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Sheffield city centre still declared safe for nights out

Crystal was temporarily closed after six stabbings on New Year's Day but it has since re-opened
Crystal was temporarily closed after six stabbings on New Year's Day but it has since re-opened

Sheffield city centre is still classed as one of the safest places in the country for a night out - despite an increase in knife crime.

The city has been awarded a 'Purple Flag' for the seventh successive year - similar to the Blue Flags awarded to beaches - which aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres between 5pm and 5am.

The award came despite an increase in knife crime in the city over recent months.

Mirroring a national trend, the city centre has seen an increase in stabbings, including six in Crystal on Carver Street in the early hours of New Year's Day.

Six men from Birmingham were attacked, with two left fighting for life.

In another incident, a number of men were found with stab wounds in the Wicker area in the early hours of Saturday, December 23.

Detectives believe there may have been an incident at Niche nightclub on Walker Street beforehand.

Sheffield Council said it is working with South Yorkshire Police and other partners following 'a number of isolated incidents over Christmas' and said the award should reassure people that the city remains a safe place to live, work and party in.

Areas awarded the Purple Flag are recognised for providing a vibrant and diverse mix of dining, entertainment and culture while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and local residents.

Councillor Mary Lea, Sheffield Council's cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said: "It’s great to see Sheffield once again receiving this award, and our night-time entertainment offer being recognised on a national level.

"With our varied selection of bars and restaurants, as well as a thriving theatre district and huge array of cultural attractions, we in Sheffield really are leading the way when it comes to providing an eclectic mix of places to eat, drink, relax and have fun.

"Sheffield is now a much more vibrant place after 5pm thanks to Sheffield Business Improvement District's 'Alive After Five' campaign. We were all shocked by the incidents over Christmas and are working closely with partners to ensure that we can hoist the Purple Flag for many years to come."

Superintendent Paul McCurry, of South Yorkshire Police, added: “We work closely with Sheffield BID, Sheffield Council and our licensed premises across Sheffield to keep the city safe and to ensure that all those who visit Sheffield can enjoy its diverse nightlife and culture without issue.

"In recent weeks, we have seen a number of concerning incidents in the city centre at our licensed premises but it is testament to the excellent partnership working between police, Sheffield BID and licensed premises that we were able to address these issues quickly, enforcing closure notices while discussions take place to improve public safety measures.

"Retaining the Purple Flag status is a significant achievement for all those involved in this process and a great deal of work happens behind the scenes to gain this accreditation, so I want to thank everyone who has supported, and continues to support, this initiative."

Diane Jarvis, Sheffield BID manager, said: "Making Sheffield city centre a safer place for people to eat, drink, shop, and enjoy themselves in the evening is a one of Sheffield BID’s core objectives, and it is fantastic that the city continues to be recognised by Purple Flag."