‘Key is getting everyone to work together’: Cabinet member for safety backs Drop the Knife campaign

Councillor Jim Steinke, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, has spoken out about the rise in reported stabbings in Sheffield and backed The Star’s Drop the Knife campaign.

This year there have been 26 stabbings in the city, five of which have been fatal.

In the most recent incident 21-year-old Kavan Bisset died from stab wounds after he was knifed in an alleyway.

There have also been 18 non-fatal knife attacks in Sheffield this year. The most recent being a 48-year-old man was slashed in the head with a knife and robbed near Park Hill flats.

The Star has launched an anti-knife campaign in a bid to make the city safer and persuade people to stop arming themselves with knives.

Coun Steinke said the city needs to work together on tackle knife crime and take a long-term approach.

He said: “It’s important to have a long-term approach but also understand there is no ‘magic-bullet’ solution.

“At the same time we need to consider what comfort a strategy is to families and what comfort is to people who are anxious about how safe our streets are.

“I do believe in a strategic approach but also we want to be giving reassuring messages and the police have got to be taking action now so that we can emphasise as actions being taken.  

Coun Steinke said there are a number of people around the city working to combat the issues and said these groups need support as well as organisations. 

He said: “I think it’s also a case of supporting community-based project, like Mums United, which is actually lead by the Friends of Firth Park. So, it doesn’t have to be a community safety-run organisation like neighbourhood watch. This is about people who are just concerned about the environment or concerned about kids.

“We need to find ways of supporting them, but realising that it is just one tool. We can’t expect small groups, self-help groups in some cases, to solve it. The key is getting everyone to work together and realising that is a long haul.”

He added that Sheffield is a relatively safe city and said much of the crime happens in gangs. 

He said: “I think we still need to remember that Sheffield is such a safe city. Yet because it’s been so safe the increase in knife crime has had a disproportionate effect. If you have got such a small number, the percentage increase is going to be that much bigger. But clearly there is an issue at the moment. And a city that doesn’t feel safe isn’t safe.

“I have difficulty talking about gangs sometimes because there is an emotional aspect about bonding but they actually just hire these kids for exploitation.

“You see 15-year-olds getting a 13-year-old to chuck bricks at houses and then you go along Abbeydale Road at night and you see the same 15-year-olds being told what to do by 18-year-olds who, in turn, are being told to do something else.”