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Knife crime conference in Medway towns

Knife crime is at the centre of a conference being hosted in Medway today.

The event at The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, is bringing together academics and specialists to work towards solutions to the knife crime epidemic.

The knife crime conference brought together academics and specialists

It has been organised by St Margaret's Church, the University of Kent and the Medway African and Caribbean Association.

According to the university, the event will be 'working towards an achievable solution that saves lives.'

Rev Nathan Ward of St. Margaret's Church joined KMTV to talk about why he decided to help organise the conference.

He said: "I think we're at a fascinating point in time where actually if we act now as a community, we can actually prevent it getting any worse.

"It's not going to be a silver bullet that solves knife crime, it's about us working together."

Watch Rev Nathan Ward discuss the conference on KMTV

The event includes an appearance by Professor Sarah Hainsworth, a forensic expert from Aston University.

During her talk she will be demonstrating how kitchen knives could be designed in a safer way.

There will also be a session on the struggles with county lines gangs in Kent, led by Professor John Pitts from the University of Bedfordshire.

Knife crime in Kent saw the biggest rise in the country over the past five years, with offences soaring by 152% since 2011 from 346 to 873.

The latest victim in the county was 21-year-old student Andre Bent, who was stabbed to death outside Gallery nightclub in Maidstone on the bank holiday weekend.

Recent stats show Kent has the biggest knife crime increase in the country
Recent stats show Kent has the biggest knife crime increase in the country

The conference is not the only event in Medway trying to encourage discussion about knife crime.

Last week the Knife Angel, an anti-violence monument, was installed in the Rochester Cathedral gardens.

The almost eight-metre sculpture is made of more than 100,000 surrendered and confiscated knives, supplied by 43 police forces across the UK including Kent.

Alongside being able to visit the sculpture, Rochester Cathedral have organised an exhibition and free sessions with local schools to encourage children to think about the dangers of carrying a knife.

It will be on display in the cathedral gardens until September 29.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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