MORE than a thousand Dorset residents are calling on central Government to appoint a new minister to combat knife crime

They want a minister to "develop strategic plans and policies to prevent knife crime and address its root causes".

And to raise awareness of the problem and promote community engagement.

READ MORE: ‘It’s a wakeup call and we all need to address it’

Some 3,500 people have now signed a petition on the UK Government and Parliament website to create a dedicated minister for knife crime prevention. 

At the time of writing, almost half of these were signed by campaigners in Dorset. 

Earlier this month, Cameron Hamilton died in Bournemouth Square after being stabbed in the chest, an inquest heard. 

He was just 18-years-old. 

Bournemouth Echo: Dominic Parsons and his 17 year old daughter

Dominic Parsons, a father to two children aged 10 and 17, said he knew Cameron from his kids’ local judo class.

“The best words for me to describe who Cameron was polite,” said Dominic. “He did multiple things for people, and he was just generally a polite person.”

As a martial arts fan, Dominic said the young man was a ‘strong person’ and that if this tragedy happened to him ‘it can happen to anyone’.

“My daughter has done judo since she was ten and she is very skilled, even I have been struggling to get her to the ground.

“Because she’s so skilled I never had to worry, but now my whole ethos has changed.

“People carry knives, and our children are not prepared for that.”

The 47-year-old said that as a parent he is ‘alarmed and concerned’ and has been sharing the national petition on social media.

READ MORE: Police extend emergency stop and search order in Bournemouth

READ MORE: Hundreds march through Bournemouth against knife crime

The aim of the petition is to have a dedicated minister who can ensure there is a coordinated approach to tackling knife crime, address root causes and create greater accountability.

“When these movements come up, you've got to seize the opportunity to try and get as many people signed,” said Dominic.

Bournemouth Echo: The darker colours show an increase in signatures in BCP

The petition is currently at 3,579 signatures but needs ten thousand for the government to respond.

The petition can be found on Parliament’s website, titled ‘Create a dedicated Minister for Knife Crime Prevention’.

The Daily Echo has launched a No More Knives campaign to bring people and organisations together and work for real change.

At the weekend, hundreds of people flocked to the town centre as part of a march to remember Cameron. 

We will be running further articles on the issue throughout the week.