19th Sep, 2018

Knife crime doubles in Coventry over five years

Felix Nobes 14th Sep, 2018

KNIFE crime has nearly doubled in Coventry over the last five years, figures obtained by the Observer reveal.

It has become a burning issue after the recent fatal stabbing of 21-year-old Fidel Glasgow – the grandson of Specials legend Neville Staple – which has sparked renewed campaigning to end knife crime.

The number of incidents in the city has increased from 164 in 2012/13 to 307 by the end of 2017/18.

Figures also show there have been 162 cases of knife crime so far in 2018/19.

It is despite West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson’ figures showing more than 200,000 students in the region have been educated about the dangers of knife crime since 2010.

The Precious Lives Project works with young people in schools to divert them away from violence.

The rise in knife crime in Coventry is in line with the pattern in the West Midlands, which saw 2,845 incidents in 2017/18 compared to 1,498 in 2012/13.

The rise in the last five years follows several years of falling knife crime in Coventry since 2010, when there were 400 incidents.

Neville Staple and his wife Christine paid an emotional tribute to Fidel at the Godiva Festival by dedicating one of the Specials’ hits – ‘A Message To You Rudy’.

Christine stepped in as Neville was too emotional to give his planned address to the crowd against knife crime.

She urged young people to ditch their knifes and for communities to come together.

The couple are considering starting a foundation in honour of Fidel.

The Precious Lives Project primarily focuses on knife crime but sessions also cover anti-social behaviour.

As part of the scheme, Alison Cope, a mother from Birmingham whose son Joshua was fatally stabbed in September 2013, tours the region’s schools telling her story.

The aim is to warn youngsters about the dangers of carrying knives.

The scheme reaches out to secondary school pupils and some primary school pupils aged as young as 10.

Mr Jamieson said: “Teaching our young people about the dangers of carrying knives is of the utmost importance.

“I firmly believe this project is saving lives.

“Alison Cope and PC Rob Pedley are able to reach out to young people at an early age and steer them away from violence and crime.”

At a press conference last month, Christine Staple issued an emotional plea for information about Fidel’s death.

She also said: “If you carry knives there is the risk it will be used on you, or that you will use it on someone else out of fear.

“You’re going to end up being a murderer, or you’ll end up dead. It’s just not worth it.

“It is everybody’s responsibility. How many parents are checking and talking to their kids about it?

“We’re not condoning violence but ‘jab don’t stab’. In a little punch up no one is going to end up dead.

“There are a lot of kids in gangs who don’t want it but don’t know how to get out of it.

“It’s touched us closer than ever before. It hurts. It hurts like hell.”

A 23-year-old man was arrested in connection with Fidel Glasgow’s murder but has since been bailed.

Fidel was stabbed on September 1 during ‘disorder’ outside Club M night club in Coventry city centre.

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