Police urged to admit how serious Sheffield's gun and knife crime problems are

Police chiefs in Sheffield are being urged to admit how serious Sheffield’s gun and knife crime problems are.

Friday, 8th April 2022, 9:53 am

The force has been urged to be open about the scale of violence on the city’s streets following the murder of a young man – 21-year-old Lamar Leroy Griffiths – who was shot dead at a car wash in Burngreave last week.

A 31-year-old man was also found dead in nearby Grimesthorpe Road yesterday although the circumstances surrounding his death have not yet been disclosed.

Read More

Read More
Nine notorious Sheffield killers locked up for life for murders which shocked ci...

Sign up to our daily newsletter

A police cordon in Burngreave following a fatal shooting last week

Sahira Irshad, a founding member of Mums United, a Sheffield charity led by city mothers to help tackle youth violence and child drug exploitation, said more needs to be done to save lives.

“When the police come out with statements such as ‘isolated incident’ every time there is a shooting or stabbing, it is not helpful because what it does is brush the issue under the carpet,” she said.

“There needs to be a public acknowledgment that we do have a problem with guns, knives, organised crime, child exploitation and county lines and what the scale of that problem is.

“We know that there is police enforcement work around these issues but that is not enough. The police need to be working with grassroots organisations like ours to look at what else can be done. Our members all have life experiences; we are living with or have lived through these problems.”

She added: “So many lives have been lost through gun and knife crime and each time it happens, the standard police response is ‘it’s an isolated incident’. These are not isolated and the police need to work with groups like ours to get to the root cause of why all this is happening.

“You can do as much enforcement as you like and break down doors every day but that will never solve the problem if we can’t change the mindset and apathy there seems to be around youth violence.

“It does not matter where murders occur, the response should not just be focused on where people have been killed because this kind of violence is a city-wide problem, it needs tackled in all communities.”

Sahira added: “Sheffield is just like any other large city, I can’t say it’s not a safe city. It is a city that has problems and its issues do need to be seriously looked at. We have to get to the root cause of them.

“What a lot of them boil down to is young people finding a place that they call home in a sub culture of gangs and violence, and once that sub culture exists it is hard to penetrate and dismantle. That sub culture is seen as the norm, it becomes a learnt behaviour and before you know it you have children as young as nine involved.

“The fact is that not enough is being done about this.”

Sheffield’s District Commander, Chief Superintendent Shelley Hemsley, said: “We acknowledge that when violent crimes happen it is extremely concerning for our local communities, and we have sadly seen two incidents happen in recent weeks where people have tragically lost their lives – once again demonstrating the consequences and impact that violent crime can have on individuals, families, and whole communities.

“We are as appalled as anyone when these violent crimes occur in our city, and like many of our policing colleagues across the country, tackling violent criminality, including gun and knife enabled crime, continues to be a priority. We have robust plans in place to tackle the ongoing issues we are experiencing across Sheffield, and a great deal of work is currently taking place, proactively and at pace, to tackle not only gun and knife enabled crime, but violent crime as a whole.

“I want to reassure everyone that helping people feel reassured and safe in Sheffield continues to be a huge area of focus. Our core purpose as a force is to protect the public and we are driving forward a partnership approach to tackling issues around violent crime in our city and continuously work to improve safety across South Yorkshire.

“As part of our day-to-day activity, our local neighbourhood and proactive teams carry out enforcement activity to remove weapons from our streets, including stop searches and vehicle checks, warrants, proactive knife arch operations and high-visibility patrols in areas known to be affected by knife and gun crime. Through this work, we regularly locate and seize weapons hidden by offenders, make arrests for possession of weapons, and disrupt drug supply networks.

“Our officers are working with determination and innovation to prevent violent crimes and ensure Sheffield remains a safe place to live, work and visit. When these incidents do happen, we work with compassion and understanding to support victims and their loved ones, and relentlessly pursue perpetrators.

“We are stronger together, and we need to work collaboratively to bring an end to violent crime. I would encourage anyone who has concerns about safety in our city to get in touch.

“We need people to report information about crimes to us, however minor it may seem. Gathering information from local people is crucial in enabling us to identify patterns of offending. If you share information with us, we will work with you and protect you. And if you feel uncomfortable speaking to the police directly, you can report information anonymously to Crimestoppers, either online or over the phone.”

Call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.