By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
Broxtowe Borough Council is launching a new plan to reduce violence and knife crime after almost 1,000 offences were reported in the space of a year.
It will include banning violent offenders from pubs as well as evicting tenants who have been convicted of violent crime from council homes.
The council will also purchase 500 drug wipes to test venues where its suspected drugs are being used regularly.
The wipes can detect residue from substances such as cocaine on surfaces such as within toilet cubicles.
The council plan was first discussed following the murder of former Nottingham College pupil, Joe Whitchurch, who was just 16 when he was stabbed in Stapleford on Boxing Day 2020.
He died three days later at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre.
Jake Rollinson, who was 20 at the time, was found guilty of murdering Joe following a trial at Nottingham Crown Court last year.
The court heard how Rollinson had been on ‘a 24-hour drink and drugs binge’ before attacking Joe at an address in Hickings Lane.
Joe’s mum, Lisa Kilkenny, 46, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The plan is a massively good start. If we are on the ball looking at those who are causing trouble in our communities then that is a good thing.
“But we need the backing of the courts and the government. People are taken to court with offences such as carrying a knife or a knife and drugs and are getting off with community service and are then back in the community.
“It is like they are waiting for them to do something more serious and that needs to stop. They might start small but it ends up in murders. That is a huge problem.”
The council will meet on Thursday, January 20, to approve the new Violence and Knife Crime Action Plan, which will run until 2024.
Figures show violent offences across Broxtowe, which can also include domestic abuse, have risen from 800 reports in 2017/18 to 985 in 2020/21.
Possession of a knife or blade offences have remained stable at 25 reports per year, with robbery rising from 10 reports to 20 and violence against a person from 25 to 35.
All knife crime offences have risen from 35 offences to 55.
The local authority said: “Knife crime is defined as an offence where a knife or blade is used or threatened. It is a persistent and worrying concern especially as it impacts particularly on young people and the disadvantaged.
“People carry knives predominately for one of three reasons – self protection and fear, self-presentation, meaning ‘respect’ or utility – to rob or harm another.
“While it is accepted that the police are the lead agency for prevention and reduction of knife crime, it is important that they are supported in their efforts to reduce the extent and impact of this type of crime by relevant partners such as the health care sector, charities, and local councils.
“Therefore, the Violence and Knife Crime Action Plan represents actions which Broxtowe Borough Council can take to assist.”
The plan includes:
- Attend panel meetings to develop action plans to manage risk to the public and individuals
- Placing pub banning orders against individuals where appropriate
- Purchase 500 Drug Wipes to test licenced premises and identifying locations and individuals for enforcement action
- Use Mandatory Possession Orders to evict tenants where they are convicted of violent crime
- Deliver two knife amnesties a year at Beeston Police Station, Stapleford Helpful Bureau and Eastwood Volunteer Bureau for people to hand in their blades or offensive weapons
- Deliver anti knife crime education to students in secondary schools targeted at the most vulnerable groups
- Provide hardening of properties – such as stronger doors, windows and locks – for victims of domestic abuse to remain safe in their homes
- Work with charity – the Chayah Project in St Ann’s – to develop a short video highlighting the full consequences of violence and knife crime and distribute it to six secondary schools
- Review any issues of violence and knife crime at the parks and green spaces in the borough. This includes installing new CCTV cameras, lighting and a gated access point at Hickings Lane Recreation Ground, which had previously reported drug-use and anti-social behaviour incidents.
Councillors will meet on Thursday, January 20, at a Community Safety Committee to discuss and approve the plans.