Stourbridge MP holds knife crime summit

Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb has held her first knife summit meeting with local organisations and the police.

Several groups came to Stourbridge Football Club on Thursday with the aim to work together to come up with ways to tackle knife crime in the West Midlands.

Midlands Air Ambulance; local policing lead, Chief Inspector Balraj Sohal; police lead on serious youth violence, Inspector Leanne Nicklin and Stourbridge FC chairman, Andy Pountney were all at the summit with Suzanne.

Others who came include Mark Brindley from the James Brindley Foundation, Brierley Hill-based Team Pumpkin, ABC Boxing Gym and the Stourbridge Cinema Project.

Each organisation told of its involvement in tackling knife crime.

Midlands Air Ambulance provide training sessions on how to use bleed control kids and roll the kits out to schools and community groups.

The boxing gym is already working with the police, Dudley Council for Voluntary Service and some local schools to provide an alternative activity for young people to keep them off the streets. It is taking referrals from the police three times a week, at no cost to the children’s families, the summit was told.

Chief Inspector Sohal talked about how they are seeing young children being exposed to knife crime at younger ages which is having significant impacts.

Stourbridge football club and the cinema project want to use their facilities as community hubs that can be used to spread messages regarding knife crime. Suzanne said:

“Thank you to everyone who took the time to come together to tackle the scourge of knife crime in the West Midlands in such a knowledgeable and expert way.

“With such brilliant and committed people and organisations involved we can make a real difference and get knives off our streets and keep our young people from serious injury or worse.

“The group discussed the need to involve parents when it comes to changing children’s behaviours as parents often think their children will not be affected.

“I discussed the need to get the James Brindley Full Circle anti knife programme into more schools as this is a brilliant way of educating young children around the consequences of carrying a knife.

“But we also agreed that we cannot police our way of this issue – there needs to be a whole community approach to tackling this and that is why it was tremendous to see just that at the summit.

“I also said that once this group has made enough noise in the public domain, it will give me more influence in Westminster to make changes.”

Several actions or suggestions to move forward were decided at the meeting. Suzanne is going to write to all the head teachers in Stourbridge and try to organise a round table with the group, specifically with the police and air ambulance, to have an honest conversation about knife crime and youth violence.

Everyone agreed schools must be on board Midlands Air Ambulance discussed doing a similar scheme to the ‘Ask Angela’ report of danger scheme in pubs where community hubs, like the cinema and football club can signpost people for support in a safe and anonymous way. Andy Pountney added:

“It is very important to us at Stourbridge FC that we get the message across to our community and to the wider country - put the knives down, carrying knives costs lives.

“Seeing the devastation it has brought to the families of Ryan Passey, Cody Fisher and many others it is time to stop.”


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