Newly elected West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson will tomorrow (Thursday 28 August) attend the launch of the sixth knife bin in the West Midlands placed by London-based charity Word4Weapons. This bin is the product of a community campaign led by the Sampson Road Residents Association, who have organised this launch. Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Yvonne Mosquito is also attending the launch.
The bin – located in Aldi Car Park, Stratford Road, Sparkbrook – is part of a community-led response to concerns about knife crime.
Speaking about the launch, David said, “I’m delighted to have been invited by Sampson Road Residents Association to support the launch of this knife bin. Knife crime and violence against young people was raised with me many times during the campaign. People should be reassured that serious knife crimes are rare, and we’ve seen big reductions in knife crime over the last decade. However, incidents, when they happen, come with searing tragedy and horror, especially as we think of young lives cut short. The recent death of Ikram Khan reminds us in the worst possible way of how awful such crimes are, and I know that the community in Sparkbrook is united in supporting this bin so as to prevent further tragedies. If the bin takes a knife off the streets that would have been used in a crime, or reminds people of the terrible consequences that knife crime can bring, it will have been worth it. Sampson Road Residents Association and Word4Weapons should be applauded for the great work they are doing.”
The knife bin launch is taking place at 1630, 28 August 2014, Aldi Car Park, Stratford Road, Sparkbrook, B11 1QS.
The knife surrender bins form a part of a wider program supported by West Midlands Police including:
- Training has been delivered to 250 teachers from across the region in Fearless – a Crimestoppers programme designed to support young people in both managing peer pressure and encouraging social responsibility in crime reporting.
- There have been 20 intelligence led undercover test-purchase operations over the past 12 months with only two traders breaking the law by selling knives to under 18s.
- Pop-up airport-style metal detectors have appeared at transport hubs and interchanges in one-off intelligence led policing operations.
- Around 50 teachers have been reminded in police led training sessions of their powers in relation to searching for weapons on school premises.
- 150 people – including the parents of murdered schoolgirl Christina Edkins – attended a pioneering drama project financed by the Police Property Act Fund.
- Around 30 youngsters, aged between 13 and 18, were involved in the production performing their own songs and poetry about how knife crime has affected them, following several weeks of rehearsals alongside music producers and drama professionals.
- Last November, officers in one of Birmingham’s most deprived areas took the bold step of taking community members with them on a bus operation after they had confided in police that they felt unsafe using buses following the death of a 16 year-old boy. The operation, in partnership with National Express and initiated in a direct response to these concerns, demonstrated how the latest technology is keeping passengers safe – including the use of equipment to automatically detect vandalism and high definition CCTV cameras triggered by a detection to zoom straight in on the vandal.
- Each of the 10 local policing units in the West Midlands now have dedicated knife crime leads driving work to target offenders and drive down offences in their area through awareness, education, work with partner agencies, voluntary groups and most importantly, local young people.
Locations of existing knife bins:
- Tabernacle Church, Dunstall Road, Whitmore Reans (opened 9 July 2014 by Sarah Edmondson, widow of West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones)
- Tesco Fiveways Edgbaston, rear car park, Ruston Street, Birmingham (opened on 10 July by Kathleen Harris, mother of Christina Edkins, who was tragically killed in a knife attack in March 2013)
- New Testament Church Of God, New Spring Street, Hockley (opened February 2014)
- New Testament Church Of God, 240-244 Lozells Road, Birmingham (opened February 2014)
- New Testament Church of God, Goosemore Lane, Erdington (opened February 2014)