Islington knife crackdown under threat

Efforts to combat knife crime in Islington have been thrown into jeopardy by funding cuts, Liberal Democrat councillors warned this week.

The Lib Dems claim that budget proposals to slice �220,000 off the council’s public protection services over the next two years will jeopardise a crackdown on knife sales to children.

The trading standards team, which is part of public protection, has recently been using undercover inspections to target traders who sell knives illegally. Three public protection posts will be lost and the Lib Dems fear the undercover work could suffer.

Group leader Cllr Terry Stacy said the redundancies would impact on attempts to stop the sale of knives to children.

He said: “While Labour councillors try to take the credit for cracking down on knife crime, they are proposing to axe three posts in the very department that tackles illegal knife sales.

“Knife crime was up by 37 per cent last year in Islington. Tragically, we have already seen stabbings recently. But Labour councillors are choosing to cut police officers and council staff who tackle this scourge.”

The council denies the claims that efforts to fight knife crime would be undermined.

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Cllr Paul Smith, executive member for the environment, said: “In these tough times, when we have received the largest cut of any council by the government, Islington has ensured that the priorities of the people in this borough have been prioritised. There will be no cuts to efforts to fight crime.”

Cllr Barbara Sidnell, executive member for community safety, said: “We’re determined to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour. Tragically, knives in the wrong hands can be deadly and we will take action against shops that break the law.”