Oldham MP, Jim McMahon met earlier today with Chief Inspector Trevor Harrison from Oldham Police Station today to discuss concerns raised with him about youth violence and knife crime.
This follows a number of high-profile incidents in his Oldham West and Royton constituency. In 2019, young people in Oldham named knife crime as their top priority for police to address as a survey found one in seven admitted to having carried a blade (read more here).
Crime data shows there has been a recent spike in knife related incidents, though broadly it appears to be following the same path as the previous years (view datasets here).
Mr McMahon says: “Throughout my near 20 years in public service in Oldham there has always been an undercurrent of ‘turf battles’ between different areas, and that this can spike into serious incidents.
“This appears to explain the most recent incidents and I am pleased to report that the police have launched an investigation, codenamed Operation Cayman, to address this; so far identifying around 25 young people involved, or on the edge of criminal activity.
“It is vital we set out the path crime can take, and how young people can get drawn into trouble and quickly escalate into crime and the justice system. For too many opportunities and inspiration is in short supply and it is for all of us to work to put this right.
“I am concerned that young people are being brought into criminality and the justice system through drugs and gang related activity. The control and use of drugs in the community is a constant battle, and it is important we address it with the seriousness it deserves.
“Beyond this”, he concludes, “the whole system must work together and ensure young people do not fall in between the gaps, and I’ll be doing more work on this in the coming months”.
Further details were requested from GMP about Operation Cayman, via the freedom of information regime (read here). In a response dated 9th September, 2021 it was revealed that the Gold Commander is Supt Colette Rose, the Senior Investigating Officer is Insp Kenny Blain, the operation commenced in March this year and ten arrests have been made as a result. No charges against any of the suspects has yet been laid.
In a supplementary access request, the force has been asked to confirm how many of the suspects have been bailed or released under investigation.
The force’s knife crime lead, Superintendent Chris Downey, says: “Knife crime remains a priority and together with our partners in the Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) we are working hard to make a difference in our communities”.
GMP is a partner in Operation Sceptre, a national initiative which runs twice per year and aims to; reduce knife crime by targeting those carrying weapons; disrupt the supply of knives; raise awareness of the dangers of knife crime; and provide young people with positive alternatives to crime.
During the week-long operations, GMP deploys knife arches at undisclosed locations targeting those carrying knives along with any other criminality. The latest phase commenced in mid-November, 2021.
Tackling knife crime is now a Central Government priority (see here).
FOOTNOTE: At the end of September, 2021, Colette Rose was promoted to chief superintendent and transferred to take command of Trafford Division. GMP has been asked to confirm the name of the new SIO.
Page last updated at 1215hrs on Thursday 19th November, 2021
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