South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner worried about age of knife crime victims

Dr Alan Billings
Dr Alan Billings

South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has spoken of his concern at the way knife crime victims are becoming younger.

Dr Alan Billings expressed his fears about the 'trend' on the day the Government launched its 'Serious Violence Strategy' in response to an increase in gun and knife crime and murders nationally.

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The Commissioner recently took part in a round table discussion with Home Secretary Amber Rudd and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, ahead of the strategy being announced.

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Dr Billings said: "I welcome the government’s Serious Violence Strategy. It marks a return to the successful strategy of the Labour Government under Tony Blair - to get tough on crime

but also the causes of crime. It will, however, only be as successful as that was if it is carried through with focus and cash.

"The increase in violent crime is a Europe-wide phenomenon. It has been most marked in London, though we have seen increases in South Yorkshire.

"The most worrying trend is that perpetrators and victims have been getting younger."

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Dr Billings added: "The causes of renewed violence are many and I welcome the recognition by the Home Secretary that this is not just about law enforcement, important though that is. So while the fall in the number of police officers is a contributory factor, there are many others - the glamorisation of violence in certain kinds of videos and music, the collapse of youth services, the lack of jobs in some areas, mental health and substance misuse, the rise in drugs use among the young and so-called ‘county lines’ - gangs using young people to take drugs from the cities to rural areas.

"Tackling these issues is long-term and will require many organisations working together - police, local authorities, voluntary bodies, the NHS, but also the public."

Police investigations are underway into a number of incidents of violence in Sheffield over recent months, including the murder of 22-year-old Jarvin Blake, from Gleadless, who was stabbed to death at the junction of Catherine Street and Brackley Street, Burngreave.

The young dad-of-three was knifed in his chest in what detectives are treating as a targeted attack.

Four arrests have been made but nobody has yet been charged.

Last week a 17-year-old boy was charged with with grievous bodily harm over an knife attack in Plowright Way, Gleadless Valley after a 21-year-old man was stabbed.

And on Friday, March 30, a 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of firearms offences following a shooting in the London Road area of Sheffield.

A man riding a moped pulled onto Hill Street and fired a gun towards two other men in the street at around lunchtime that day.

Anyone with information should call South Yorkshire Police on 101.