As knife crime recorded by police rises in England by 8%, what is the solution for making Gloucester’s streets safe and free from the devastating effects of violent crime?
Gloucestershire’s level of knife crime is up by a shocking 38%, whilst the number of police officers have dropped dramatically in the last ten years.
Knife crime has had a devastating effect on families and communities. This year, on the 18th February, the community will mark five years since Hollie Gazzard, a 20-year-old hairdresser from Gloucester, who was killed by her jealous ex-boyfriend. Since then, the family has set up the ‘Hollie Gazzard Trust’ in her memory, to educate people on and reduce crimes such as domestic violence, anti-social behaviour and knife crime.
Hollie’s dad and Founder of the Hollie Gazzard Trust, Nick, said it’s all about raising awareness.
“We want to try to raise the awareness of the devastation of knife crime as best as we can.”
Nick has also been working alongside Gloucester Crown Court, educating young members of the community who have been caught with knives. He believes in educating people in schools, universities and communities. The use of the ‘positive bystander effect’, signalling disapproval for a behaviour, allows people to safely intervene in the community.
“I’m a big believer that a lot of the views around stalking, domestic abuse and knife crime actually is a community issue. We can educate a community more to challenge how we deal with these issues and stop them happening. If we raise awareness and educate people, they can actually get involved”.
Gloucester’s Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate, Rebecca Trimnell, believes we need a new strategy in how we tackle knife crime in Gloucester.
“I believe combating knife crime both in Gloucester and across the UK is not just simply about putting more police on the streets.
“The whole issue needs a ‘re-think’ and we need to understand the reasons why individuals carry knives in the first place. I am very much in favour of the police setting up regular knife amnesties to get people to give up any illegal knives they may have, but I am mindful of the strength of peer pressure. Therefore, a stand alone amnesty would not go far enough without also focusing on educating young people on the pain and damage caused by knives.”
If you would like to find out more about Hollie or the Hollie Gazzard Trust, please visit the website at https://holliegazzard.org
A program about Hollie, Stalked: Murder in slow motion, will be broadcast Tuesday 12th February at 10pm on Channel 5.
(Photo and logo used with permission of the Hollie Gazzard Trust. Copyright: Hollie Gazzard Trust)