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14th March 2019

Police ‘undercounting’ masks true extent of Greater Manchester’s knife crime issue

Greater Manchester Police are pushing to combat knife crime after they discovered erroneous data and knives concealed in public spaces
Police ‘undercounting’ masks true extent of Greater Manchester’s knife crime issue
Photo: Broady @ flickr

The issue of knife crime in Greater Manchester is worse than originally thought, after the discovery of blades hidden in walls as well as statistical errors in Greater Manchester Police’s (GMP) database.

GMP revealed that the issue developed from the way in which weapons were logged into their system, leading to a ‘technical issue’.

GMP stated that, due to these inconsistencies, a problem of ‘undercounting’ had evolved. The issue has affected figures collected before December 2017, but the true extent of the error is currently unknown.

The Home Office had advised GMP to ignore rectifying the data and instead start fresh, due to the amount of time it would take to correct.

3,596 incidents have been reported in the past 12 months leading up to February 2019, meaning that GMP have been handling an average of ten incidents a day.

Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Wasim Chaudhry acknowledged the fact that GMP had falsely documented information, but offered reassurance that action was being taken to rectify their mistakes: “As of December 2017, we revised how we record knife crime offences and are now confident that we are now recording all crimes correctly.

“We are however confident that we understand the scale of the knife crime issue in Greater Manchester, but intend to carry out more analytical work in the coming months to further tackle to issues at their root cause.”

GMP are also reaching out to their followers on social media as part of Operation Scepter, a national week of action against knife crime.

GMP shared pictures of unsuspicious public places, asking followers to “spot the knife” in the image.

The campaign has been created after police intelligence has uncovered how criminals have been hiding weapons in easily reachable spaces, creating danger to members of the public.

Rob Potts commented on the issue, voicing the aims of GMP: “The more knives that are on the streets only leads to one outcome – more people getting hurt – and we are determined to act to stop these implements getting into the wrong hands.”

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