Half of stabbing victims refuse to help police bring attacker to justice
PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:27 22 April 2019
Norfolk's chief constable has said we have to "stop reacting to crises as they arrive" as victims of stabbings are refusing to engage with police - preventing prosecutions.
Around half of stabbings in Norfolk since 2017 have not ended in a prosecution because the victim will not support the investigation.
One in ten end in a charge.
Norfolk Police said they are working hard to take knives off the street so they are not used. Operation Sceptre saw more than 200 knives seized in Norfolk last month and Norwich has seen an 80pc rise in seizures in 12 months.
But chief constable Simon Bailey said it is “a challenge” to get young men involved in gangs to break the cycle.
“They do not want to engage for a number of reasons,” he said. “They will not want to be seen as someone who talks to police, and they do not want to draw attention to their own criminality.
“As a result, despite our best efforts to try to get them on side, a significant proportion remain reluctant to do so.”
He said analysis of robberies in the county showed 57pc involved victims who were “on the wrong side of the law”.
“We have to go back to the root causes of all of this,” added Mr Bailey. “The great challenge is we are seeing the impact of a whole number of factors, including people being excluded from school, the lack of support that's available to young people within communities and the opportunity to be diverted away from that.
“When you have a perfect storm you then see groups of young people seeing the only real option they have as leading a life where wealth and ownership is important and they turn to a life of crime.
“Some people are forced into it and exploited, and part of that exploitation involves carrying knives.”
Norwich police commander, Supt Terry Lordan, added: “We have a vulnerable set of people that might not be willing to provide us with evidence or come forward. That means we need to do more to secure convictions.
“The police responsibility is to gather as much evidence as we possibly can and present that to the courts and the CPS. The difficulties we have, particularly around county lines related knife crime, is it tends to be a drug dealer and another drug dealer.
“The victim of the assault will not engage with police, they will not co-operate in any way, shape or form. That is a challenge we need to overcome.”
Convictions can be obtained without a victim's help, if enough evidence is secured at the scene.
Supt Lordan said: “You have got your golden hour principles, with bodycam opportunities and forensic opportunities or phone evidence.
“We have brought cases before the court where the victim has not engaged but the CPS has deemed there is enough evidence to present that case.”
But officers are targeting people carrying weapons in a bid to cut the problem off at source.
Mr Bailey said: “We are seeing more people being stopped and detained for drugs and knife crime than I can ever recall.
“Every single day we are conducting stop and search and executing warrants. A significant number of these people are being exploited themselves and have very little choice.
“What we have to do as a country is stop responding to crises as they arrive.
“I have led the response to child sexual exploitation, modern day slavery, county lines and now violent crime. “We have to stop responding to crises and develop long-term strategies.”