Great Yarmouth police chief promises ramped up response after 16 knife crimes in four weeks
PUBLISHED: 09:20 15 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:17 15 February 2018
A spate of vicious knife attacks in Great Yarmouth has led to police promising a ramped up response over the weekend.
And the message from the town’s chief inspector during the increased patrols is this: if you are carrying a blade in the town, we will find you and arrest you.
The knife “hot spot” patrols come in the wake of two knife attacks on the seafront in the space of a week.
On two consecutive weekends, officers in the town were alerted to stabbings, both of which occurred on the promenade.
They were two of 16 knife-related offences to be carried out in the town in the past four weeks - five cases of a person being in possession of a knife and 11 other violent offences.
All but one of these offenders have since been snared by officers, with Chief Insp Nathan Clark emphasising just how prolific his force is in identifying these suspects.
He said: “If you are carrying a knife, there is a very good chance we will find you and you will get arrested.”
This weekend, Great Yarmouth Police will be placing increased focus on knife crime in the town, responding to the recent spate with spot searches and officers out in large numbers.
Chief Insp Clark said: “This weekend and going forward we will continue to work closely with the venues and having conversations with them about how best to prevent people from taking knives into their venues.
“They have been very co-operative and every time we go to them they go above and beyond to work with us. Whenever we speak to them, they step up.
“This past weekend, door staff at the Britannia Pier for example found a knife on one of their customers which led to an arrest and door staff across the venues will carry out searches of their own.”
Chief Insp Clark was keen to emphasise the repercussions of knife crime, reflecting on the recent jailing of Jeremiah Abodunrin, who received seven years in jail following a stabbing on Blackfriars Road on January 5, 2017.
He said; “Abodunrin received a seven-year sentence and that was with discounts for an early guilty plea, which shows just how severe the sentences for these crimes are.
“In his case, he punctured his victim’s heart. Had that knife gone millimetres further it could easily have been a murder charge he was facing. Some may not think a knife can do that much damage, but they can.”
Chief Insp Clark said in the majority of the recent cases, the offences began with disputes between known parties, often also involving intoxication.
He was keen to stress that none of the recent four high profile incidents in the town were random attacks - they all stemmed from disputes in which one of the individuals was carrying a blade.
One person a week is arrested in Great Yarmouth for carrying a bladed object, with the county-wide picture also showing a steady increase in the number of offences involving a bladed weapon or knife.
In 2012, 277 such crimes were recorded in Norfolk, while last year this number was 469. The only time period in which this number has not increased was between 2014 and 2015, when the number dropped by just four - from 353 to 349.
The chief inspector was also keen to urge the public to step forward and assist officers in their enquiries wherever possible.
He added: “During the most recent incident, on Marine Parade, one particular member of the public was critical in us being able to identify and arrest the suspect. This person helped us track and hunt this person down, leading to their arrest.
“I cannot thank the public enough for their help and would urge anybody who has any information regarding this type offence to contact us on 101.”
Those wanting to share information but also wishing to remain anonymous can contact independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Youngest offender was just eight
Chief Insp Clark revealed that the youngest offender of a knife crime in the town in the past five years was just eight years old.
He revealed the startling fact while giving a run down of facts and figures around knife crime in the town, which he obtained as part of analysis of the recent trend.
These figures shows that the most frequent age group offenders fall into is the 20 to 29 group - with the 10 to 19 group coming in second.
He also revealed that of the knife crimes committed in the town, almost four out of five suspects were male - 79.5pc.
While the youngest suspect was eight, the oldest was aged 67.
A staggering 78pc of those found in possession of knives or bladed objects were also male, with 50pc of these being aged younger than 25.
He said on average four offences of possession a month are detected.
Four high profile knife attacks have taken place in Great Yarmouth in as many weeks.
On Thursday, January 12, a man in his 20s was stabbed in the YMCA accommodation site on North Quay in Great Yarmouth.
Tabo-Joshua Fungamwango, 23, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent at Norwich Crown Court on Tuesday and is due to be sentenced on March 22.
On Friday, January 13, an 18-year-old man was stabbed in the neck on Paget Road, close to Marine Parade.
A 21-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident and has been released under investigation.
On Sunday, February 4, a stabbing took place following an altercation between two men close to Britannia Pier.
A 39-year-old man was arrested the following day but was released without charge.
Then, on Sunday, February 11, a man in his 20s was stabbed close to the Tower Arena on Marine Parade.
Reece Ellis, 25 of no fixed abode, appeared in Norwich Magistrates Court after being charged and is due to appear in crown court on March 12.