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'Put differences aside': Calls for violence to end after latest attack in Smethwick

By Jamie Brassington | Smethwick | Crime | Published:

A community activist has called for an end to violence - after the third knife-related attack in Smethwick in 10 days.

Emergency services were stationed outside West Cross Shopping Centre. Photo by Snapper SK

Rizwan Jalil says the town has become a "hotspot for knife and gun crime" over the past year.

He has urged people to talk and "put personal differences aside".

Mr Jalil, who is also a governor at Birmingham Women's and Children's Hospital NHS Trust, said: "I condemn the attack that took place in Smethwick.

"This area has become a hotspot for gun and knife crime over the past year and it is our duty to be the force multiplier that we need to, not just to discourage this type of activity moving forward, but also to encourage others to come forward to talk about things like this, because if nobody says anything about it, believe me, it’s going to happen again.

Rizwan Jalil

"I understand this is a very difficult time for all of us but if we can put a side personal differences and look out for one another not only are we going to save the NHS but we are going to save people from dying.

"If anyone has any information please do not hesitate to give the police any relevant information that will help prevent further incidents."

In the latest incident, a 16-year-old was attacked with what police believe was a machete, in the early hours of yesterday. Gun shots were also heard during the incident in Unett Street, Smethwick.

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Anyone with information is asked to contact police quoting crime reference number 20SW/105090K/20.

Meanwhile, Karl Gallagher was stabbed to death in the town on April 26, which prompted a murder probe.

Another man was also attacked with a machete at a petrol station the day after.

And a separate murder investigation has been launched after a man died two weeks after he was found with serious head injuries in Smethwick on April 14.

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Elsewhere, police found a stash of gun shot rounds and Class A drugs during a patrol in April 30.

Speaking about the latest knife incidents in Smethwick, David Jamieson, the Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, said: "Knife crime is a blight on our communities and I am committed to tackling it and ensuring that people are kept safe.

"The police also have a key role to play in reducing violence.

"It is time the government made a commitment to ensuring that forces with the greatest need get their fair share of resources.

"West Midlands Police has lost over 2,200 officers since 2010 and, whilst welcome, the additional officers the government are paying for will only see an increase of 1,200.

"We will continue to do everything in our power to reduce violent crime and keep young people safe."

He added: "My violence reduction unit has a lot of work underway to prevent violence and make interventions with those at risk of getting involved in violent activity."

Last week, Warley MP John Spellar called for tougher jail terms over knife crime following knife-related incidents in Smethwick.

Sandwell's council leader, Yvonne Davies, also urged "young men to put down the knives".

Anyone with information that could help police in the crimes listed above are asked to call 101, or use the Live Chat tool on the force's website.

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

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