116 children in Sheffield have been at risk of joining a gang over last two years, warn police ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Sam Baker was fatally stabbed in Lowedges in May this year
Sam Baker was fatally stabbed in Lowedges in May this year

A teen knifed to death in the street was one of 116 children in Sheffield over the last two years police have warned are at risk of joining a gang or becoming involved with other concerning criminal behaviours. 

Police issued 15-year-old Samuel Baker with one just two months before he was fatally stabbed with his own knife by another 15-year-old in Lowedges Road, Lowedges on May 24 this year. 

Chief Inspector for Sheffield Stuart Walne.

Chief Inspector for Sheffield Stuart Walne.

His killer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was jailed for two years, eight months during a hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court last week, after the boy, now 16, pleaded guilty to Samuel's manslaughter. 

South Yorkshire Police have now confirmed that Samuel was just one of 116 children made the subject of a notice of concern (NOC) in Sheffield over the last two years - which works out at as the equivalent of more than one child a week. 

A NOC is a document police send to the child involved, as well as their family, to inform them of concerns police have about them becoming involved with gangs and criminality. 

Chief Inspector Stuart Walne told The Star that he could not comment on Samuel's NOC due to an internal SYP case review due to be held later this month.

Chief Inspector Stuart Walne

Chief Inspector Stuart Walne

He described NOCs as being an element of 'preventative' policing used to deter young people from becoming involved with organised crime gangs (OCG) within the city. 

He said: "You look at the profile of OCGs, within that policing has an element of preventative [measures] that we're using to try and stop crime. We're trying to deter it, you're trying to put all of the obstacles in relation to it.

"And one of the startling factors is if you're involved in an OCG your risk of being a victim of serious violence is massively increased. 

READ MORE: ‘Samuel Baker is dead for one reason: young men, some still boys, carrying knives,’ judge tells Sheffield teen killer

Sam Baker was fatally stabbed in Lowedges Road, Loweges on Thursday, May 24

Sam Baker was fatally stabbed in Lowedges Road, Loweges on Thursday, May 24

"These things are overwhelmingly associated with those who are already involved in criminality so when you are building a picture of organised crime you're always on the look out at one: who's actually involved, and two: who's at risk of becoming involved.

"A notice of concern is a means of going to direct to the person at risk of getting involved, and their family, parents in particular, and just really flagging up and saying our intelligence is telling us you're going the wrong way. 

"And it's a point of putting a line in the sand. To the offender it's saying you think you're being smart, you think you're under the radar, you're not. 

"We're aware of you and if you keep on going you can expect to come to places like Sheffield Crown Court."

CI Walne said the NOCs are a tactic that was used first by Greater Manchester Police.

In 2016 Sheffield became the first place in South Yorkshire to implement the multi-agency strategy to tackling child criminality. 

"It's a line in the sand within the support agencies such as social services; youth services; anyone who can be involved in the process of serving a notice saying this is what you're at risk of." 

READ MORE: This is why The Sheffield Star cannot name teen killer 

"And it's also saying to mum and dad: this is what's happened, these are the risks going forward. And the whole point is outlining both of these risks. You're either going to end up in a cell or you could end up really harmed," said CI Walne. 

CI Walne referenced the case of Jonathan Matondo, who was shot dead at the Nottingham Cliff recreation ground in Burngreave in 2007, as an example of why NOCs are needed. 

He said: "One minute, Jonathan's part of the family and all the rest of it and the next thing you know is he's been shot as part of a drugs deal. 

"Apparently getting in on people's turf. 

"It's the principle that the reason that people start getting involved in gangs, the reason for their activity, is again, [because of] the stronger influence from their mates who are involved in crime. 

"And the family aren't necessarily going to be aware of that."

Sheffield City Council declined to comment when asked about their strategy concerning children who have made the subject of a NOC and the level of intervention that takes place. 

The local authority is set to undertake a serious case review into the circumstances surrounding Samuel Baker's death. 

Jane Haywood, Chair of the Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board said: “Our thoughts are with family and friends at this most difficult time. We take all instances of youth violence very seriously and are undertaking a serious case review at the moment to understand further what has happened in this case. We will make sure we act on the findings of this review.”

READ MORE: ‘My family has no forgiveness for you’ – sister of teen stabbed to death in Sheffield street tells killer