By Emily Broncz
Mayor Andy Burnham has recently announced that police in the region should look towards implementing tougher techniques to prevent knife crime.
The plan included the proposal of increased ‘stop and search’ as well as harsher penalties against those found carrying a weapon.
Andy Burnham’s address was delivered after the death of Burnage teenager Yousef Makki, 17, who was killed in a brutal knife attack in Hale Barns, Trafford earlier this month.
The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, is looking to meet with police chiefs from across the country after the number of murders committed in 2019 rose to 20, which includes Yousef’s death last weekend.
Burnham firmly outlined his plans for delivering safer streets to the Greater Manchester area. Speaking about what measures he would be prepared to introduce, Burnham stated: “One thing I am prepared to consider as police and crime commissioner is more use of stop and search. Not in a discriminatory way.”
Burnham explained that the ‘stop and search’ technique would be helpful, as the issue of knife crime was not limited to “one particular community or any one group.”
Clarifying the issue further, Burnham stressed that the method would not be subjected to unfair stereotypes: “As I said this is a problem that seems to go across all geographies and social classes. It will be more when police have evidence or reasonable suspicion that a young person is carrying a knife that police can carry those stop and searches out.”
Greater Manchester Police are also looking to recruit 320 more police officers to be able to properly meet growing demands on the police force. The employment of additional police officers will be funded by a rise in council tax.
The idea of a national knife crime crisis was also raised by Burnham: “I think we do need action at a national level. The question is do we need tougher penalties for people caught carrying knives and I think there is a strong case that says ‘yes we do’ to give that powerful message to young people that it’s not OK at all to leave home with a knife.”
Free bus travel for teenagers as well as delivering higher levels of support throughout education and apprenticeships were a few suggestions made by Burnham relating to how the government can help alleviate adversity faced by many youths.
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