RISHI Sunak has backed the Gazette’s ongoing campaign to stamp out knife crime in Essex.

During a visit to Essex on Monday, the prime minister said it was “good to hear” of the work the Gazette is doing to call for action to tackle violence in the county.

“Knife crime is awful because it particularly impacts young people and it is good to hear that this is something that [the Gazette has] focussed on,” he said.

“The record is good in that the latest numbers show it is reducing but we’ve of course got to keep going because every life lost to knife crime of a young person is tragic and we should do everything we can to stop that from happening.”

Gazette: Talk - Rishi Sunak held a 'PM Connects' event at a DHL warehouse in Essex on MondayTalk - Rishi Sunak held a 'PM Connects' event at a DHL warehouse in Essex on Monday (Image: PA)

Mr Sunak told the Gazette the government has increased the police’s stop and search powers which has taken “over 100,000 knives off the street”.

He added: “There’s a strong set of things that we have done and we’re going further because we want to keep going until we eradicate the scourge of knife crime.

“It’s important that we also invest in provision for youth services, making sure that young people have good, safe, fulfilling places to be when they’re not in school. That’s why we’re rolling out an investment in youth centres across the country as well.”


Mr Sunak was joined by Tory MP Stephen Metcalfe on a visit to a DHL distribution centre in Corringham, where the prime minister was shown around the enormous warehouse by an apprentice.

Gazette: Tour - Rishi Sunak and Stephen Metcalfe were shown around the huge DHL warehouseTour - Rishi Sunak and Stephen Metcalfe were shown around the huge DHL warehouse (Image: PA)

The South Basildon and East Thurrock MP said: “I think it’s also vitally important that we make sure that young people are aware of the impact that carrying a knife can have on them and potentially victims.

“Raising awareness in schools is a vital part of that and we do quite a lot of getting people, victims and parents of victims, to try and talk to young people.”

“You’re much more likely to be a victim if you carry a knife than if you don’t,” he added.

Last year, the Gazette launched its anti-knife campaign to address rising concerns about knife possession offences in Colchester.

It followed stabbings in Queen Street and Maidenburgh Street which took place within days of each other.

The drive has been endorsed by politicians and anti-knife crime campaigners, while chief constable of Essex Police, BJ Harrington, has insisted Colchester is safe and has no more of a problem with knife crime than any other part of the county.