Sheffield MP to chair knife crime debate after spate of stabbings across the city

Gill Furniss
Gill Furniss
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A Sheffield MP has spoken out on the rise of knife crime across the city and will chair a debate on the issue.

Gill Furniss, MP for Brightside and Hillsborough, is set to meet police chiefs, youth groups, charities and Sheffield headteachers, to have an 'open and serious discussion' about tackling the issue.

The call follows the death of dad-of-three, Jarvin Blake, 22, who was knifed to death in broad daylight in Burngreave. A few weeks later, a 24-year-old woman was left with life-threatening injuries after being allegedly stabbed by a 15-year-old boy in Gibbons Drive, Gleadless.

Figures from South Yorkshire police suggest the Sheffield and the county has seen a spike in knife crime from 590 cases in 2015/2016 to 882 in 2016/2017. The year 2016/2017 had a crime rate 65 per cent higher than the average of the previous four years.

It is estimated that 2017 was one of the deadliest years nationally for knife deaths for 40 years, including 39 deaths of teenagers.

Ms Furniss said: "I am deeply concerned by the rise in knife crime in our area. This is a problem that is tearing families and communities apart and I am determined to address and tackle this issue.

"These statistics have real consequences for the local community - they rip lives and families apart. Jarvin Blake leaves behind three young children, and a community shocked by this horrific event.

“We are facing an uphill struggle. The Government have cut funding to Sheffield Council by £350 million, decimating the provision for community intervention work.”

Coun Mark Jones, who represents the Burngreave ward on Sheffield Council, said: “We know that knife crime is more prolific in communities experiencing poverty and marginalisation.

"We need to give children different choices, it is not enough simply to confiscate weapons. We must bring together law enforcement, social services and health professionals to ensure that we are tackling the problem at its root.”

Detective Superintendent Una Jennings said she was delighted to work with Ms Furniss and others to tackle the root of the problem in the city.

She said: “We know that many young people start carrying knives and weapons at a young age. That is why we have reached out to over 15,000 pupils in Sheffield since September, going into schools and educating them about the seriousness of knife crime and the consequences of being caught carrying a weapon.

We are currently conducting evaluative work to see how effective these measures have been, and we will be reaching out to pupils who are not in mainstream education, who may be at even greater risk."