Knife crime in Solihull doubles in four years - The Solihull Observer

Knife crime in Solihull doubles in four years

Solihull Editorial 20th Sep, 2018   0

KNIFE crime has nearly doubled in Solihull borough in four years, figures obtained by the Observer reveal.

It has become a burning issue after a spate of incidents involving knives in the borough in recent months.

Raneem Oudeh, 22, who had a two-year-old son, and her mother Khaola Saleem, 49, were fatally stabbed last month in a brutal attack on Northdown Road, Solihull.

In the previous month, an alleged attempted rape of an 11-year-old girl at knifepoint in Babbs Mill Park prompted an on-going manhunt.

Knives incidents in the borough increased from 64 in 2014/15 to 121 by the end of 2017/18.

Figures also show there have been 68 cases of knife crime so far in 2018/19.

It is despite West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) David Jamieson announcing last week that more than 200,000 students in the region have been educated about the dangers of knife crime since 2010.

Mr Jamieson told us: “There is no one single reason for the increase, but there is a clear linkage to the number of police officers on the streets and the amount of preventative work they are able to undertake.

“I also believe that cuts to other services, such as youth work undertaken by councils is a key driver of this.

“I am also concerned by the increasing number of young people who have been excluded from schools and are ending on the streets unsupervised.

“I raised this issue with the home secretary last week and called for the introduction of a cross-government taskforce to ensure that children excluded from school do not end up beginning a life of crime.”

The PCC-funded Precious Lives Project works with young people in schools to divert them away from violence.

The rise in knife crime in Solihull borough is in line with the pattern in the West Midlands, which saw 2,845 incidents in 2017/18 compared to 1,554 in 2012/13.

Operation Sceptre has been launched by police in all 43 force areas in England and Wales, employing an array of different tactics to seize weapons – such as using metal detecting equipment.

Weapon surrender bins are to be rolled out in Solihull borough along with other parts of the region.

The rise in the last four years follows several years of falling knife crime in Solihull borough since 2010, when there were 154 incidents.

The Precious Lives Project primarily focuses on knife crime but sessions also cover anti-social behaviour.

As part of the scheme, Alison Cope, a mother from Birmingham whose son Joshua was fatally stabbed in September 2013, tours the region’s schools telling her story.

The aim is to warn youngsters about the dangers of carrying knives.

The scheme reaches out to secondary school pupils and some primary school pupils aged as young as 10.

Mr Jamieson said: “Alison Cope and PC Rob Pedley (who run the project) are able to reach out to young people at an early age and steer them away from violence and crime.”

Ms Cope added: “I aim to educate young people in the West Midlands, not only about knife crime but on the importance of choices, love and hope.

“I share the life story of my son Joshua and how through positive choices he achieved many things, but then how another person’s choice ended his life.”

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