Blunkett calls for guns and knives crackdown

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FORMER Home Secretary David Blunkett is calling for a crackdown on young people carrying guns and knives - claiming he fears more fatalities and bloodshed on Sheffield’s streets.

The MP for Brightside and Hillsborough voiced his concerns in the wake of the death of 18-year-old Deeq Ali, of Catherine Road, Burngreave, who was gunned down over the weekend.

The Sheffield Hallam University student had been at a family party at the Spital Hill Plaza, Spital Hill, Burngreave, when he was shot dead in the early hours of Sunday.

Today Mr Blunkett, whose Brightside constituency covers Spital Hill, said there was a “tendency” for some groups of youths in the area to carry weapons - and he called on their parents to take a stand and help disarm the youngsters.

He said unless the culture to carry weapons is challenged by families, more deaths could follow.

“Getting weapons out of the community is a massive task,” he said. “There is a tendency for particular groups to carry weapons and the minute someone has a gun or knife the likelihood is it will be used.

“Elders and community leaders have a real task to persuade families they will not countenance guns or knives with their sons. Until that happens the police are on an uphill struggle. If the culture to carry weapons continues there will be further fatalities.

“You have to have sympathy with residents whose lives are made a misery by events such as this,” he said.

“It’s frightening for families and it provides a very unfortunate image for a community which has a great deal going for it.”

He is hopeful a share of a £10 million funding pot announced by the Government to tackle hotspot gang areas will end up in Burngreave and neighbouring Pitsmoor, both plagued by postcode gang-related violence and murders over recent years.

The S3 and S4 gangs in the area first gained notoriety in 2007, when 16-year-old Jonathan Matondo, an S3 member, was gunned down next to a children’s playground off Nottingham Cliff, Burngreave.

His killer has never been caught but police believe he was a rival gang member.