Avon and Somerset Police’s neighbourhood teams will be carrying out increased patrols in Bristol over the coming weeks to provide both visibility and reassurance to local communities affected by serious violence. They will be targeting key locations in and around the city that are popular with young people.
The patrols come after a number of incidents which have caused concern among communities including the stabbing of a teenager in Bristol Centre last week; the tragic deaths of Max Dixon and Mason Rist in Knowle West last month; and the stabbing of a man in his 20s in Bishopston on Boxing Day.
Bristol Commander Superintendent Mark Runacres said: “We will continue our operational work targeting knife carriers and working closely with our Early Intervention Team and the Violence Reduction Partnerships and alongside local authorities and education providers to tackle and identify the root causes of why young people are carrying knifes.
“We encourage anyone who is concerned someone may be carrying a knife to please report it to someone, whether that’s the police, Crimestoppers, or just a trusted family member, friend or adult. We need to get these fatal weapons off the streets and prevent any more lives being lost.”
Across Avon and Somerset, there are five Violence Reduction Partnerships who work closely with local authorities, police, healthcare, social care, and education to provide a coordinated response to preventing serious youth violence. Their activity includes community mentoring for young people at risk of serious violence or crime, parent support groups, child safeguarding and anti-knife crime programmes.
Bristol’s local violence reduction partnership, Safer Options, run a number of intervention programmes and initiatives, such as prevention workshops in schools, in partnership with Avon and Somerset Police, raising awareness of serious youth violence, knife crime and drugs. They also deliver targeted intervention work, working in partnership with local youth organisations to support identified groups of young people involved in serious youth violence to manage conflict and improve relationships.
If you are concerned that someone may be carrying a knife, please report it to your local police, whether you do that online, by calling 101, or anonymously via Crimestoppers’ reporting system. You can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 111 555 and there is a lot of information and advice on their website.
More information on knife crime, what to do if you are worried or affected by it, and a list of local knife surrender bins is available here.
Family members, friends and carers of young people are nearly always the first people to notice the signs that a young person is at risk of, or are, carrying knives and weapons; are being pulled into selling drugs; or are experiencing exploitation or violence in the community.
We know this can be a worrying time for everyone involved and families can be fearful of speaking out about the issues. The earlier we can get support in more chances we have to help them find safer options and achieve their full potential.
The following services for children and families are funded through or delivered by organisations involved in the Safer Options partnership.
Safer Options works with community organisations across the city who are committed to helping young people lead lives safe from fear, violence and exploitation. You can find out more at Bristol Safeguarding.
Because communities in Bristol are so different there are lots of ways to access support and help. It can feel overwhelming knowing where to start but we’ve made sure you have options so there is no wrong place to get help.
- Call Bristol City Council’s Children and Families First Response Team on 0117 903 6444 offer advice and guidance, access to family support and community resources and specialist services.
- Barnardo’s ROUTES service supports young people at the highest risk of exploitation or violence including young people who have been hurt before or risk hurting others. They work with young people up to 21. You can self-refer by contacting them directly on 0117 9349726
- Your local PCSOs can give advice or link you in with one of our local organisations. They work with specialist early intervention officers from the Violence Reduction Partnership and run awareness projects in schools, sports programmes and positive activities in the city.
If you have information that you think the police need to know to keep people safe from drug dealing, serious violence or exploitation you can tell them about it:
- By using the Avon and Somerset Police suspected crime form
- Calling 101
- In person at a police station
- Anonymously through Crimestoppers