A WORRYING report says violent crime has become a new top focus in Colchester amid fears it is on the rise. 

Colchester Council documents reveal violent crimes which cause injury have risen to second place in the authority’s list of areas it is concerned about.

The list was compiled after a “risk matrix” of crime types, which “scores” offences based on frequency, probability, and the severity and impact the crime has on the public, was completed.

Domestic abuse is the issue causing the greatest concern, while rape, hate crimes, and sexual offences make up the rest of the top-scoring issues.

Gazette: City - fears about violent crime have climbed Colchester Council's list of concernsCity - fears about violent crime have climbed Colchester Council's list of concerns (Image: Newsquest)

Serious violence isn’t a new worry for the city with the issue also being included on last year’s list where it was ranked in fifth place.

Ellie Ingram, whose 26-year-old son Tom Brittain was murdered in Colchester in 2013, says the statistics offer a “really sad” insight into the realities of violent crime.

The mum-of-four said: “Most victims of knife crime say they don’t want it to happen again or to someone else but the fact it is still rising in Colchester is worrying.

“I’ve got three grandchildren in Colchester ranging from fourteen to just weeks old. To know that they live in a borough with an increase like that is deeply concerning.”

Gazette: Missed - Tom Brittain who was murdered in Colchester in 2013Missed - Tom Brittain who was murdered in Colchester in 2013 (Image: Family)

She thinks the police should focus more on using tools like knife arches, which have previously been deployed in Colchester city centre, to stop people from carrying blades.

“It’s such a good and clear way to see if people have a knife on them,” she added. “It would be interesting to see how much of a dent it would make in the amount of people carrying knives.”

Students at Colchester Institute have previously been encouraged to voluntarily walk through knife arches on their way into the college.

Gazette: Effective - knife arches have previously been used at Colchester InstituteEffective - knife arches have previously been used at Colchester Institute (Image: Essex Police)

Adam Fox, who is hoping to be elected as Labour’s next police, fire, and crime commissioner for Essex when voters have their say in May, said: “I know parents are worried about their young people carrying knives or getting involved in knife crime.

“We’ve got to see the police and partners like the council doing more to combat it.”

Councillors will discuss the figures at a meeting next week.

What does Essex Police say?

Essex Police says it works “determinedly” to tackle violent crime in Colchester and across the county and that violent crime in Colchester has dropped by more than seven per cent in the last year.

A spokesman said: “It is a top priority for us as a force and always an area of focus for many of our teams, be it our local and community policing teams or our dedicated serious violence unit.

“We work to tackle violent crime in a number of ways, including through our nationally recognised hotspot policing Operation Grip.

“Through this work, we can focus on specific areas where the likelihood of a serious or violent crime happening is higher and we target those areas with high visibility patrols and, when appropriate, stop and search activity.”

He added the force works with other agencies to tackle other crimes which often go hand in hand with serious violence.

“This partnership work helps to keep us at the forefront of policing innovation in this area,” he added.