Knife crime team taking more than blades off the streets
The county knife crime team have learnt to expect anything when they go out on patrol.
Drug hauls, stolen items and disqualified drivers are all things these officers tend to indirectly run into on a day-to-day basis.
Taking weapons off the streets remains the priority for a team who were directly responsible for the seizure of 79 blades and offensive weapons last year.
But carrying out proactive patrols that are led by intelligence on potential knife-carriers often results in the team of seven uncovering other offences along the way too.
As an example, within minutes of starting a late shift on 19 January 2023, officers spotted a van being driven in Mansfield by a suspect who was known to them.
Accessing intelligence in real-time using a computer inside one of the squad cars, they were able to instantly see that the driver was disqualified.
Officers in multiple cars then worked in tandem to bring the vehicle to a stop, with a search of the van leading to around a dozen bikes being discovered inside, of which at least one had been reported as stolen
The bike was returned to its owner as a result, while the driver was arrested on suspicion of theft, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.
By targeting individuals who could be involved with weapon-enabled crime in this way, the county knife crime team regularly uncovers crimes that may have otherwise gone undetected.
This includes those involved in drug activity, with patrols around the county leading to 138 drug seizures last year, while 191 arrests were made for a range of different offences.
Carrying out proactive stop and searches has been key to this success, with nearly 500 taking place in 2022 alone.
Nottinghamshire Police is one of only a handful of forces in the country to have two dedicated knife crime teams – covering the city and wider county.
The county team was only set up at the start of 2021, with Sergeant Jonny Groves expressing his pride at the difference his officers have made to the community since then.
“Clearly, our main focus is to target knife crime offenders and weapon-enabled crime, however through our work, we do come across a range of other offences too,” said Sgt Groves.
“A lot of people who carry knives have links to wider criminality like organised crime groups and the drugs trade, so that’s why we target those who we know are involved in this activity during our patrols.
“Inevitably, stopping and searching these targets will lead to us uncovering other crimes that we perhaps weren’t expecting to come across, which is precisely why we use this tactic.
“The hope is that this type of proactive policing will also allow us to stay one step ahead of anyone who does carry a knife, so that we can intercept them before a potential knife crime happens.
“I'm really proud of the work my team does every day in Nottinghamshire.
“I feel that the patrols we carry out and the tactics we use go a long way towards preventing and detecting weapon-enabled crime and making Nottinghamshire a safer place to live.”