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Police hail knife crime fall in Manchester after stop-and-search rise

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image captionStop-and-searches by Greater Manchester Police have recently increased by 243%

Serious knife violence has dropped by nearly a quarter after a big increase in police stop-and-search, Greater Manchester Police have said.

The force said there was a 23% drop in crimes of that nature after the number of searches was more than trebled.

Police figures showed there were 735 crimes over three months between April and July this year, down from 958 crimes in the same period in 2018.

Supt Chris Downey said there was "no doubt" stop-and-search was responsible.

Greater Manchester was one of seven police forces to get an extra £100m from the government in March to help tackle a knife crime "epidemic".

The latest statistics were revealed in a report from the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Panel.

Supt Downey said the force had focused its resources on crime "hotspots" for serious knife violence, such as street robberies in Manchester city centre.

image copyrightFamily handout
image captionYousef Makki, 17, was stabbed in the heart with a flick knife in Manchester in March

"A lot of young people we found have the belief that 'everyone carries a knife, so I better have one' - but obviously that is completely wrong," he said.

"We need to explain the consequences of carrying a knife - I hear so often of tragic events where someone carried a knife thinking they will never use it and something happened."

BBC Radio Manchester went on patrol with officers in the city centre on a Friday night when police seized a hammer after a fight.

One officer said they had seized kitchen or hunting knives from children.

Patsy McKie, who founded Mothers Against Violence in Manchester after her son was shot dead, said police action alone could not solve the problem.

She said: "If the police take away one knife, they can just go out and get another knife.

"They need to be looking at the people not the knife - to change the hearts and mind of people to do what is necessary to make them succeed in life."

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