I was in Cambridge city centre last night and came across the police activity. There were a lot of police vehicles parked on New Square. Parts of Fair Street and the backs of the shops on Fitzroy street, up to the Grafton Centre had been cordoned off.
There were police officers manning the cordon, and officers in white suits with torches searching the area in the dark.
The security guard at the nearby Waitrose told me he’d heard someone had been stabbed, and another person on the street said someone had been taken away in an ambulance.
Nothing emerged from the police about what had happened until mid-morning today. I think the police need to be more communicative. When there is a significant police operation in the city centre and rumours of a stabbing the police should warn or reassure people as appropriate. I wanted to know what the police knew: Was this a random attack? Were I and other members of the public at risk? It wasn’t until this afternoon that the police said they were treating it as an isolated incident, which I assume is police coded terminology suggesting they don’t think there’s a risk to the wider public.
The police statment says the victim was initially in a life threatening condition. It has been reported that the amazing medics at Addenbrooke’s have stabilised the victim; their brilliant work of course doesn’t in any way reduce the seriousness of what happened.
These kinds of incidents are very alarming, and I think the police try not to draw attention to them. I want to see much more open communication from the police, we should all be able to easily find out what is going on in the city, not least so that we can change our behaviour to protect ourselves.
It appears the police are still seeking more information and are still hunting for the assailant. If this case ends up in the courts I hope it is well publicised. Well publicised proceedings and sentences might well deter people from committing similar violence and we might learn about other things we can do better to make our city safer, perhaps in the realm of policing, probation or mental health services for example.
I find reports of violent crime in central Cambridge alarming; we need to understand what’s happening, address what we can, and focus our policing efforts on reducing injuries and harm.
I feel quite safe in Cambridge but I’m young and fit and usually aware of my surroundings. I would probably feel quite different if I was older or less mobile. I want to see the city safe for everyone; the great work that goes on in Cambridge in so many different fields of endeavour depends on getting the basics right, the city has to be a safe place to live.
Audio of Above Comments
The Cambridge News have used some of my photos and video in their coverage at: