South Yorkshire Police have launched a strategy to tackle knife crime as the force begins to see a ‘turning of tide’ on the issue.
The latest figures nationally indicate an increase of 16% across all police force areas in knife enabled crime in March 2017 to March 2018. South Yorkshire Police witnessed a dramatic slowing of the rate of increase.
Detective Superintendent Una Jennings, who leads on knife crime for the Force and advises on national policy, said the ‘slowing’ was ‘heartening and shows that the public health approach is the most effective.’
At a public debate on knife crime earlier this week, Det Supt Jennings heard first-hand accounts from family members of those killed through stabbings.
Det Supt Jennings said: “There was never any doubt in my mind that we need a fully motivated public health approach to tackling knife crime but when I heard from those affected, it further energised that passion from all of us.
“A knife crime doesn’t simply affect the person stabbed; it ruins the lives of their family and friends and the life of the person carrying out the attack.
“They make a split second decision out of fear or anger but if we can get our young people to stop feeling the need to carry a knife, we can remove that thought process.
“The strategy aims to do exactly that. It builds on learning from other parts of the city and focuses on the work we can all do across the public, charity and third sectors to tackle knife crime. We’re very clear that when the problem of knife crime comes to the police, someone has already been failed, whether it is the offender or the victim. With this in mind, the police do not hold the answer to knife crime in isolation. We are absolutely committed to working with our partners to identify and address the causes of knife crime, to help people choose a life away from crime and where they are not prepared to do that, to support these efforts with robust enforcement.
“The strategy has already been brought to life by a dedicated multi agency team working from a police building to address all of the issues which cause someone to feel the need to carry a knife. At every opportunity, we look at prevention, diversion and where appropriate, enforcement.”