Call for more officers on Wolverhampton streets after father killed in machete murder
Residents need to see more police walking the streets in crime-hit areas of Wolverhampton, a councillor has said after a man was murdered in the city.
Paulius Petrasiunas, aged 24, was stabbed to death with a machete in Heath Town on Monday and while the motive of the attack is not yet known, ward councillor Milkinder Jaspal says such an incident has "been on the cards for some time".
He says residents want to see a "clearer police presence on foot" in the Wolverhampton district.
"We have made police aware of activity in Heath Town and New Park Village of the gangs and incidents of potential fatalities, knifings, shooting and so on," Councillor Jaspal said.
"I am not surprised. If anyone says they are surprised, they are not living in the real world. All the issues are revolving around drugs."
So far nobody has been arrested over the death of father-of-one Mr Petrasiunas but detectives announced on Tuesday that they are searching for 20-year-old Sean Bulle in relation to the attack.
Councillor Jaspal added: "We are concerned and worried that this will escalate and we do need a higher police presence on foot - not in cars. This is what residents are saying to me.
"They are seeing police in cars but not on foot. It gives them confidence if they see police walking on foot."
The city's council leader Ian Brookfield said: "My heart goes out to the family and friends of the victim.
"Our police are overstretched and overworked. If we want to feel safe, [the Government] has to put more money into the system."
Police attended the scene just after 5.20pm following a 999 call and although the air ambulance was also sent out Mr Petrasiunas was pronounced dead at the scene.
It marked the latest violent attack in Heath Town.
In March 2018, a shooting took place outside a flat on Chervil Rise - the same road where the latest spate of violence has taken place - leaving a victim seriously injured.
Asher Maylor was jailed for 15 years in February, 2019, following the attack.
Last month, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson warned that violence is on the rise in the region because gangs are "coming out of lockdown".
Speaking on this latest incident, Mr Jamieson said: "I understand Councillor Jaspal’s concerns and police officers are working with the local community to provide reassurance. I would urge anybody who has information to contact West Midlands Police.
"In the West Midlands Police force area, knife crime has more than doubled since 2014/15 from 1,722 incidents to 3,722 in 2018/19.
"A multi-agency public health approach to tackling violence is needed, which is why we have set up the Violence Reduction Unit.
"The Violence Reduction Unit was established to tackle the root causes of crime and, in the process, reduce the number of victims and perpetrators."
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