Police won’t come unless knife is ‘seen’

At 11.30pm on Thursday (Sept 12) a noisy brawl started up in St Thomas’ Square in Newport, just before we went to press. It was clear a couple of young lads were in trouble, as a number of other youths were viciously attacking them. Girls who appeared to be with the group were trying to separate them. All involved appeared to be in their mid to late teens.

Two of our male staff went to investigate and help. As they reached the fracas they met bystander Steve Reading of Newport who had just called 999. He had been prompted to summon the Police when he heard one of the youngsters say: “He pulled a Stanley knife on me.”

Steve found the response of the Police extremely concerning, as they refused to attend unless somebody was injured, or the knife had actually been seen by him.

A shocked Steve said: “I’m really disappointed that the Police didn’t respond given the high profile that is given to knife crime these days. They seemed dismissive of what was a serious fight that could clearly escalated into something extremely nasty. I believed policing was supposed to be preventative, and it seems clear to me that intervention at this point could prevent a potentially serious crime.

“There’s a young lad all pumped up with adrenaline and with a Stanley knife, walking the streets of Newport. They all seemed totally unconcerned when I told them I had called the Police. It’s not what you expect on a quiet Thursday night out in Newport. It really struck home when my friend said ‘While you were on the phone to the police they could have turned on you with the knife.’

“We have got to a grip on knife crime on the Island. I think anybody who is caught carrying a knife should be prosecuted, without exception and given a custodial sentence.”

The IW Observer will be following this up with the Police and giving our readers details of their response next week.