Tackling violent crime: US cops advise Sheffield police

Det Supt Una Jennings
Det Supt Una Jennings

Senior detectives took advice from police in the United States for a new operation to tackle gun and knife crime in Sheffield.

Det Supt Una Jennings joined Sheffield Council chief executive John Mothersole for a presentation at the Town Hall on Operation Fortify, a new multi-agency drive to combat violent crime.

In the past year alone there were 22 attacks leading to five deaths and 23 injuries in Sheffield.

The new plan include strategies to make criminal activity more difficult, prosecute those running gangs, target areas where crime is concentrated, and, crucially, involve all members of the community from major nightclubs to families.

Det Supt Jennings, who is originally from Belfast, addressed a meeting of the full council. She said: “I have found a home in Sheffield, I’m incredibly proud of our city, of the police force I’m part of and I’m excited and invested in what we can achieve.

“I have been with the police 17 years, 15 of them as a detective, so hopefully that will give you some confidence that I do know something when I talk about violent crime.

“We have a very safe city, a city to be very proud of and can be rightly described as one of the very safest to live in the UK.

However I know that your expectation, like me, is to make it safer still and that has to be a driver in how we approach and tackle violent crime, organised criminality and specifically knife crime.”

South Yorkshire Police met officers and organisations in Glasgow, Manchester, London and even as far as Chicago to take advice on how other cities are dealing with violent crime.

“Like most good ideas, there is nothing original about Operation Fortify,” said Det Supt Jennings.

“We have taken the best bits of what has worked in those particular areas and tried to bring it back and localise it. Some of our issues in Sheffield are very different to other cities so we need to do what works best here.”