THAMES Valley Police (TVP) officers are continuing to do everything possible to combat serious violence and knife crime, the force has said.

Police said disrupting and preventing this type of crime remains an absolute priority for the team.

Tragically, since the beginning of 2021, five murder investigations have been launched across the force area – two in Milton Keynes and three in Reading.

The force explained in each separate incident, the offenders and victims have been known to each other.

It added that although none of the offences are linked to each other in any way, all have involved knives being used.

There have also been a number of other violent incidents across the Thames Valley recently which have involved knives.

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TVP has a broad range of visible tactics used to tackle serious violence and knife crime, such as the use of stop and search, Section 60s, intelligence-led patrols, executing warrants, knife arches, knife wands, knife bins, test purchase operations and CCTV.

However, there are also many security measures that members of the public cannot see.

Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Hunter, Head of Crime for TVP, said: “Although none of these offences are linked in any way with no threat to the wider public, they all demonstrate to us the simple fact that knives ruin lives.

“If people carry knives as weapons, the consequence is that serious injury and sometimes death can be the tragic result.

“That is why our officers are continuing to do everything in their power to robustly combat this issue.

"We will not tolerate these sort of crimes, which put so many people at risk.

“We will continue to work with our partners for early intervention and prevention and we will continue to use powers such as stop and search, as well as implementing Section 60 orders whenever we need to.

“Our absolute priority is always to keep the public safe and I want people to feel reassured that the Thames Valley remains a safe place.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our officers and staff who have worked so hard this year investigating these five incidents. In each one, people have been arrested and charged. The professionalism and hard work of everyone involved has been outstanding.”

If you are worried that someone you know is using violence or is carrying a knife, please report it.

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Police can then take the necessary steps to safeguard them and identify those responsible.

To make a report of serious violence, please call TVP on 101, or 999 in an emergency.

Alternatively, you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or make a report online.

TVP understands that it cannot fight serious violence and knife crime by enforcement only, it also needs to educate, intervene and prevent crime in our communities. For example, the Thames Valley Violence Reduction Unit offers a mentoring scheme that supports young people who are at risk of exclusion from education and, or are currently within the criminal justice system.