Pukaar News – Leicester

Conversations on Knife Crime

Last year, it was reported that Leicestershire had its highest rate of knife crime in a decade. According to Police reports, there were 869 serious crimes that involved knives in 2019. Whilst everything is going on with the lockdown, there are still many important issues that need to be discussed, such as these concerning figures. This is why a community event that aims to give people the chance to talk about tackling knife crime is going online.

Before the Covid-19 lockdown, Leicester City Council was planning to run a number of ‘community conversations’ at venues across the city. These events would have provided the public with the chance to voice their opinions on preventative measures for the knife crime issue. These events were to be led by community groups around Leicester, which would then be considered and fed into discussions for a new knife crime and serious violence strategy that is currently being developed for Leicester.

Image credit: Leicester City Council

The coronavirus lockdown meant these conversations had to be paused, but now the city council is helping community leaders to try out online meetings to help gather people’s views and continue with this important work.

A test session is taking place on Monday 6 July from 1.30-3pm, and will focus on the Braunstone area of Leicester. People will be able to join the discussion via Skype or call in using a mobile phone or landline.

Assistant city mayor Cllr Kirk Master, who leads on neighbourhoods and is also deputy police and crime commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, said: “The whole reason we set up these community conversations was because we know how crucial it is to gather people’s views and how important it is to have face-to-face discussions with members of the community. But it isn’t possible to do that safely at the current time.

“Despite this, we want to keep up the momentum on our work to tackle knife crime as we were already starting to get valuable feedback from our community conversations.

“With this in mind, we have helped the Braunstone community to set up this pilot session and I’d encourage anyone who has a viewpoint on knife crime in this area of the city to join the online meeting if they can.

“It might be a little strange to some people, but we will provide support and an online forum can be an extremely useful way of gathering people’s views. Unfortunately, knife crime has not stopped because of the current crisis – so neither should we.”

The online Braunstone event will be a trial to see if the forum works – with other online events to follow if it is successful.

To join in, contact Braunstone community leader Ian Davies on 07518 502 842, who can provide details on how to join the online session.

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