PEOPLE in Somerset are being urged to report any knife crime in the area as reports suggest knife crime in the county could be on the rise.

A campaign is encouraging young people to avoid becoming involved in or being victims of stabbings.

Although the Somerset Serious Violence Reduction Unit says Somerset is a safe place to live, police data suggests the reporting of knife possession doubled in the county between 2016 and 2018.

Knife crime offences represent less than 5 per cent of total violent crimes, but they are serious crimes that can causes significant harm to our communities.

The Violence Reduction Unit is keen to reduce incidents of weapon possession, particularly among young people, and looks to raise awareness around the risks linked to knife crime.

The unit commissioned a research report on ‘Social Media and experiences of cultural norms, violence and exploitation in Somerset’.

It suggests the primary reason young people carry weapons is for protection and out of fear for their safety, not to intentionally incite violence.

Some young people said they have carried weapons because they perceived it to be cool and are sometimes swayed by music artists and online influencers.

Somerset County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for community safety, Cllr Clare Paul, said: “From the work we have done so far with young people, we realised that weapon carrying was more for protection and of fear or because they perceive it to be cool.

"They have expressed a need for understanding and compassion around why they had started carrying.

"The social media and experiences of cultural norms report puts further emphasis on this.

"Our message to young people is clear – you are neither safe, cool or protected when you carry a weapon.

"Over the next few months, we will continue to engage with young people and listen to what they have to say which should enable us to reduce the devastating impact that knife crime and weapon possession could have on communities.”

The Violence Reduction Unit will also conduct surveys with professionals, including volunteers who encounter knives or bladed weapons as part of their work.

The objective will be to gather enough information about experiences and concerns across sectors to know what a multi-agency response could look like.

An accurate picture of professionals' experiences could be used to inform future training and communications.

If you have information about knife crime in your area and you're nervous about going to the police, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They will never ask for your name or try to trace the number that you're calling from.

If you are worried about someone you know carrying a knife, help and guidance is available:

  • The #knifefree website provides information about helping young people go knife free.
  • is a service that allows you to pass on information about crime 100% anonymously.
  • Call 999 immediately if there is an ongoing incident involving a weapon.