MP backs victim's mother's call for knife crime crackdown

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Media captionCaroline Shearer says every parent in the country would be behind her campaign

If anyone knows about the appalling cost of knife crime it's the mother of Jay Whiston.

Her 17-year-old son was stabbed to death in Essex in September after trouble flared at a party. So far nine people have been questioned by the police and released on bail.

Caroline Shearer made the journey from Colchester to Westminster as part of her campaign for change. She wants the tragedy to serve as a warning for others.

"Every parent in the country will be behind us on what we need to do from a younger age so we can change the mindset of youngsters.

Stop and search

"It's not just us it has affected. Jay was such a caring loving person. You've got his dad, his nanny Shirley, my mum and dad, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, schoolteachers. It's unimaginable how far out it has reached."

Unimaginable is the word. The case has prompted local MP, Douglas Carswell, to call for stop and search to be used much more aggressively to catch those youths carrying knives.

"We have got a real a problem in Clacton," said the town's Conservative MP.

"There's been a series of incidents involving knife crime and we want a local response from the police and the prosecutors. Enough is enough and we want some action.

"The police aren't stopping and searching people and I'm afraid to say that in the past the police have been are too keen to caution people. I think we need to make it clear - no more cautions for people found carrying knives."

He calls for police to get tougher with people carrying knives in a debate in the House of Commons' Westminster Hall.

"We need to make sure we tailor police response to local needs," Mr Carswell argues.

Serious risk

"What we need are local solutions to deal with local problems. It means targeting certain young men in Clacton at certain times of the day.

"I think the police would be supported by the public in Clacton if they were a bit more hands on."

The MP wants stop and search to be used much more aggressively to catch youths carrying knives.

"We've had 40 years of home secretaries promising us get-tough approaches. They never work. What we need is a local solution to tackle knife crime - made in Clacton - to make sure that if you carry a knife in Clacton you carry a serious risk of being stopped, searched and convicted."

It's a sentiment Caroline Shearer endorses. She says she's delighted with the debate which can only raise the profile of what they're trying to do.

"People in power must sit up and take notice. This is a campaign which won't go away," she said.