By Local Democracy Reporter
THURROCK’S MP has warned drugs users they are helping to fuel organised criminal networks after it was revealed that knife crime has doubled in the borough in just five years.
MP Jackie Doyle-Price said she will be giving Essex Police her full support to tackle crime in the borough and prevent knife crime from becoming an epidemic.
“The growth in knife crime in Thurrock is in part driven by the organised criminal networks that peddle drugs through the grooming of young people,” she said.
“The practice is known as county lines and is fuelling a rise in knife crime across Essex. This is serious organised criminal activity.
“Britain has become the biggest user of cocaine in Europe. My message to anyone who uses drugs, think on, you are propping up some very nasty people who are making a lot of money on the back of exploiting young people. Put simply drug use is not a victimless crime.
“I am pleased that Essex Police is to recruit an additional 150 officers to tackle this increase and I will give my support to the Police and Crime Commissioner to continue this expansion next year.
“As it is there has been some success. Last year Essex Police arrested 668 people suspected of being involved in drug and gang-related crime and seized drugs including heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis with a street value of £684,530. They also seized 149 weapons and £346,820 in cash earnt through drug dealing.
“Policing is not the whole solution. We need to prevent young people from being drawn into this activity. I am pleased that our schools and colleges take this very seriously. And I welcome the work of Gangsline, an organisation run by ex-gang members who work to reduce the risk of young people becoming involved in gang activity is also organising gang prevention workshops in schools.
“In London there have been 1,299 stabbings causing 51 deaths so far this year. We need to clamp down on this now to stop this epidemic coming to Thurrock. I will give Essex Police my full support in making this a priority.”