Police knife crime plea: ‘This needs to stop’

POLICE have written to parents in Bristol and South Gloucestershire in the wake of three deaths and several injuries from knife crime.

A letter, jointly signed by Superintendent Mark Runacres and Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees, has been shared by schools, including Hanham Woods, John Cabot and King’s Oak academies.

It explains the actions being taken to help keep children and young people safe, which include extra police patrols near schools and a new campaign on youth knife crime.

The letter follows the fatal stabbing of Darrian Williams, 16, in Rawnsley Park in Eastonin February by two people wearing masks, who rode off on bikes.

Darrian was picked up by a motorist after running out to nearby Stapleton Road. The driver stopped in Old Market, where paramedics tried to save him, but he died at the roadside, at around 6pm.

Two 15-year-old boys, one from Bristol and one from South Gloucestershire, were arrested the following day and later charged with murder.

Less than a week earlier, another boy of 16 suffered life-threatening injuries when he was stabbed at McDonald’s, in The Horsefair.

A 19-year-old Fishponds man, Joel Binnings, has been charged with attempted murder and possessing a knife in public in connection with the incident.

At the end of January, Mason Rist, 15, and Max Dixon, 16, who were stabbed to death in Knowle West in January.
A total of 14 people have been arrested in connection with the killing of Mason and Max on January 28. Five have been charged with murder – teenagers aged 14, 15, 16 and 17, and a 44-year-old man.

Other stabbings have taken place in Eastville and St Werburghs.

The violence led to police applying for temporary enhanced stop and search powers, which allowed them to search anyone in a designated area without needing reasonable grounds for suspicion.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Peter Warren said: “Children and young people are being seriously injured and killed on the streets of Bristol, and this needs to stop.”

He said the force was stepping up measures in the short term and in the longer term would work with other services to understand and tackle the root causes of serious violence.

Initiatives already under way include a partnership with NHS South West and HeartSafe to install bleed control kits across Avon and Somerset, with 200 expected to be in place by April 2024.

Weapon surrender bins have also been installed across the force areas. Find out more about bleed kits and surrender bins here – https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/report/weapons-knives/

  • A football match took place at Mangotsfield United’s ground to raise money for the families of Mason and Max. It was hosted by the Showmen’s Guild, who played a team from Knowle West.
    The two boys’ mothers led the teams onto the pitch for a balloon release before kick-off, with a banner saying: “Only cowards carry knives”.
  • Prison chaplain Larry Harvey is urging young people thinking of carrying knives, and concerned families, to contact him for a “different perspective”.
    Larry said: “If you don’t carry a knife you can’t use it.
    “Taking someone’s life will cost you yours.”

He asks anyone who wants to talk to call him on 07825 321358.