust sentence.

“Courts have the power to deal with people caught carrying a knife with a four year sentence but it never happens.

“It needs to be a clear message that carrying knives in unacceptable in civilised society.

“When I started the charity amongst my grief in the early 2000s there was no focus on knife crime.

“It is there now but still not dealing with it properly.”