An ex-mayoral candidate for the West of England has revealed how he was threatened with a knife in a Bristol park, as he called for tougher laws on the sale of large knives.
Samuel Williams told the BBC how he had a knife drawn on him when he confronted two teenagers he suspected of stealing a bike in Victoria Park last month.
Mr Williams, who lost out to Labour’s Dan Norris in the mayoral elections earlier this year, said: “There were two boys sitting on a bench - one of them was holding up a bike and the other was going at the chain with bolt cutters.
“I called out to them to ask what they were doing and they said ‘oh it’s my bike’. I said ‘there’s been a lot of bike theft, you don’t mind if I call the police do you?’
“It was at that moment with the threat of police being called that one of them bent down to bench and at leg they had stashed a 12-15 inch knife which he picked up and threatened me with.
“One of them said ‘Oh come on, don’t call the police’.”
Mr Williams, who believed the boys were aged between 14 and 17, decided to stay and confronted the pair.
He told BristolWorld: “It was a sort of fight or flight situation, and I found myself not moving. I felt angry in a way like ‘how dare they do this’.
“I said to them ‘What, are you going to stab me then?’ to which I got a look that suggested usually the brandishing of the knife was enough to scare people off.”
The two boys then fled, said Mr Williams, who added: “I was really shaken. To see a knife took me by surprise. Sadly I’m used to reading accounts of stabbings. I didn’t expect to see a teenager pick one up then.”
Mr Williams’ account comes following a number of incidents involving knives in the city.
Last month, Dontae Davis, aged 18, died in a knife attack in Lawrence Hill and on Saturday four men were stabbed in Queens Avenue in Clifton.
And latest crime figures for the year ending March 2021 show there were 356 recorded offences for possession of weapons in the city, slightly up from 350 the year before.
Mr Williams wants tougher laws on the sale and possession of knifes following the banning of so-called ‘zombie knives’ - curved blades with serrated edges - in 2016.
He said: “There isn’t any clear legislation around is the sale or possession of large, up to 50cm, which are in my view have no real world use.
“These are being bought easily and shared around by groups and used in stabbings and even murders.”
Mr Williams said he was working with community leaders and police on tackling knife crime in the city.
He also said he supported a campaign for knife amnesty bins in schools and colleges in Bristol.