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Police to extend use of knife arches in Gloucestershire

By The Citizen  |  Posted: May 01, 2014

A knife arch in use

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More knife arches could be used in Gloucestershire to prevent people carrying weapons it has been revealed.

Police officers said yesterday they hope to expand their use of the method which has been used here in the past.

It comes as Delroy Ellis, inset, founder of Gloucester youth charity Increase the Peace, explained two pupils in the city had been excluded after being caught with a knife on school premises.

Mr Ellis has warned the city should be ‘concerned’ after three serious knife crime incidents in the past year, including the fatal stabbing of 20-year-old Hollie Gazzard in February.

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This week teacher Ann Maguire was stabbed to death in front of her pupils at a school in Leeds.

He said: “I work in a number of Gloucester schools and teachers have told me that they are worried after what happened in Leeds but they are very much getting on with their jobs.

“They are very dedicated and many of them have years of experience.

“But knife crime is a worry in Gloucester. More kids are coming to me telling me they have knives stashed away. “Two lads have been excluded from school because they had a knife on the premises. They had moved to Gloucester with that mentality.

“Many kids see knives as protection and not as weapons. If they are willing to carry them on the streets then it seems to me that they could possibly be taking them into schools as well. It is concerning for us.”

Police said they hope to expand their use of knife arches although Mr Ellis said teaching youngsters about the dangers of knife crime would be more effective.

Nigel Sargeant, spokesman for Gloucestershire police, said: “There are no plans to bring knife arches to local schools as a result of this one off tragedy in Leeds.

“We are however looking to expand the preventative use of knife arches and will use an intelligence led approach to their deployment.

“Should any information come to light regarding this becoming a problem in local schools then we would work with them to address it appropriately with preventative steps and education.

“We frequently give presentations to young people about the subject. Our message, as ever, is that carrying a knife is completely unacceptable.”

Knife arches have been used in the past in the city including last year at Liquid and the Registry then at the Regal pub in 2010 and also at Gloucestershire College’s city campus the same year. A spokeswoman for the college did not want to comment, other than to say: “We work closely with the police on a range of issues.”

Peter Rowland, headteacher at Severn Vale Academy, in Quedgeley, warned introducing knife arches would not solve the problem alone.

He said: “We talk to the students about the importance of being safe and help them to make informed choices.”

Home Secretary Theresa May waded into the knife crime debate in the city in March when she supported the Citizen backed bid to unite the city in the fight against knife crime.

Meanwhile she announced yesterday a ‘comprehensive package’ of reforms to the use of police stop-and-search powers.

She said she wanted the revisions to lead to a significant reduction in the use of stop and search, more intelligence-led targeted operations, and better arrest ratios.

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