Campaign to keep knives off West Midlands streets

Police bosses have said plans to introduce a knife amnesty scheme in Birmingham are only the start of something bigger for the West Midlands.

Three new knife surrender bins will be introduced in and around Birmingham in the coming weeks.

That will allow people to hand in a variety of bladed items, as West Midlands Police continue their crackdown on crimes involving a knife.

Bob Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands who is helping lead the scheme, said: “In the past people have thought that the word amnesty meant that they wouldn’t be prosecuted if the item they handed in was connected to a serious crime.

“This isn’t the case which is why we have relabelled them surrender bins.

“We have had hundreds of knives of all shapes and sizes handed into us in the past, from everyday cutlery to machetes.

“These types of dangerous weapons are the ones we most want to take off the street.”

West Midlands police and crime commissioner Bob Jones
West Midlands police and crime commissioner Bob Jones

Mr Jones said the force was already in talks with a group in Wolverhampton to establish a similar drop box there and added that he was committed to seeing more bins introduced across the the Black Country.

The new campaign comes after a series of serious attacks with knives in the West Midlands in recent months, including the stabbing of 16-year-old Leasowes High School student Christina Edkins, who was killed on a bus in March last year by Phillip Simelane.

Following a short hearing at Birmingham Crown Court, the 23-year-old from Walsall was detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act.

West Midlands Police also launched the Knives End Lives campaign in January, which is targetting young people and teaching them about the consequences of carrying a knife or being in the company of someone armed with a blade.

“These new knife surrender bins are part of a much larger, wider strategy to reduce knife crime on the streets of our towns and cities in the West Midlands. Part of this is educating young people about the dangers of carrying a knife,” said Mr Jones.

“Too many teenagers see carrying a knife as a badge of honour or a fashion accessory, but they need to understand that this is one fashion accessory that could get them or someone else killed.”

It was recently revealed that more than 430 crimes involving knives were committed in the West Midlands and Staffordshire last year.

Wolverhampton had the highest number of knife crimes of any area in the region in 2013, with 138 recorded between January 1 and December 9.

Those included two attempted murder cases, one murder, two ‘other sex’ offences, one ‘other violence’, 65 connected with robberies, as well as 67 wounding offences.

In the most recent knife-related crime, a doctor at the Linkway Medical Practice at the Lyng Centre, Frank Fisher Way, West Bromwich was stabbed in the neck by his patient.

Malcolm Torrance, aged 65, of Swan Avenue, Smethwick appeared in court, charged with wounding Dr David Winteler on Monday and possessing a 16cm kitchen knife. The case was adjourned until April 30 at Wolverhampton Crown Court.