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Holly Watson backs knife amnesty after Sudbury murder
By Andrew Woodger
BBC Suffolk

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Mark Murphy, Holly Watson and the Chief Constable at Ipswich police station

The sister of a man who was killed in a knife attack has helped launch a weapons amnesty in Suffolk.

Lewis Watson, 23, was stabbed in Sudbury in 2009, and Andrew Rowlands from the town was jailed for life for his murder.

Holly Watson, 17, has backed Suffolk Police's year-long knife amnesty which has weapons bins at Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft police stations.

"I think it's a positive step in the right direction," said Ms Watson.

The project was initiated by the police, BBC Suffolk's breakfast show presenter Mark Murphy and the KnifeCrimes.Org charity.

Suffolk's Chief Constable Simon Ash said: "It was really the challenge that BBC Suffolk gave me as to why do we only have amnesty bins for a short period, often after a tragedy?

"We've seen that as a tried and trusted method of people coming forward and giving up their weapons, but this initiative really gives us a chance to create a presence right across the main police stations in the county."

Mark Murphy said: "After reporting on successful knife amnesties in the past it just seemed the logical step to suggest having permanent bins."

There is also a mobile weapons bin which will be moved around Suffolk.

Knife amnesty
Some of the knives collected in Suffolk during an amnesty in 2006

Secure metal bins

The Bin a Blade campaign sees secure metal bins placed outside the main police stations and the aim is to encourage people to deposit their weapons with no questions asked.

The police say 0.5% of crimes in Suffolk in the past year involved a knife.

Ms Watson said: "It's very frustrating to know that people still carry blades.

"I went from being a normal teenager to someone whose life was ripped apart by someone carrying a knife.

"I want to make carrying a knife socially unacceptable.

"It's not fashionable, it's not cool, it's doesn't protect you, it just makes you more vulnerable and it can land you with a prison sentence, so there's just no need for it.

"I'm working with the police to produce a community television advert that will be played in schools and getting students to sign a pledge to say they won't carry a knife."

Worst possible outcome

Holly and Lewis's father Ian Watson said: "As a parent, the loss of your child is the worst possible outcome.

"I do not want anybody else to go through losing their child to knife crime.

"Education, prevention, attitude and law can all help to reduce knife crime."

The Chief Constable is confident Holly Watson's involvement will help the campaign.

"Whilst knife crime is not a big issue in Suffolk, we know that any one of these incidents is a massive tragedy for the families involved," he said.

"I think with some of Holly's ideas, particularly with taking it into school, we can mobilise the youngsters to just see what a bad idea carrying a knife is.

"For Holly to say what it's been like for her will really ram this home to people and I think we'll be stunned by the number of people who come and deposit knives in these bins."




SEE ALSO
Clarke scraps knife crime pledge
06 Dec 10 |  Politics
Stab victim's sister's knife plea
22 Sep 10 |  Suffolk
Man is jailed for stabbing murder
21 Sep 10 |  Suffolk
Amnesty nets more than 190 knives
09 Feb 10 |  Suffolk
Man charged with stabbing murder
27 Sep 09 |  Suffolk

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