South Yorkshire Police to speak to stabbing suspects and victims in hospital to encourage them to drop the knife

Chief Supt Stuart Barton, district commander for Sheffield.
Chief Supt Stuart Barton, district commander for Sheffield.

Police officers will speak to suspects and victims of knife crime in the immediate aftermath of a stabbing in the hope of encouraging people to drop the knife.

Chief Supt Stuart Barton, district commander for Sheffield, said the force would mirror work being done in Glasgow where hospital staff and other support agencies to reduce the number of people carrying knives.

It comes as detectives continue to investigate the murder of 21-year-old Kavan Brissett, who became the fifth person to be stabbed to death in Sheffield since the turn of the year.

Chief Supt Barton said: “There has been a lot said about figures of knife crime in Sheffield and there is no doubt it’s very high profile because we’ve had several murders.

“There are also a few very lucky people that if it was not for the changes in medical interventions there would be a change to the number of murders we have had.

“I must also praise members of the public and our officers at scenes and the Northern General Hospital who work unbelievably hard to keep people alive.”

Mr Brissett was stabbed in an alleyway off Langsett Walk, Upperthorpe, just before 6.45pm on August 14 and died in hospital four days later.

Chief Supt Barton said the force would carry out the new approach of speaking to victims and their families as part of Operation Fortify.

He said: “What they have in Glasgow is a system where they speak to people who have been involved in knife crime at the point of crisis to try and give them some help.

“It means they can speak to people and ask them if it’s something they really want to be involved in while it is at its most serious. It is a similar system to what we’ll be doing in Sheffield.”

The city’s top officer said knife crime remained a top priority for the force but admitted it was a ‘long haul’.

The Star is encouraging people to drop the knife following a rise in the number of stabbing across the city.

Chief Supt Barton said: “Knife crime at the minute in the city is not only one of the biggest challenges, it is also one of the biggest focuses and it's not just a a police focus, it's a partnership focus.

“It’s going to be a long haul and there is a multitude of little things put together that hopefully as people start to piece together in their mind they think: ‘I don’t want to carry an knife and I don’t want that kind of lifestyle’.”

He said he was also concerned that people were carrying knives because they thought it was ‘cool’, but added: “Carrying a knife is far from cool.”