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New LPA Commander for Slough makes tackling knife crime 'key priority'

David Lee

New LPA Commander for Slough makes tackling knife crime 'key priority'

The new LPA Commander for Slough has made tackling knife crime one of his key priorities.

Superintendent Gavin Wong returned to the place where his policing career began last week and will now be tasked with leading the town’s police force.

The 53-year-old told the Express he wants Thames Valley Police to continue its work engaging with young people to try and deter them from carrying knives.

Slough has seen two teenagers killed from stabbings in the past six months including 15-year-old Elton Gashaj who died following an attack at Salt Hill Park on September 21.

Superintendent Wong said: “Nationally we know there’s been an increase in knife crime which is linked to younger people.

“Being a bigger town, Slough is not going to be any different.

“But there’s been some really positive results from the work that’s been done and we are seeing a reduction.”

He added that Thames Valley Police could not solve the challenge of knife crime alone and praised organisations such as the Safer Slough Partnership for its work in trying to change attitudes to carrying blades.

“Ultimately, if we have the trust from the younger people on knife crime they will talk to us and if we understand the problem we can do more about it,” Superintendent Wong said.

“People are carrying knives because they think they are at risk and we need to educate them.”

Superintendent Wong told the Express he has also made supporting domestic abuse victims a key priority and he is hoping the force can continue to build trust with those affected to encourage more reporting of incidents.

Work is ongoing at Thames Valley Police to put contingency plans in place in response to the coronavirus outbreak, Slough’s new LPA Commander added.

But when asked last week about what role the force could play in enforcing a government lockdown on people movement, Mr Wong said officers would always be guided by the law.

“There’s nothing in the law that says we’d be prepared to do that (enforce a lockdown) and we want to remain as that service to the community as well as keeping our own staff safe.”

He added: “We need to make sure we have our contingency plans in place so we have the right people available to protect the public.”

Thames Valley Police is recruiting as part of a Government aim to bolster its policing numbers by 20,000 across the UK.

Superintendent Wong urged people to apply, particularly from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups.

Slough has the most diverse police force in the Thames Valley and the new LPA Commander said he was keen to hear from people with good local knowledge of the town.

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