The police cannot tackle knife crime alone, Greater Manchester’s deputy chief constable has said, after three people died within a week following stabbings.
Speaking on BBC Radio Manchester on Tuesday (23 August), the top cop called on communities, volunteers and the public sector to ‘pull together’.
But DCC Terry Woods said the 7% increase in knife crime is not an ‘epidemic’.
It comes after several suspects were charged with murder following the deaths of three people across Greater Manchester over the last seven days.
Four men from Huddersfield appeared in court this week accused of the murder of 20-year-old Javell Morgan in Moss Side who died on 15 August.
A 44-year-old man has been charged with the murder of Elinor O’Brien, 22, who was found with stab wounds in Manchester city centre last week.
And a 21-year-old man has now been charged with the murder of Rico Burton – boxer Tyson Fury’s 31-year-old cousin – in Altrincham on Sunday (21 August).
DCC Woods said tackling knife crime is a top priority for Greater Manchester Police, but dismissed claims of an ‘epidemic’ in the city-region, citing statistics.
Knife crime has increased by 7% in Greater Manchester over the last year, according to the deputy chief constable, and is rising all across the country.
Asked whether GMP can do anything to tackle the spike in knife crime, he said: “Absolutely. Of course we can. We’re the police. That’s what we get paid to do.”
Referring to the recent stabbings in Greater Manchester, he told listeners that the force will ‘move heaven and earth’ to make sure they catch perpetrators.
The use of stop and search powers has more than tripled in the last year, he said, with a success rate of finding something on a person at around a quarter.
He also spoke of the importance of working with communities through neighbourhood policing and praised the Violence Reduction Unit’s work.
But he called on everyone in Greater Manchester to play a part in tackling knife crime in their communities, saying, “We’re never going to police our way out of it.”
He added: “Please don’t think that every knife carrier is some big gang member.
“It could be your son, your daughter or your partner and we all need to take some responsibility for just having conversations.
“Please don’t think I’m blaming anybody – I’m really not.
“But part of this is within the community’s gift.
“We will absolutely do our part and we’re determined to.
“But please don’t think that this is all bad people.”