CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Hunting knife found in park by seven-year-old boy in first hour of summer holidays

Parent blames funding cuts after police fail to send officers to collect knife

31 July, 2018 — By William McLennan

The blade was discovered by children in Sumatra Road

Primary school pupils found a “huge” hunting knife while they played in a park within the first hour of their summer holidays.

The children, aged seven, found the weapon in the bushes at a play park in Sumatra Road, West Hampstead, having gone straight there after school finished at 2pm.

Natasha Back said: “My son and his friends were playing in the bushes like they always do and one of his friends came across this huge knife and picked it up. Luckily one of the other parents intercepted it.

“She called the police and was told there weren’t any officers available to come out and get it and they said she should take it to Kentish Town Police Station.”

She added: “Given that the situation with knife crime is really bad at the moment I think they have got to prisotisie this.

“The police are on their knees and there is only so much they can do. That’s directly a result of cuts to police funding.”


SEE ALSO: HOW CUTS HAVE MADE OFFICERS ‘LESS VISIBLE’ ON THE STREETS OF CAMDEN


There are around 3,000 fewer officers in London than 2010, with the Met Police’s budget reducing by £600million.

Ms Back said that it is a “sad reality” that children have to face. “It’s probably not going to be the last time they see a knife,” she said.

“It is obviously a worry that the kids who use these knives are only a few years older and it’s a stark reminder that it is going to be part and parcel of their lives growing up unless things radically change.”

Neighbourhood police teams carry out regular “weapons sweeps” in Camden parks. Criminals are known to stash knives in public places to avoid the being caught in possession.

 

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