Police chiefs insist Sheffield remains safest large city - despite spate of stabbings

Police chiefs have today insisted that Sheffield remains the UK's largest safest city - despite a spate of knife attacks over recent weeks, including a murder.

Detective Superintendent Una Jennings, responsible for overseeing gun and knife crime for South Yorkshire Police, spoke out during a week in which two men were left fighting for life in separate stabbings in Sheffield and a number of other men were treated for knife wounds following attacks.

Detective Superintendent Una Jennings

Detective Superintendent Una Jennings

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Six weeks ago, young dad Jarvin Blake, was stabbed to death in broad daylight in Burngreave, Sheffield, with those involved in the attack still at large.

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Det Supt Jennings said that despite a week of mayhem, knife crime offences in Sheffield are on the way down but remain a 'priority' for the force.

"The reality is that the sort of incidents we are experiencing in South Yorkshire are the incidents we are seeing right across the country," she added.

"Knives are readily available in all our homes when you compare them with firearms and for South Yorkshire Police there are a number of things we are doing to make sure we are on top of this.

"What we have seen since August is a slowing down in the number of incidents being reported to South Yorkshire Police where a knife has been used. Some of the things we are doing is paying dividends."

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She said the reintroduction of neighbourhood police teams was having an impact and an education programme delivered to 15,000 children over recent months was helping to 'change the mindset' of some young people tempted to walk the streets with a knife.

The senior detective said the use of stop and search powers is also helping.

"For those young people who choose to carry knives, you should expect to be stopped, you will be searched and you will be arrested and prosecuted," she added.

Det Supt Jennings said: "Sheffield is still the safest big city in the UK and we have made knife crime a priority. We have a plan, we are taking practical steps and it is starting to pay dividends."

She warned those who carry knives that they are three times more likely to get stabbed or killed than those who are unarmed.

"If you carry a knife it will have significant consequences for you and your family - you are three times more likely to be a victim. If you are caught carrying one or using one it will have a life-long impact," she said.

She said knife crime should be discussed with children in primary schools to spread the message about the dangers of carrying blades before it is too late.

"Nationally the average age of a perpetrator of knife crime is 17-25 and people are getting younger. We need to start the conversations with primary school children, not just those in secondary schools," she added.

A Sheffield judge has spoken of his concerns at the number of knife attacks and shootings in the city.

Judge David Dixon made his remarks while sentencing Sheffield man Aaron Divers, aged 23, of Nottingham Street, Burngreave, to 76 months behind bars for a string of offences including brandishing a fake gun outside a city pub.

The judge said: "Within this city at the moment, you only have to look in the local papers to see there's [been] an extreme rise in the number of guns and knives.

"At this court I see drugs, I see guns and I see knives being used at a frightening level.

"The message must go out loud and clear: those people that take the view they are able to carry guns or knives with a view to frightening people - or worse - using them, will receive the substantial prison sentence due to them."

Over recent weeks there has been a spate of knife attacks in Sheffield, the most serious of which resulted in the death of 22-year Jarvin Blake, who was targeted at the corner of Catherine Street and Brackley Street, Burngreave, on Thursday, March 8.

The young dad, whose children are aged five and under, was knifed after a group of men jumped from a car and chased him.

He died from a single stab wound to his chest.

This week a 30-year-old was left fighting for life after he was chased by two men and stabbed in Batemoor Place, Batemoor.

That same day a 29-year-old man also suffered life threatening injuries in an attack on Burgoyne Road, Walkley.

In another attack, also on Tuesday, a man was stabbed in his thigh during an argument in a house in Nottingham Street, Burngreave.

On Wednesday a man with a stab wound got into a taxi on Mason Lathe Road, Shiregreen, and was driven to a police station but he ran off.

He was later tracked down in the Northern General Hospital but is refusing to co-operate with the police.

Last Sunday, two men were taken to hospital with stab wounds following a disturbance in Sheffield.

They were found injured in Longley Farm View, Longley.

In Rotherham, a 19-year-old man was stabbed in his back after he was pulled from his car and attacked by three men in Wellgate on Wednesday night .

That same day a 26-year-old was knifed in Priory Place, off Printing Office Street, Doncaster.

Earlier this month a 21-year-old man was stabbed in his leg in Plowright Way, Gleadless Valley.

In Sheffield last month an 18-year-old man was seriously injured when he was stabbed by a group of men on Clough Road, Lowfield and a woman was left fighting for life after being stabbed on Gibbons Drive, off Norton Avenue, Norton.