Police deny rise in knife crime and gang link after four stabbed in one week

Mandy Beacher is the new deputy borough commander for Redbridge

Mandy Beacher is the new deputy borough commander for Redbridge - Credit: Archant

Fears knife crime could be on the rise in Redbridge have been played down by police – who said last week’s spate of attacks were not connected.

Investigations have been launched into four stabbings in the Ilford area which happened last week, including the murder of 57-year-old Yogesh Desai just yards from his home in Chamberlain Close, Ilford, last Sunday.

But deputy borough commander Superintendent Mandy Beacher denied there had been an increase in knife crime.

“I’m not concerned there is an escalation of youth-related gang violence, which is what we all fear,” she said.

She said it was “difficult to police” attacks where people were using kitchen knives as weapons.

“They aren’t machetes, they aren’t combat knives – they are knives from the kitchen drawer,” she said.

Last week campaigner Danny O’Brien, of Redbridge-based Anti Knife UK, called for an urgent knife amnesty to be held in the borough.

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But the force said it would not be “appropriate” to have an amnesty in reaction to last week’s stabbings.

“We recently had quite a successful gun amnesty but it’s a bit different with guns because they are all illegal,” said Supt Beacher.

And Chief Inspector Rick Tyson said: “If we responded to everything that happened in a week which wasn’t supported by longer term trends, we would be knee-jerking all over the place.”

The force said alongside a reduction in overall crime, knife crime in Redbridge had gone down by 17 per cent in the past year.

A few hours after Mr Desai was fatally stabbed in the early hours of Sunday, another man in his 20s was injured in a separate attack in Pittman Gardens, Ilford.

In the early hours of Tuesday, a 15-year-old boy suffered a leg injury in a stabbing in Kingston Road, Ilford.

And on Friday, a man in his 20s was stabbed in Goodmayes Road.

A 30-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm and taken to an east London police station where he was further arrested on suspicion of murder.

He has been bailed to a date in early February pending further enquiries.

Anyone with information should contact the incident room on 020 8721 4868, dial 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.