Express & Star

'Too many young people are being murdered': West Midlands Police Federation boss calls for crackdown on knife crime

The chair of the West Midlands Police Federation has called for a "multi-pronged approach" to tackle knife crime in the region as he says too many young people are being "murdered and maimed".


Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276

Federation boss Richard Cooke also said there should be a focus on prevention and deterrents to make it "as difficult as possible" for people to access bladed-weapons, such as zombie and Rambo knives.

He spoke after new Government figures revealed that knife-enabled crime recorded by the police across England and Wales in the year ending December 2023 had increased by seven per cent to 49,489 offences.

The figures, by the Office for National Statistics, showed that 11 per cent of all knife-enabled crime offences were recorded by West Midlands Police, with 180 per 100,000 people in the region experiencing some form of knife crime.

Mr Cooke has called for a "full ban" on the sale of bladed weapons and described a "crisis in confidence" among officers about using their powers, such as stop on search.

Richard Cooke, West Midlands Police Federation chair, has called for a ban on the sale and marketing of bladed weapons

He said: "We are having far too many young people murdered and maimed.

"From a policing perspective, we are most effective when our officers are confident to use their powers, and are trusted and empowered to do so.

"Stop and search has gone down and officers don’t feel confident to use it because they fear complaints and being dragged through the misconduct system for long periods of time.

"Inspectors are wary of using powers like Section 60 (stop and search) as a preventative measure. We see it as a reactive measure after a murder, but not very often as a preventative measure."

The federation chair added that the courts and the criminal justice system needed to "get tough" on sentencing.

He said: “We see 40-odd per cent of repeat knife crime offenders walking free. The problem is there aren’t the places in the prisons.

"This is the result of long-term underinvestment in prisons, courts and the criminal justice system.

"But we absolutely need deterrents and certain jail time for repeat offenders and probable jail time for first offenders."

Mr Cooke has also reiterated his call for a ban on the sale and marketing of numerous types of bladed weapons, as he said some are available online for in the region of only £20.

He continued: "If you want to stab someone you can put your hand on a knife in any kitchen in the country, I get that.

“But kids are not carrying kitchen knives, they are carrying zombie knives, Rambo knives, which are designed explicitly for stealth, concealment and for combat – to kill or to maim.

“They are being marketed to them and they are getting their hands on these weapons far too easily and cheaply, despite any supposed age-related checks they are getting through.”

The federation boss said where certain machetes were used in the agricultural industry, there should be a strict definition and presented without marketing.

He spoke almost a month to the day since 15-year-old Isaac Brown was fatally stabbed in West Bromwich on April 7, adding another name to the list of young people who have died in the region as a result of knife crime.

Isaac Brown.
Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.