Kentish Express Ashford & District

Knife bins appear in town centre

Councillor­s and police team up in campaign

- By Charlie Harman charman@thekmgroup.co.uk

Knife bins have popped up in the town centre in an effort to tackle violent crime.

They are stationed in Dover Place and Park Mall as part of a joint effort by Ashford Borough Council and the Kent and Medway violence reduction unit.

The bins allow owners of knives to anonymousl­y deposit their weapons, which would help the owner avoid a potential penalty of four years in prison or a £5,000 fine.

Commenting on the move, Ashford MP Damian Green said: “It’s both a good and a bad sign.

“A good sign in that they give people an easy method of handing their knives in and reducing crime, but it’s a sad sign that we have to have these in Ashford.

“In most occasions it stems from the county lines drug gangs and people are suffering because of it.

“It’s an effort to combat these gangs and all power to them, as it’s an important way of keeping

especially young people safe.”

Cllr Peter Feacey (Con), portfolio holder for community safety and wellbeing at ABC, said: “Carrying a weapon is illegal and every knife surrendere­d into one of our bins is one less potentiall­y dangerous weapon on the streets.

“I would encourage anyone who might consider carrying one to rethink and to take advantage of these anonymous disposal bins.”

Knife crime is often associated with county lines drug operations, which are being cracked down on by a concerted police effort.

According to police, knife crime in Kent is declining, with a 24% drop for the year to March 2020 compared to the previous 12-month period.

Detective inspector Simon Johnson, of the Ashford community safety unit, said: “Every knife left in one of these bins is one which cannot be used to harm or threaten victims in our community.

“I would urge anyone who has a knife in their possession, or who knows a family member or friend who may carry one, to report it or hand it in so we can continue to make the Ashford area safer.

“Levels of knife crime in Kent remain low compared to other parts of the country, but we are not complacent and are committed to dealing with the issue and removing dangerous weapons from our communitie­s.”

What do you think? Email kentishexp­ress@thekmgroup. co.uk

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 ??  ?? Bins have been installed in Ashford’s town centre to combat knife crime
Bins have been installed in Ashford’s town centre to combat knife crime
 ??  ?? One of the bins is in the Park Mall shopping centre close to Poundstret­cher
One of the bins is in the Park Mall shopping centre close to Poundstret­cher

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