Crawley’s council leader has urged the head of Sussex Police to explain how townspeople will be kept safe after a rise in stabbings in the town.
Cllr Peter Lamb said the five stabbings since September were a ‘real cause for concern’.
Mr Lamb (Lab, Northgate) said they raised ‘serious questions’ about the town’s police resources ahead of 1,000 job cuts to Sussex Police by 2020: “Since 2012, the police and Crime Commissioner has held responsibility for policing in Sussex, they need to be telling us now what resources they intend to commit to ensure Crawley’s residents are kept safe from harm.”
Crawley District Commander Chief Inspector David Padwick said the stabbings were largely targeted attacks where the suspects were known to the victims.
He added: “Any violent crime is of concern to us, but we want to reassure local residents that the majority of these attacks have been targeted and not random.
“We are already stepping up patrols in the town centre in the build up to Christmas to help reduce crime and would always ask the public to report any criminal activity or anti-social behaviour to us.”
Police appealed for witnesses after a teenager was stabbed in the back on October 30. An 18-year-old man was walking along Ifield Avenue, near the ambulance station, between 11.20pm and 11.40pm when he was approached by a person known to him, police said.
He suffered a minor stab wound to his back, requiring treatment at East Surrey Hospital. A 17-year-old boy from Crawley was arrested on suspicion of GBH. He has been bailed until January 6.
A football match was abandoned at half time after a 26-year-old player was stabbed in the neck on October 24. A 17-year-old boy was arrested near Cherry Lane Playing Field, Langley Green, and will appear charged with wounding with intent before Lewes Crown Court on November 12.
A 46-year-old local man was stabbed in the High Street on September 3. Two people who were arrested on suspicion of GBH were released without charge on Monday (November 6).
Officers continue to appeal for witnesses after a 39-year-old man was stabbed in Peterlee Walk, Bewbush, on October 12.
A 37-year-old local man was arrested on suspicion of possessing a class A drug with intent to supply after a 27-year-old man was stabbed in The Boulevard, Crawley on October 18. The suspect was bailed until December 11.
Cllr Duncan Crow (Con, Furnace Green), leader of the opposition at the borough council, said: “People will be concerned to see several incidents of such a nature taking place and I support the police in their efforts to get the perpetrators off the streets.
“I do question why these people are being released on bail although it may be in some cases because they haven’t been charged due to more evidence being needed.
“The message needs to get out that carrying a knife is never acceptable. The penalties for carrying a knife were increased in July so that any adult convicted more than once of being in possession of a knife now faces a minimum of six months in prison up to a maximum of four years. Young offenders aged 16 and 17 now face a minimum of four months detention and a training order.
“Courts need to be tough on anyone involved in knife crime and I want to see sentences for carrying a knife always being added to sentences for using a knife in a violent act rather than running concurrently, so that more time in served in prison for the separate offences.”
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