People are losing their lives and their liberty because of knife crime in Gloucester.
That is the message from police chiefs as they launch a month-long, no questions asked knife surrender to cleanse Gloucester of the weapons routinely being carried by people. Last year saw a surge in violent crimes involving knives in the county, particularly in Gloucester where 14 people were stabbed in just 12 months. Communities have also been left devastated by the deaths of Zac Evans, 19, and Dolton Powell, 21, as a result of weapons in 2015. One of the campaign’s supporters is Chloe Gazzard. Her sister Hollie was viciously murdered in the Gloucester hairdressers where she worked by ex-partner Asher Maslin who stabbed her repeatedly in front of dozens of onlookers. Her family setup the Hollie Gazzard Trust in the wake of her death to reduce knife crime and is fully behind the knife surrender. “This is huge for Gloucester. I do not think they have had a knife surrender for several years but there’s been so much hurt because of it,” she said. “It needs to be stamped out. It’s all about education, especially as the perpetrators are getting younger and younger. “It seems like so many people are ruining the lives of others as well as their own. It is not acceptable and it has to stop.” At the event Gloucestershire police demonstrated some of the items in their armoury to tackle the crime surge as well as encourage people to drop any knives they may have in bins, which will be dotted around the county. The force has six portable arches at their disposal which can detect any metal being carried by someone. Not only can they work for 20 hours on a battery they are so sensitive they can pick up someone carrying a pin. Another item, which can also be loaned out to clubs, pubs or events, is special vibrating gloves. Like a metal detector they let the officer know if someone is carrying metal on them by subtly by giving a vibration in the officer’s wrist. Gloucestershire’s police and crime commissioner Martin Surl, said he believed a big part of why people carried knives was because of the drug trade. “The work we do here is crucial because we have had a dreadful year,” he said. “People have lost their lives and people have lost their liberty because of knife crime. “The police are very serious about this problem and we recognise something needs to be done.”