KNIFE crime in Reading has never been more prevalent than it is now.

The town has seen six stabbings so far this year tragically taking the lives of Olly Stephens, Raheem Hanif and Yannick Cupido.

The question everybody has on their minds right now is 'why do stabbings keep on happening' and 'what is the police doing about it?'.

Figures from Thames Valley Police show violence with injury was down 17 per cent in Reading from 2019 to 2020.

However, this year alone Reading has seen more violent crime than ever. So we ask what is being done within our communities to tackle this violent crime in Reading?

Reading Chronicle:

Thames Valley Police Chief Constable, John Campbell explained to the Chronicle what is being done to prevent stabbings from happening.

He said: “We’ve had the dreadful incidents in January as we move into February certainly. I have seen such a terrible number of murder investigations in such a short space of time.

“Of course this is a key concern for members of the community in Reading and the local police commander is engaged with community groups. In terms of violent crime, there has been a 3 per cent increase in general violent crime in Reading over the year or so.

"It can feel an awful lot more than it is particularly when you have this terrible significant issues within the community but we are not linking them in any shape or form - they are isolated incidents, terrible in their nature."

Following the recent murders, Reading has seen a number of Section 60 orders put in place to give police officers extra powers to stop and search people.

The latest Section 60 order has seen police stop and search 272 people in Reading, arrest 22 people of which 38 offences were found.

12 of which saw people carrying a bladed article/sharp weapon. 

The use of this power has been 'positive and 'beneficial' to preventing further stabbings, explains the Chief Constable.

He said: "You can see by any reasonable assessment that that’s important police activity and when you still have that amount of people still carrying weapons it's important those stop and search took place.

"Local police commanders work hard and engage a lot in communities, and there is strong support for the use of these powers and we have to use them with discretion and treat people with dignity and respect. 

"There is more we can do as a society with carrying of knives. Each within their own right needs to make their choices of carrying a knife. There's a role we have to play in terms of policing, we can do some of the prevention stuff and a bit more of the investigation but across all agencies and communities we should be collectively outraged and all work hard together to see how wrong carrying weapons can be and the dreadful consequences there are."