Waltham Forest is experiencing an escalation in knife crime, according to the head of a group tackling gang activity. 

Sheridan Mangal, chairman of A Better Way Partnership (ABWP), works closely with police and the council and is regularly updated on serious incidents.

He said there has been an upturn in knife crime in the last three months and has raised concerns with the Met.

It comes after the Guardian last week revealed there was an average of nearly one knife crime reported in the borough every day last year.

There were 144 stabbings in total, with London's Ambulance Service attending 92 weapon-related incidents.

Almost half of the victims were aged 24 and under. 

Paramedics were called to seven incidents in January and the Guardian has reported at least six stabbings in February and March alone. 

Mr Mangal said: "In recent months there has been an escalation of knife crime which could be attributed to an escalation of tension in the community. 

"Knife-crime activity has increased over the last quarter and I have raised this with the MPS. 

"Some of it could be gang-related, with members being incarcerated, which can leave a vacuum for activity to happen. 

"It could be there are fewer firearms in circulation so they are turning to alternative weapons. 

"It is a concern there are more and more reports of knives being used, and even if statistics say knife crime is not of the rise. Why is it perceived to be the case for many?

"Safety is a key concern for residents in Waltham Forest. We all walk the streets at night, everybody needs reassurance.  

"We need a bit more pro-action, not reaction." 

However, according to Waltham Forest police, there was a reduction in knife crime by 7.3 per cent in 2014, with the figures varying from those provided to the Guardian by Scotland Yard.

Waltham Forest Chief Superintendent Jackie Sebire, said: "Knife crime in Waltham Forest is decreasing.

“From 2013 to 2014 Waltham Forest saw 356 offences, whereas 2014 to 2015 saw 330 offences. 

"Furthermore, knife crime taken across London as a whole has decreased by 5.8%.

“Therefore Waltham Forest is ahead of MPS overall performance.

"Whilst the progress we have made against knife crime is significant there is still more we need to do as the potential consequences of every knife crime offence can be devastating. 

"We continue to work with the community and our partners to ensure that the message of the dangers of carrying a knife is heard by our young people."

Operation Equinox is currently running in the borough, which is aimed at combating violence with injury offences through patrols of hotspots, along with other initiatives. 

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

A knife stash discovered in Leytonstone during a sweep by officers on Friday

The council's cabinet member for community safety and cohesion cllr Liaquat Ali MBE, said: "The Metropolitan Police has indicated a fall in knife crime. 

"Knowing however that crime does not follow a steady pattern, we continue to do all we can to keep neighbourhoods safe.

"In partnership with the police, we’re implementing the successful gang exit programme Enough is Enough, to provide our young people and their families with a positive future, and we’re working together to take robust enforcement action against anyone who engages in criminal activity."