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Police seize weapons from streets of Sheffield as knife crime clamp down stepped up

Police searching for knives and weapons in Burngreave.
Police searching for knives and weapons in Burngreave.
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Police have seized more weapons in just five months than they did over a 12-month period between 2016 and 2017 as part of a clamp down on knife crime in Sheffield.

South Yorkshire Police's Chief Constable Stephen Watson, speaking exclusively to The Star after marking two years in charge, praised the work of his officers after admitting there was 'too much' of it happening on the city's streets.

Police searching for knives and weapons in Burngreave.

Police searching for knives and weapons in Burngreave.

In May, two teenagers were stabbed to death in as many days. Ryan Jowle, 19, was killed in Woodhouse on May 23 and 24 hours later Samuel Baker, 15, was stabbed to death in an attack in Lowedges.

Mr Watson said: "There are some enduring pressures, one of which is knife and gun-enabled crime in Sheffield and without putting too fine a point on it, there is too much.

"We are really committed to clamping down on that dynamic but even in that regard, there is some really positive news emerging.

"In the year-to-date, bearing in mind our year runs April to April, we have already seen more firearms seized than in the whole of 2016 put together and we are one away from more firearms recovered than in the whole of 2017.

Chief Constable Stephen Watson talks to The Star's Sam Cooper.

Chief Constable Stephen Watson talks to The Star's Sam Cooper.

"We are seeing some really good investigations that are revealing these things and revealing opportunities to interfere with these organised crime groups and seizures of guns, drugs, cash are all going up and we have got some really good arrests on the back of that and I think we will start to see the difference."

The force installed a knife bin in Burngreave at the end of April following the death of dad-of-three Jarvin Blake in March.

The 22-year-old was stabbed in his chest when a group of men jumped out of a car and chased him and a friend, who was also attacked.

South Yorkshire Police also runs Operation Duxford, which sees officers, sometimes including Mr Watson himself, visit a certain area and speak to people living there and work on issues the district commanders identify.

Mr Watson said: "Every district, every three months runs an Op Duxford and we've had anything between two and 500 of our officers on a given day. It doesn't cost us loads of overtime and we don't cancel leave and we say to the district commanders: 'Here are a load of officers, do with them what you will'.

"I don't set silly targets where I say I want to see this many people stopped or arrested or anything like that. What we do is let a whole bunch of police officers out into the community either to support something your neighbourhood police teams are trying to nut into, or bring effect to a response to a given problem or just to wander around and speak to people and have a cup of tea."