RESIDENTS are calling for action after an attempted murder in Southampton.

Emergency services rushed to East Park shortly before 8pm on Monday after a 35-year-old man was stabbed in the back.

A 23-year-old woman, a 23-year-old man and a 24-year-old man have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and remain in police custody.

The victim from Southampton was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Chief Insp Phil Lamb from Hampshire police said the force believes this was a targeted, drug related attack and there is no risk to the wider public.

But residents fear the stabbing crisis which has seen 27 people stabbed in London over the past 12 months is spreading across the country.

Speaking to the Daily Echo after the incident in East Park, resident Kevin Knight said: “You can’t stop someone carrying a knife. It is not the weapon is the person who holds the weapon. People say put more police on the streets but it is down to a cultural change. All comes down to individuals. Why in the 1950 we left our doors unlocked and felt safe? What has happened in the last years?What is happening in London is spreading across the country, it is like a virus.”

The 41-year-old, who is the director of The Home Agency in London Road in Southampton, said the incident that happened just a few metres away from his business has not left him shocked, but worried.

“You see it every day. Nationally and locally you see knife crime. It is not a shock. It is sad, it is very very sad. At 8pm there are people still walking around. If it is three o’clock in the morning you would be more on your toes, but 8pm is not that late”, he said.

The Eastleigh resident also added: “You do worry about your children. Parents and schools should work together.More should be done to speak to young people.”

Pensioner Maria Carey said she hoped it was not a stabbing.

“I have just moved from London and this is all we hear. I think there’s going to be a bigger deterrent. I don’t have a problem with stop-and-search”, the 68-year-old said.

Yesterday John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, criticised proposals to reduce the number of people going to prison for short sentences.

“Despite the rhetoric you hear from politicians about being tough on those who carry knives, two thirds of those who are convicted don’t face prison”,he said.

He added: “We have a justice secretary who is saying we need to scrap shorter sentences because the prisons are full. My argument is build more prisons. We need to have a consequence. We need better engagement with young people in this country. That’s at the youth groups, the education system, the social services and so on. It’s a multi-functional approach that we need. It’s not just the police. But some people will need punishment.”

Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith said: “I understand what the Justice Secretary is trying to do but I agree with John Apter. If someone carries out a criminal act they ought to know that it will in all likelihood lead to a punishment such as a custodial sentence.”

Cllr Dave Shields, pictured, cabinet member for health and community safety at Southampton City Council, said knife crime in the city increased by 29% in the last year.

“Crime is going up. To pretend that this has nothing to do with police numbers is a big mistake.We do need more resources,”he added.

An attempted murder probe has now been launched.

Chief Insp Lamb added: “Keeping people safe in the city is a priority for us and our partners. However, like most cities we do suffer from crimes relating to drug activity.Tackling crime requires a cross sector approach .”

A spokesman for Hampshire police said the assault is believed to have taken place near the Titanic Engineers’ Memorial. He added: “We would like to ask anyone who witnessed this incident or saw anyone near the memorial or London Road to contact us. Please call 101 and quote 44180450724.”

The victim remains in hospital with serious injuries.