As part of The Star's Drop The Knife campaign, senior police officers, representatives from Sheffield City Council, community members, youth practitioners and family members of those attacked in stabbings attended the 75-minute debate in the Winter Gardens to have their say.Â
People at the debate included family members of fatal stabbing victim, Sami Al-Saroori,Â South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Alan Billings,Â Andy Ireland, Headteacher at Pupil Referral unit,Â the grandmother of murder victim, Jordan Thomas, Shadow Policing Minister, Louise Haigh,Â and South Yorkshire Police's Chief Constable Stephen Watson
Thousands of Star readers watched our live stream asÂ people whose lives have been torn apart by violent crime shared their stories; as a former gang member described how he turned his life around and is now on the frontline of helping young people involved in gangs; as South Yorkshire's chief constable delved into the force's strategy for reducing knife crime in the city and as the shadow minister for policing commented on the impactÂ cuts to policing hasÂ had on Sheffield's communities.Â
Questions from Star readers were included in the debate, and hundreds of you have also shared your views on what should be done to prevent what has been described as the '˜epidemic' of knife crime in our city.Â
Lauren Jade Armstrong commented: 'Funding needs to be spent on making Sheffield safer rather than a better tourist attraction.'
Jess Tingay added: 'Kids need to be more scared of police than police are of them. Up patrols more stop and searches. Sorting gangs in the community. Instead of leaving them to it.'
Dale Mathew Chaplin said: 'Stop and search powers need to be massively increased. I also think sentencing should be toughened up for knife crime.'
Denise Mills said: '˜Heartbreaking, show them the victims families' stories' as Jordan Thomas' grandmother, Lynne Hamblett, described the devastation caused to her family after Jordan was ripped away from them at such a young age.'
Sahira Irshad said: 'Everyone on the panel needs to come and actually engage with the community.'
Deborah Helen Chafer said: 'Stop and search andÂ lock [them] up for longer.'
Majkez Ahmed added: 'What's point in decent sentences they live luxury within bring back the olden style prisons old is gold.'
Click here to watch the debate in full on our Facebook page.Â
Buy The Star on Thursday to read a special eight page Drop The Knife supplement, which will include coverage from tonight's debate; first-hand accounts from those impacted by, and on the frontline of tackling, knife crime as well as a campaign poster we want to see put up across the city to send the message: Sheffield needs you alive, drop the knife.Â