'Serious and unsettling' - Community reacts to rising tide of knife crime in Norwich
PUBLISHED: 06:30 24 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:53 24 November 2018
"Very serious and unsettling for everyone" - that is how a council boss has described the mood after five stabbings in Norwich in just two weeks.
A man in his 40s remains in hospital after he suffered stab wounds at Godric Place on Wednesday night.
Police have charged Ashley Anderson, 26, of Norton Gardens, London, with attempted murder following the attack, which is the fifth such incident to have occurred in Norwich this month.
On November 8 two women were stabbed outside an address in Riverside Road and on November 14 two men were stabbed near Norwich railway station.
Police have insisted they take knife crime “very seriously” and will be putting on additional patrols but concede there will be concerns following a number of recent knife-related incidents in the city.
Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council, said: “These incidents are very serious and unsettling for everyone, and sadly reflect the trend we are seeing nationally.
“Although Norwich is still a safe place to live, we can’t ignore the fact that cuts to public services, including police, mental health and local councils across the country, have had an impact on how safe neighbourhoods are and how safe people feel.
“We will continue to work with the police and other partners to make the city as safe as possible.”
People living in Godric Place, where the latest stabbing happened, have spoken out about their fears after the incident which comes less than a year and a half since Farnaz Ali, 49, was murdered in a hammer attack.
One 40-year-old resident said: “We are searching for another house. I have been living here for two years, but someone died here last year and it’s a bit scary.”
A 73-year-old woman, who has lived in Godric Place for 27 years but wanted to remain anonymous, said: “It’s awful, you don’t feel safe around here. There are more people coming in and out, you don’t know who is supposed to be here.”
Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP, admitted the recent trend was a concern. She said: “This is really worrying and I know constituents will be really unsettled by it.”
The MP said it was “very important at times like this to support police in their hard work in trying to tackle this problem” and hoped they would be supported by legislation in parliament to do their jobs.
Ms Smith also said having “more police officers on the streets” following changes implemented by the chief constable which the county’s Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) replaced by police officers would be able to “keep people safe in the city”.
The recent spate of stabbings, which also include a murder of a 56-year-old man in South Market Road, Great Yarmouth on November 7, comes in the same month as the innovative StreetDoctors project – which educates youngsters about the dangers of knives - visited the Phoenix Centre in Mile Cross.
Following the recent stabbing at Godric Place, Superintendent Terry Lordan, District Commander for Norwich, said: “It is understandable that local residents will be concerned about this incident and other recent events in the city which have involved knives.
“We will have additional patrols in the area over the coming days to offer reassurance and I would encourage anyone with concerns to speak to local officers or contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team.
“We take any offences involving knife crime extremely seriously and currently have a number of measures in place to try and tackle the issue. This includes an on-going programme within Norfolk’s high schools educating young people about the dangers of carrying knives and our Street Doctors initiative within local communities
“We also launched Op Moonshot City earlier this week, a specialist unit which will focus on disrupting criminals and protecting our communities by using innovative technology and proactive policing on Norwich’s road networks.
“It is also important to remember that we all have a role to play in keeping our local communities safe, so if you know someone who may be in possession of a knife, or you see someone carrying a knife, please call police on 101 – or dial 999 if you believe a crime is in progress.”