A scheme to tackle knife crime in Harrogate that collected more than 50 blades within its first month is to be expanded with £15,000 of funding.
A metal safe bin was installed in January at the Dragon Road car park in Harrogate and was used by people surrendering knives that might otherwise be used as offensive or dangerous weapons.
Between January and last week, which was national Knife Crime Awareness Week, more than 500 knives and bladed articles were deposited at that location.
The new funding has been awarded to North Yorkshire Council from the Office of the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s Serious Violence Duty – Prevention and Early Intervention fund.
Following local government reorganisation, North Yorkshire Council has committed to expanding the scheme. Although North Yorkshire is regarded as one of the safest counties in England and Wales, knife crime remains an issue.
There were more than 2,700 recorded incidents in the Harrogate district where a knife or bladed article was involved or mentioned between January 2020 and June 2022.
Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe, North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said:
“Knife bins have proved their worth wherever they have been located.
“I am delighted that my office has been able to provide funding to this project. We can never truly reverse the impact of a violent crime after it has occurred, and so it is crucial that we are able to support preventative measures like this which are proven to reduce the risk of these crimes happening in the first place.“My office supports a range of services designed to do just that, providing support for victims of crime as well as addressing the underlying causes of reoffending.
“North Yorkshire is statistically one of the safest parts of the UK, but that does not mean we should ever rest on our laurels, and we will always strive to ensure that residents of our region are able to be safe and feel safe.”
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The number of fatal stabbings in England and Wales is reported to be at its highest level since records began more than 75 years ago.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show 282 homicides were committed using a knife or sharp instrument in the year to March 2022, which is a 19 per cent rise when compared to the previous year.
North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for corporate services, Cllr David Chance, said:
“I am delighted the bid for funding had been approved.
“Knife bins will not reduce these horrendous statistics on their own, but they have proven to be a successful way of preventing knives and bladed articles from getting into the wrong hands.
“Knife crime has devastating consequences for all those involved. If installing these bins leads to the prevention of just one death, then the investment will have been worthwhile.”
Locations are currently being considered for the new knife-drop bins. Once the locations have been decided, members of the public will be able to deposit the knife or bladed article through the bin’s hatch. People are advised to wrap the blade in thick paper or cardboard and secure with tape as a safety precaution.
The bins will then be emptied by officers from North Yorkshire Police and the items disposed of.
The Government’s Serious Violence Duty, introduced in January, requires the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner to bring organisations, such as North Yorkshire Council, together to develop and implement strategies that help prevent and reduce serious violence.
North Yorkshire Council’s head of community safety and CCTV, Odette Robson, said:
“This initiative helps us to safeguard our communities and fulfil our commitment to tackling serious violence.”