Cheltenham setting the standard when it comes to reduction in knife crimes
MOVES to eradicate knife crime in Cheltenham have been held up as a shining example for other towns and cities.
Figures revealed to the Echo under the Freedom of Information Act showed the number of crimes in the town involving knives or similar bladed instruments dropped from 55 in 2011 to 34 last year – a fall of 38 per cent.
Colin Pilsworth, co-ordinator of Cheltenham Night Safe, said the town was raising the bar for reductions in knife crime.
He added: "We have set the standard and other towns are looking to follow suit. We are now looked at as an example for other towns."
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Work to reduce knife crime includes spot checks by club doormen, CCTV footage and using knife arches, which scan people as they enter nightclubs.
Representatives from Exeter visited the town to learn about the work of night safe, which works to reduce crime at the town's pubs and clubs.
"They were definitely quite impressed with what we do here," said Mr Pilsworth.
"We've got a good relationship with the police and that was noticed by the chap who came up from Exeter.
"The partnership between the councils, police and ourselves is working and he was surprised to see that."
He insisted that although Cheltenham had set the standard before, it was not something the town did consciously.
"The figures might tell a story, but sometimes knife crime is not about someone going around the street waving a knife around," he said.
"When we first introduced a code of practice for the night time economy in 2007, we were the first in the country.
"The Home Office praised us and that was taken up in the rest of England.
"Cheltenham has always been good with setting an example, when we are not going out to just set a standard."
Inspector Tim Waterhouse, from Gloucestershire Constabulary, said the figures were encouraging, although he admitted there was more to be done.
He said: "It underlines our continuing commitment to working with our partner agencies to tackle knife crime together."