Calling in Army to tackle knife crime crisis is 'last thing I want to see', says Northamptonshire Chief Constable

Chief Constable Nick Adderley (left) said: are we really saying that the policing in country is in such a crisis that we need the army to support it?"
Chief Constable Nick Adderley (left) said: are we really saying that the policing in country is in such a crisis that we need the army to support it?"

Suggestions that the Army could help deal with the UK's knife crime epidemic have been slammed as 'the last thing I want to see' by Northamptonshire's Chief Constable.

Defence secretary Gavin Williamson suggested on Wednesday (March 6) that armed forces were 'ready to respond' to tackle the knife crime crisis where police are short in numbers.

Pictured here are six Northamptonshire men who were stabbed to death since January 2018.

Pictured here are six Northamptonshire men who were stabbed to death since January 2018.

It came as the Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick said she would be willing to have troops support her officers in London to battle the rise in stabbings.

But Northamptonshire's Chief Constable Nick Adderley has rejected the suggestion and says the idea is an admission of the UK's policing crisis.

He told the Chronicle & Echo: "It's an incredibly naive statement. The Army would not have the powers to do the things that we would need them to do, unless the Government gave them those powers.

"But are we really saying that the policing in country is in such a crisis that we need the army to support it?

This knife was seized from a 17-year-old in Northampton on Tuesday this week.

This knife was seized from a 17-year-old in Northampton on Tuesday this week.

"The last thing I want to see is troops in the street. Who would be responsible for them? I would not be, as I would not have them."

This week, the knife crime epidemic has sparked furious debate about police numbers and whether the Government is failing young people.

Over 285 people have been stabbed to death in Britain in the past 12 months. Among them were Northampton's own Louis-Ryan Menezes, 17, and Daniel Fitzjohn, 35.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Philip Hammond yesterday (March 7) told the UK's police forces they must use their existing budgets to tackle knife crime, and dismissed calls for extra funding for the force.

Chief Constable Adderley said: "If the Chancellor is telling the police to prioritise resources to tackle knife crime then we have to move resources away from other areas. That means you can no longer focus on problems like burglary and sexual offences.

"The public then are frustrated because they feel they are not getting the focus they deserve in those areas. Other areas suffer.

"There's a problem though is even if the Chancellor handed over £5million and told us to solve knife crime it would not be a big help. More services than just the police need funding to solve this problem."

The number of police officers in England and Wales has dropped by more than 20,000 since 2010.