'We are not losing control' says Sheffield's top cop

Chief Superintendent Stuart Barton.
Chief Superintendent Stuart Barton.
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Sheffield's top policeman has denied his officers are 'losing control' after a spate of stabbings and shootings rocked the city in recent weeks.

Three people have been shot in Sheffield over the last 48 hours, and a steady stream of stabbings has continued unabated for much of the year, including the tragic murder of 22-year-old father-of-two Jarvin Blake in March.

Earlier this week, annual crime statistics showed that violent crime had risen in South Yorkshire by almost 60 per cent in the last year, despite Sheffield's supposed 'safe' status among the ranks of other big cities.

However, the District Commander for Sheffield, Chief Superintendent Stuart Barton, today rejected the idea his officers were losing control of the city.

He said: "We have dealt with several incidents this week which have been in different parts of the city and each is being investigated individually.

"Some are more serious than others and we will prioritise those incidents which we believe are causing more risk.

"Nothing that we have seen is leading us to believe that we are dealing with a gun crime issue that is out of control in Sheffield."

Chief Supt Barton added that the best way of dealing with the problem was for those people closest to the people perpetrating this crime to deter them from doing so.

He stressed, however, that it would not be right to describe all the stabbings and shootings as gang related.

In a statement released by South Yorkshire Police after an unprecedented few days of violence, Chief Supt Barton explained what the force was doing to combat the worrying surge in disorder.

“Sheffield is a thriving and diverse city which continues to grow and develop, and I feel proud to serve in a city full of culture,” he said.

“In recent days there have been two incidents that will have caused fear and raised concerns amongst our communities and I fully understand situations like these can cause unrest when people see armed officers on their streets. I would like to provide my reassurance that we have dedicated teams of officers working on these individual incidents to identify those responsible. My aim is to keep Sheffield a safe place to live.”

“We have commenced investigations into both matters which occurred in different parts of the city. I am not treating these as linked and we appealing for information in relation to both.”

On Wednesday 25 April, at around 9.45pm, reports were received that shots had been fired around Crown Place, at the back of Park Hill flats.

As a result of this and during that evening officers dealt with a 19-year-old man and a 43 year old woman who had received injuries and were taken to hospital.

These injuries were consistent with the use of a small firearm but their injuries were not life threatening.

Officers are treating this as a targeted attack. At this time, no arrests have been made, but enquiries are ongoing.

A second, separate incident was reported to officers at around 6.25pm last night, after a man suffered facial injuries in Meersbrook Park.

It is believed these injuries were caused from the discharge of an air weapon. The 22-year-old was taken to hospital and after surgery is recovering well

“The safety of everyone living, working and visiting Sheffield is our absolute priority and this remains at the forefront of the work we do, alongside local partner agencies.

"Together, we continue to work hard to tackle armed, violent criminality and are constantly looking at new ways to educate and engage with our communities about the life-changing consequences carrying any weapon can have”

“Taking a collaborative approach to address this issue enables us to work with partners, support services and most importantly members of the public to create a safer city for everyone”

“Specifically this work includes targeted days of activity, the most recent of which was held in Fox Hill earlier this week, engagement with local premises and business, high visibility patrols and the use of civil orders to enforce restrictions”

“Our ongoing work has seen a number of successful convictions so far this year and I hope these results demonstrate that anyone found to be involved in this type of criminality will be identified, arrested and brought before the courts.

“Alongside our work, we rely heavily on information from members of the public and it’s vital we come together to educate anyone involved in this type of criminality, to show them that this can have serious and sometimes catastrophic consequences for offenders and their loved ones”

“The involvement of everyone in this is crucial and so I would please ask and encourage anyone with information or concerns to either report it directly to police on 101 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

“Finally, I finally would like to make very clear that crime and incidents of this nature are not and will not be tolerated, and action will always be taken to identify and bring offenders responsible before the courts.”

Anyone with information about the incidents near Park Hill flats or Meersbrook Park should call 101 quoting incident number 983 of 25 April 2018 or 773 of 26 April 2018.