Drug and gun crime top of agenda for Sheffield's chief politician

Councillor Paul Wood, the new cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said despite nine fatal stabbings in South Yorkshire dominating headlines, people are just as worried about gun and drug crime.
Councillor Paul Wood, the new cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said despite nine fatal stabbings in South Yorkshire dominating headlines, people are just as worried about gun and drug crime.
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Tackling gun and drug crime is just as much a priority as reducing the number of knives on the streets of Sheffield, the city council’s new chief politician has claimed.

Councillor Paul Wood, the new cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said despite nine fatal stabbings in South Yorkshire dominating headlines, people are just as worried about gun and drug crime.

He said: “Knife crime is a major issue but I have the same concerns about drug and gun crime because they often all lead into each other.

“Drugs can be a catalyst to lead into other crime. I don’t have a sole push on knife crime but I have a focus on all three and we will deal with all of them

“We did have a bad spell in Sheffield with stabbings over a very short period of time and that brought it to the top of the agenda. I’m not saying that it’s still not top but gun and drugs are equally at the top.

“When there was a recent shooting at Burngreave I went straight there and talked to residents. For them, that was a horrendous incident.”

Latest crime statistics revealed a three per cent fall in knife crime offences across South Yorkshire, but a 16 per cent rise in drug offences and a 13 per cent increase in violence.

There was also a 12 per cent rise in people found with offensive weapons.

From January to March this year there were 11,765 violent offences reported to South Yorkshire Police.

The force also recorded 771 drug offences in the same three month period.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said it is vital police work the partners to get people off drugs, as well as educating young people to understand the risks involved.

He said the £2m funding the force is set to receive to tackle violent crime from the Government will enable police to disrupt gangs, especially those involved in drugs.