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New crime map to be revealed to help police stop stabbings in Britain

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-03-14 01:01

LONDON - A new crackdown on knife violence will give British police the most detailed intelligence picture yet of where and when young people are in danger in a bid to prevent a possible stabbing incident, British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Tuesday.

Any crime report where a blade is mentioned will in future be automatically flagged as a knife incident in order to build up crime maps, Rudd said in an interview with the Evening Standard, a London-based daily newspaper.

The initiative, part of the home secretary's forthcoming Serious Violence Strategy, is aimed at helping police to step in before a stabbing takes place, saving young lives, she said. "Put simply it means police officers can be in the right places at the right time."

Rudd is expected to unveil the plans, which are being trialled in Somerset and Avon, at a summit of mayors, council leaders and the Police and Crime Commission on Wednesday.

Machines will trawl crime reports for any references to knives, freeing up officers. It takes the concept of "hotspot policing" -- developed a decade ago by combining hospital admission records with crime reports -- to a new level.

"I've probed quite carefully about how useful this might be, because... police (will) sometimes say, 'Are you telling me I don't know where the crimes are?'," she said.

"Using the data analytics you might find out that there's a bus stop on a corner where at four o'clock, when certain things happen, there's a much higher level," she said. "Then you might get the police to drive by or walk past, so it's a combination of prevention and prosecution."


Two men have been stabbed on Feb 22 to death within two hours of each other in the same London borough, bringing the number of people fatally wounded with knives in the capital in 2018 to at least 15.

Official figures showed that 2017 was the worst year for knife deaths among young people since at least 2002. Forty-six people aged 25 or under were stabbed to death in London, 21 more than the previous year, according to police figures.

The latest phase of a Met police operation to fight knife crime resulted in nearly 300 arrests and the seizure of more than 250 weapons. Throughout the week-long operation officers recovered 265 knives, six firearms, and 45 other offensive weapons.

The initiative builds on the launch of police handheld devices for recording incidents, which the home secretary said had cut the time officers spend on paperwork by a tenth, "which is like putting 10 percent more police on the streets," she said.

"Evidence shows that serious violence tends to be concentrated in small areas, usually urban," she said. "By focusing resources and activities on these 'hotspots', we know these crimes can be reduced."

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