Letters - July 30, 2018

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We’re in the grip of a knife crime wave

The Office for National Statistics has revealed that the number of violent offences involving knives or sharp instruments continues to rise in England and Wales.

In March 2018, offences involving knives or sharp instruments had risen by 16 per cent to 40,147.

The total number of homicides (murder and manslaughter) also rose by 12 per cent from the previous year. At the same time, separate statistics released by the Home Office show that the number of police officers fell in the year, to 122,404 officers as of 31 March, from 123,142 a year ago. It is the lowest number of police officers since comparable records began in 1996.

The statistics once again highlight that the country is in the grip of a knife crime wave.

This is a national crisis, yet, Conservative ministers are refusing to give a real boost to police budgets and specialist anti-knife crime work.

The new Home Secretary has to prove he is up to the job, and he must start by urgently securing funding for more community police officers and investing in specialist anti-knife crime projects and youth services.

Kamran Hussain

Liberal Democrats

RESPONSE

It’s time you hired a talented writer!

I usually skip read Steve Canavan’s puerile writing in the Gazette, which I feel let’s down an otherwise excellent paper. I found today’s article, however, about starving his cat which is forced to go on a killing spree and the ensuing results utterly disgusting.

Considering all the genuinely talented writers there are in the area, isn’t it about time you hired one!

Jane Taylor

Via email

Editor’s note: Steve’s column is loved by many of our readers and is deliberately tongue-in-cheek. We can confirm Percy the cat is well-fed and not resigned to scavenging to survive.

SOCIETY

Life’s better - and cheaper - up here

My wife and I moved to Blackpool North Shore from Hampshire a few months ago, in fact a few days after Portsmouth were beaten 2-0 at home by Blackpool. As a Pompey fan I felt this was telling me something!

We have been made to feel very welcome up here and are delighted that we have made the move. We are just a few minutes from the sea and the cost of living is so much lower. On March 23 1984, the Portsmouth News wrote: “Life’s pricey but more comfortable in the trendy South East, according to a Government survey.”

In fact, I would say that life is just as comfortable up here as it was down south 34 years ago.

And we are loving our exploration of both the beautiful Fylde coast and other parts of this lovely county. Also, as a linguist, I am very much drawn to the accent.

Although I was born and grew up in the south, I have ancestors from Manchester, Liverpool and Cheshire, so I feel I have come back to my roots. However, next time Blackpool play Pompey, can I make that big transition?

Michael Read

North Shore

APPEAL

Host tea party 
to help animals

I am writing to invite your readers to join me in hosting a World Tea Party this summer in support of working animal charity SPANA.

Holding a Moroccan, Indian, British, Kenyan, or another world-themed party, is the perfect way to get together with friends and try out exciting and exotic new recipes, while also raising vital funds to help the world’s most hardworking animals.

In many developing countries, working animals transport food, water, goods and people, and make it possible for millions of the poorest families to earn a small income. However, they often endure short, painful lives.

This is where SPANA makes such a huge difference, ensuring animals have access to the free veterinary treatment they need when they are sick or injured. Dame Judi Dench and Joanna Lumley are throwing their support behind this year’s event, and we hope your readers will be inspired to take part and help transform the lives of working animals.

The SPANA World Tea Party fundraising pack, full of free recipes, is available from www.spana.org/teaparty or by calling 020 7831 3999.

Tom Horsfield

SPANA World Tea Party Host