‘Change in approach saw number of knife crimes recorded in Sheffield fall for first time in five years’

Police believe a change in how they approach and deal with knife crime is beginning to reduce the number of stabbings on the streets of Sheffield.

The number of knife crimes recorded in South Yorkshire fell by 12 per cent in the last year, the county’s police force announced as a week-long operation to raise awareness of the devastating consequences of carrying a weapon got underway across the county.

Det Supt Una Jennings of South Yorkshire Police launching Operation Sceptre

Det Supt Una Jennings of South Yorkshire Police launching Operation Sceptre

Det Supt Una Jennings said the force recorded 819 knife-enabled crimes between September 2017 and 2018 - down from 931 in the previous 12 months.

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Tragically though, eight of those incidents were fatal stabbings in Sheffield but South Yorkshire Police's lead for armed criminality, said the force was now beginning to see the benefits of a changed approach to the issue.

She said: "We all know that trying to enforce our way out of knife crime is not feasible so a lot of different agencies have to act together to change people’s minds about carrying knives.

“I think we are seeing some early signs of success since we adopted the public health approach – for the first time in five years we have seen a 12 per cent fall in knife crime.”

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Det Supt Jennings was speaking as Operation Sceptre – a national scheme aimed at raising awareness and making people aware of the consequences of carrying a knife.

Officers will be carrying out open land seaches, introducing knife arches in schools and carrying out extra street patrols all week.

She also called on parents to use the week to speak to their children about knife crime.

She said: "We are going to be putting material out around advice for parents and signs they can watch out for.

"We'll also be sharing resources they can use to to have those kind of conversations with their children.

"The biggest thing they can do to help is have conversations with children about it."

Back in May 2018, detectives and officers were left dealing with two fatal stabbings of teenagers in just three days.

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Ryan Jowle, 19, died in hospital hours after being stabbed in the chest on Tannery Close, Woodhouse, on May 23 before 15-year-old Sam Baker died in a knife attack in Lowedges.

Det Supt Jennings said the force aimed to speak to all Year 9 pupils in schools across the city about knife crime.

She said: "We have spoken to 40,000 schoolchildren over the last 18 months and we are making a point of speaking to Year 9 pupils right across the city.

"We feel that age is a good entry point –  the victims and perpetrators are getting younger so we want to speak to children about the effects and consequences of carrying a knife."