City takes action to prevent youth violence
The Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council is reassuring residents that action is being taken to prevent youth violence following the second fatal stabbing of a teenager in the city this year.
Councillor Ian Brookfield said: "The tragic events which occurred in Lanesfield last week and in Pendeford earlier this year have shocked the whole community, and our thoughts go out to the family and friends of the two young victims at what must be a truly awful time for them.
“As a responsible local authority, we remain committed to working with the police and other organisations to tackle the scourge of youth crime and make our streets safer.
"We have a range of initiatives underway to help achieve this, and thankfully the number of incidents of youth violence involving knife crime is actually falling year on year.
“While this is welcome, it is of course of no consolation to the families of those who have either been injured by, or lost their lives to, knife crime.
"That’s why it is our duty to ensure we are doing all we can to keep our citizens safe. We have commissioned a range of services delivered through the Safer Wolverhampton Partnership designed to prevent youth violence across the city, including outreach and targeted support.
"All young people are offered the appropriate level of support from Children’s Services if they are identified as being at risk of youth violence, exploitation or gang involvement.
"Our Youth Offending Team have received specialist training so they can identify any risk of violence risk among the young people they work with, violence prevention work is commissioned within our primary and secondary schools, while coordinated support is provided to those schools with a higher prevalence of youth violence.
“We will also be delivering another extensive programme of Yo! activities over the summer holidays to keep our children active, engaged, entertained and out of trouble.
"But there is more that we can and will do – and we are in the process of completing a strategic needs assessment to help identify hotspots and any gaps in provision that may help address the problem.”
Supt Simon Inglis of Wolverhampton Police added: "It is absolutely vital that we not only address the harm being caused here and now, but also that we work in partnership to prevent such horrendous losses of life moving forward.
“We are working closely with all agencies, but specifically the Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP), our schools, the Youth Offending Team, public health and the council to ensure we change the culture of youth violence that appears to present at this time.
“Young people carrying weapons is resulting in people losing their lives at tragically young ages and we are committed to reducing this. We all have a responsibility as a community to help with this and we appreciate all the support we get to turn the tide on this tragic state of affairs.
“As Councillor Brookfield has stated, we are seeing reductions in youth violence and are in fact one of the best areas in the West Midlands for such behaviours However as we have seen recently, we still have much more work to do and are committed to seeing short-term reductions turn into long-term solutions.”
Councillor Brookfield added: "We all have a role to play in preventing youth violence – the council, the police, the voluntary and community sector and other partners. “But we also need the help of families and the general public, so if you are concerned about the safety and wellbeing of a young person, if you feel they are either at risk or they pose a risk to others, please remember that it's never too soon to speak up. Even if you’re unsure about what you are seeing, the best thing to do is to talk to a trained professional."
To share safeguarding concerns about a child or young person, please call 01902 555392 (Monday to Thursday, 8.30am-5pm (4.30pm on Fridays) or 01902 552999 (out of hours). Your call will be treated in confidence. In an emergency, always dial 999.