City Set to Unite in Taking a Stand Against Knife Crime
A knife surrender launches in Birmingham today as communities across the city unite to take a stand against knife crime.
‘Get a life, bin that knife’ is the message being spread to anyone thinking about carrying a blade in Birmingham.
The knife surrender has been called for by local people and secure bins will be located at the heart of the city’s neighbourhoods.
The initiative is being backed by young people who attended the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Youth Summit in Birmingham in December last year and pledged their support for the surrender.
Members of the community and officers have been working with Word 4 Weapons to organise the placement of the bins – the organisation has experience of running a similar scheme in London.
A total of three knife disposal bins have now been installed across the city and there are plans for more in the near future. The first three can be found in:
• New Testament Church Of God, New Spring Street Hockley
• New Testament Church Of God, 240-244 Lozells Road Birmingham
• New Testament Church of God, Goosemore Lane, Erdington
Bishop Derek Webley, whose church in Lozells is hosting one of the first bins, said: “I fully support the initiative of providing bins for the depositing of knives.
“One knife carried is one knife too many, one life taken by the use of a knife is one life too many, therefore those who want to dispose of a knife or knives in a safe place should have the opportunity and the facility to do so.”
Commissioner Bob Jones explained: “Our communities have told us that they want an end to knife crime and that they want to work with us to make that happen.
“These bins are a direct response to members of the public who called for a knife surrender at our Stop and Search Summit in September and at our October public meeting on knife crime.
“I would like to thank our partners in the community and other organisations who have worked together to bring this about.
“For this knife surrender campaign to succeed it needs to be actively led by our community and particularly our young people.
“Our recently appointed Youth Commissioners, will have a significant role in working proactively to spread the message to young people, about the risks to themselves from carrying a knife and the reasons they should use the knife surrender bins.”
A knife surrender differs from a knife amnesty in that there is no temporary suspension of laws against carrying a life while the surrender is in place and there is no fixed duration for the initiative.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Wallis, added: “We have worked closely with our local communities who have led the way in introducing this initiative in Birmingham.
“The most effective way to get rid of a knife remains disposing of it in a bin at home, but the knife surrender bins will provide an additional place for knives to be disposed of safely.
“Knife crime has fallen considerably over the last decade – down 75 per cent – and our work continues to drive this down even further. We must also remember that fatal knife attacks are not commonplace.
“Our Knives End Lives campaign has been running since the start of last year and was launched to raise people’s awareness of the consequences of carrying a weapon. Almost 50,000 school pupils have now seen a hard-hitting presentation which is designed to steer them away from knife crime and “deglamourise” gang culture.
“Carrying a knife, or indeed anything that could be used as a weapon, is a game changer: if you set foot in public with a knife you not only endanger other people’s lives but also your own. If someone with a knife gets caught up in a row or scuffle there’s every chance that knife could be used to injure or kill – and may well be used against the carrier.
“Carrying knives “for protection” is a total fallacy – in reality it may well result in the person being seriously hurt or punished by the courts. One life affected by knife crime is one too many.”
Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe & Smart City, commented: “It is important that we respond to the needs of our communities on such important issues as knife crime and by supporting this community-led campaign our residents will feel safer in their own neighbourhoods and it is key that our young-people are leading the way in shaping a safer Birmingham.”
Anyone with information on those carrying a knife should call police on 101. People who do not want to speak to officers directly can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.