Two boys, aged 13 and 16, have been arrested on suspicion of robbery after reportedly attempting to rob a cyclist at knifepoint. The incident occurred on Saturday the 27th of February in the Shirley and Millbrook areas of Southampton.
A major operation involving armed police occurred following reports of two thieves with a knife who had forced an 18-year-old cyclist to hand over his bike. This incident followed minutes after two boys of the same description had attempted to take a 39-year-old man’s bike by force but were unsuccessful.
A large-scale search of the area was instigated, aided by a police helicopter, dogs, and armed police forces, and two boys, aged 13 and 16, were arrested on suspicion of robbery.
Conservative MP for Southampton Itchen, Royston Smith, congratulated the officers involved in the operation but also said:
It is so disappointing we need this sort of response. We must continue to tackle knife crime wherever and whenever we can. It has destroyed too many lives already.
Southampton city councillor Lee Whitbread also commented:
These incidents of criminal activity will obviously provide some concern for local residents. I want to reassure them that councillors are working hard to assist the police in making our streets safer.
In 2020, it was announced that knife crime in Hampshire had reached a ten-year high. Across England and Wales, the number was at its highest since records began in 2009. In Hampshire, 24% of these statistics represented under 18s sentenced or cautioned for knife and offensive weapon crime. This is slightly higher than the average across England and Wales at 21%.
Speaking in 2020, Royston Smith MP said: ‘knife crime is frequently related to the County Lines drug trafficking business. Whilst it is right to be concerned about knife crime it is also time to tackle the reasons for it.’ However, it has not been suggested that this recent incident is related to drugs at this time.