PEOPLE who have had first-hand involvement in knife crime should be brought in by the authorities to help forge a new approach to stamping out the issue, according to a woman whose son was stabbed to death in Colchester.

Ellie Ingram, whose son Tom Brittain was murdered during a stabbing in 2013, also said technology like knife gateways had proved effective in catching people carrying knives and other sharp objects, but added they need to be implemented more widely.

She said: “[Knife crime] is happening out in the street – that’s where we are seeing it.

“There are knife gateways, but I don’t think we have got many of them.

Gazette: Tragic – Tom Brittain was murdered in 2013 in ColchesterTragic – Tom Brittain was murdered in 2013 in Colchester (Image: Newsquest)

“Say you’ve got one in Lion Walk, you are either going to pick up people who have got knives, or people aren’t going to walk through it.”

Drug crime is massively intertwined with knife crime, however, and rates for both offences have risen in tandem.

She said: “The majority of knife crime is linked to gangs and wanting to belong – if you are in a club like a football team or a family [that’s what gives you a sense of belonging].

“A gang is just a different team, but it’s a criminal team.

“The problem is that the government and authorities don’t do enough for young people – I don’t have the magic answer, but I wish I did.

“I see a lot of stuff being done and the authorities are so far removed from the people on the ground committing these offences that they come up with hair brained schemes.”

Gazette: Effective – campaigners have said knife arches have been successful in reducing knife crimeEffective – campaigners have said knife arches have been successful in reducing knife crime (Image: Essex Police)

Mrs Ingram also explained how youth clubs which promote social activities, sport, and the arts, are key in helping give young people with difficult backgrounds a sense of belonging and confidence.

“My son didn’t pick up a knife – he picked up a microphone," she said. 

“All his hurt was expressed in his music – people need to be able to express themselves in those kinds of other activities.

“Give the youth something different – give them personal confidence and self-esteem and they cannot be a victim of bullying when they are forced to be part of a gang or sell drugs.”

Essex Police has said it is “effectively tackling knife crime” through improving its use of technology and taking a proactive approach towards the issue with local authorities.

The force’s latest figures, which have not yet been released by the Office for National Statistics, show the number of knife and sharp instrument offences recorded in 2023 sat at 1,490.

It comes as the Gazette continues its campaign to stop knife crime in the city of Colchester.

The campaign was launched in October after the Gazette spoke to several bereaved parents who had lost children to knife crime.