'Knife crime is tearing our communities apart' - Sheffield MPs back our Drop The Knife campaign
Three of the city's MPs have backed The Star's Drop The Knife campaign, as the number of reported stabbings in Sheffield this year reaches 23.
Earlier this month, 21-year-old Kavan Brissett became the fifth person in Sheffield to die from stab wounds this year, after he was fatally knifed in an alleyway off Langsett Walk in Upperthorpe.
There have also been 18 non-fatal knife attacks in the city this year, the most recent of which took place on, Sunday, August 26, when a 43-year-old man was slashed in the head and robbed near Park Hill flats.
The Star launched an anti-knife campaign last week, in a bid to make the city's streets safer and persuade people to stop arming themselves with knives.
The campaign has now been backed by Louise Haigh MP, Jared O'Mara MP and Gill Furniss MP.
- Shadow Policing Minister, and MP for Sheffield Heeley, Louise Haigh, said: "Every member of our community has a stake in stopping the horrific rise in violent crime so we all need to play our part in tackling it.
"That means schools, health professionals, youth workers, the media, politicians, the police and most importantly communities coming together to look at the reasons why more and more young people are using violence and doing everything in our power to stop it. The criminal justice response is vital but even more important is stopping it happening in the first place
"Every time violence is used to harm at least two lives are ruined. I would beg every parent in Sheffield to speak to their children about the dangers of carrying a knife and make clear that it absolutely doesn't protect them to do so."
- MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, Gill Furniss, said: "'Knife crime is tearing families and communities apart, and I wholeheartedly welcome the Star’s campaign, which seeks to shed light on the issue and how best we can tackle it. This epidemic has cost too many lives, and it must stop now.
"Carrying knives has become all too common, and it is vital that we work together with local community leaders and the police to get these weapons off the streets. Already, some fantastic work is being done on this front and I continue to engage and work with stakeholders to support these important initiatives and to raise the issues at the highest levels.
"There are, however, deep-rooted socio-economic issues facing our communities that we must tackle in order to get to the core of the problems facing young people’s lives in our community.
"The Government’s failure to deal with the housing crisis; its failure to properly fund the youth and community services; its strategy of reducing police numbers; and the lack of funding which has led to a crisis in education today all contribute to creating an environment conducive to a crisis in identity, vision, and prospect for our young people and stop our communities being resilient to matters such as knife crime.
"This is why the Government must step up and invest properly in the future of young people in our community so that they can confidently reject knife crime and the tragedy it inflicts.''
- Sheffield Hallam MP, Jared O'Mara, said: “There is no easy answer to resolving knife crime, but as a starter I believe we need greater resources for the police, government agencies all working together in a joined up way, as well as tougher sentences with more of an emphasis on rehabilitation and education.
"We also need to give hope for the future by investing in our young people through youth services, jobs and training.”
The investigation into Mr Brissett's death
Mr Brissett died in hospital on Saturday, August 18. He was fatally stabbed in an alleyway off Langsett Walk, Upperthorpe at around 6.45pm on Tuesday, August 14.
Police have arrested an 18-year-old man on suspicion of attempted murder.
Three boys, two aged 17 and one aged 16, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to rob.
All have been released on bail as detectives continue to investigate.
Police are continuing to appeal for witnesses. Anyone with information should call South Yorkshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 827 of August 14, 2018.
The Star will be continuing to campaign for people across the city to Drop The Knife over the coming weeks and months.
If you think you can help with the campaign, or want to share your story about how knife crime has affected you, please call: 0114 252 1209 or email: email@example.com