DESPITE a recent spate of knife crime, Thames Valley Police have reassured residents that serious violence is ‘the lowest level in five years’.

The force has revealed that over the past 12 complete months, knife crime in Oxford is down 18 per cent. Knife crime incidents have fallen from 105 incidents to 86 incidents, the lowest level in five years.

Speaking to the Oxford Mail as part of the paper’s anti-knife crime campaign, local policing commander for Oxford, Superintendent Bruce Riddell, said that ‘through proactive policing and the work of our partners, knife crime is falling across city.’

READ MORE: Scales of Justice: The latest cases from Oxford Magistrates' Court

He said: “We have strong relationships with our partner agencies in the city and continue to work with them on additional powers to tackle knife crime; this can include housing enforcement action, Criminal Behaviour Orders or Serious Violence Reduction Orders on conviction, which can place restrictions on those who are found to perpetrate violence.

“Through using technology and data we have additional patrols in our serious violence hotspots. This can include both overt and covert resources at the right time in the right places.

In February alone, officers conducted nearly 400 high-visibility patrols in violence hotspot areas.”

He continued: “It is important that we recognise that tackling knife crime is not only a policing matter. We have to address the root causes of why people are being drawn into carrying weapons and criminality. 

READ MORE: Clothing company owner avoids jail after strangling ex-partner

“This is a key part of the Violence Prevention Partnership who are investing in Oxford to help with youth diversion programmes. 

“There is a partnership strategy in place for tackling violence, with an emphasis on earlier intervention and prevention, working to support young people and divert them from crime in the first place.”

The superintended added that is important for the force to ask communities to help them by handing in weapons and reporting concerns.

READ MORE: Judge 'hoodwinked' by drug addict who promised he'd change

He said: “I would also take this opportunity to ask our communities to help us; there is no place for knives on our streets or in the hands of our young people. 

“Help us by handing in weapons to our amnesty bins, report your concerns to police either by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency or reporting online. If you wish to remain completely anonymous, you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

He added: “Fortunately knife crime and serious violence is at the lowest level in five years. It is a priority of Thames Valley Police that we continue to be relentless in our endeavours to reduce these even further over the next five years.”