SLOUGH has seen a year of bloodshed, including the death of a 19-year-old, despite a decrease in knife crime by 15 per cent.

Despite the decrease, tackling knife crime remains a top priority for police as incidents involving weapons continue to darken the Berkshire town.

Multiple incidents have occurred this year involving knives including the murder of 19-year-old Temur Quershi in September.

Superintendent Lee Barnham, LPA Commander for Slough, states that the town is ‘not unique’ for knife crime, pointing out that it is a nationwide issue.

However, he acknowledges there is a local concern and hopes that going into the New Year, more emphasis will be placed on educating people about the dangers of carrying a knife.

Taking a look back over the incidents this year, including court cases which were concluded from previous events, there have been several notable incidents.

In January, three teenagers were involved in a ‘double stabbing’ in Queensmere Shopping Centre.

All 19-years-old, Abbas Bukhari, Jack Sumner, Baba Sarr, and a 15-year-old were jailed in November for the incident.

The victims, who were stabbed in the back and chest, have fully recovered.

In April, two men were jailed for the murder of Rafaqit Kayani. Riaz Miah and Hassan Al-Kubanji received life terms for the stabbing which occurred near the Slough Hindu Temple in Keel Drive on August 30 last year.

The incident began over issues with 'drug-selling territories'.

In May, a 16-year-old received a nine-month referral order after being caught carrying a machete and being involved in a fight in Waterbeach Road.

The following month, Ryan Efey, 25, was jailed for threatening a 23-year-old man with a machete in Chalvey High Street.

In July, two men were found guilty of the murder of 21-year-old Kyron Lee who was killed the previous October.

Kyron Lee was knocked from his bike in Earls Lane by a stolen black Golf on October 2 last year at about 8.50pm.

He was then chased into Waterman Close and stabbed with ‘machete-like’ weapons. He sadly died from ‘multiple stab wounds’.

In September, 19-year-old Temur Quershi’s life was taken by knife crime. The teenager charged with his murder is due to stand trial at Reading Crown Court in April next year.

The death sent a shock wave through the town, with many calling for more to be done to stop knife crime.

In the same month, there were three further stabbings in Horlicks Quarter and Odencroft Road.

Superintendent Barnham said that tackling knife crime and the issues that sit alongside these offences continues to be of ‘highest priority for Slough Local Policing Area (LPA)’.

“Our proactive pursuit of those carrying knives and committing offences, alongside preventative measures to deter young people in particular from becoming involved, works to address the impact these offences have on the town,” he said.

He stated that knife crime has decreased by 15 per cent this year but that police ‘cannot be complacent about this’.

 “The impact of any knife offence cannot be underestimated,” he said. “We have sadly seen a young man lose his life to violence this year. We have also seen those responsible for other incidents brought to justice for their crimes.

“At the beginning of this year, Slough LPA made a commitment to ending violence and knife offences in the town when we welcomed the Knife Angel, the National Monument Against Violence and Aggression.

“8,500 conversations took place between members of the public, volunteers, police officers and PCSOs; with 56 educational sessions delivered to over 3,000 children and young people.

“The 900 pledges and messages that were attached to the railings have been transformed into a piece of art which serves as a reminder of this dedicated action and our commitment to communities.

“The activity in January was a catalyst for continued activity throughout the year to proactively tackle knife crime, as well as prevent those at risk from becoming involved in these offences.”

He also mentioned Operation Deter, which is part of the force’s response to dealing with those found to be in possession of knives in the town. T

The main objective of this is to make better use of charging and remanding offenders aged over 18 to court, sending a ‘clear message to anyone found in possession of a knife’.

As part of this, between January 1 and October 31 this year, 34 per cent of those arrested in Slough for possession of a knife or bladed article were charged and remanded to prison.

“We have also dedicated a team to tackling knife crime and linked issues, such as street level drug dealing and a focus on those known to carry knives,” he said. “This proactive team support with enforcing bail conditions, gathering intelligence and executing warrants, which helps us arrest offenders at the earliest opportunity.

“Additional resources into Slough has meant that officer patrols of our hotspot areas has been more effective.

“In the three months from August to October 2023 alone, an additional 648 patrols were conducted in these hotspot locations.

“This high visibility presence allows for greater engagement with communities and allows us to respond quickly to issues as the need arises.

“Whilst this proactive work has been in place and will continue to run, we must recognise that enforcement alone will not resolve the issues of knife crime and substance abuse. Police involvement often comes when an offence has been committed and a knife is in someone’s possession or has already been used.”

Going into the New Year, Superintendent Barnham states the team will be working with partners to share messages around substance abuse and the support available for those affected.

Alongside this, there will be a greater focus on recognising the signs of exploitation, as well as supporting partners, schools and parents to have conversations with young people on the consequences of carrying a knife.

“Key to us preventing offences taking place and pursuing those who are committing crimes is the intelligence from communities about any suspicious activity or concerns they have,” he said.

“I would like to directly appeal to anyone who has information about drugs, knife crime or violence in Slough to call us on 101 or make a report online.

“The community often provide vital information to assist us in our police response.”