Sandwell gets 2nd weapon surrender bin in Cape Hill for discreet dumping of knives
One such weapon surrender bin is already in place within Sandwell at Sainsbury’s in Freeth Street, Oldbury
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A weapon surrender bin has been unveiled in Cape Hill as a preventative measure against rising crime involving blades, swords and other dangerous weapons. The latest weapon surrender container – otherwise known as a knife bin – was launched at Windmill Shopping Centre, around the corner from Matalan.
Designed for people to dispose of knives discreetly, one is already in place within Sandwell at Sainsbury’s in Freeth Street, Oldbury. The new bin in Cape Hill is now the second to be built in the borough.
Speaking at the launch, Tom McNeil, the West Midlands deputy police and crime commissioner, said: “We have to do everything we can to tackle youth violence. It’s no secret that it is a serious issue here in the West Midlands.
“We do think that knife bins are an important part of the overall package to tackle that. For instance, over the last year, we have seen around 4,000 knives deposited. So we know they are really used.
“What I do always like to say is that youth violence also requires proper high quality policing. It require high quality youth services, which we know have been decimated over the last ten years. Tackling mental health issues, and substance abuse in the home is also a priority.
“Having a bin like this here in Sandwell now is a really useful tool.”
According to figures released by West Midlands Police under the Freedom of Information Act, 11,854 offences related to knife crime or possession from a young person have been recorded since 2017. This year up to August, 2,251 youths were recorded with offences related to knife crime or possession of a blade. Of those, 360 were under 18.
Simon Foster, the police and crime commissioner, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) every knife placed into a surrender bin is “a potential life saved”.
“The bins are providing people with a legal and safe way to dispose of knives. They prove most effective when the community wants them and the message I have been receiving loud and clear is that more are needed.
“I am committed to constant and unremitting action to prevent and reduce violence, protect people and save lives.”
Kerrie Carmichael, the leader of Sandwell council, and Bob Piper, the deputy leader, attended the launch of the knife bin.
Councillor Carmichael said : “Anyone can come along and deposit the knives here and take the danger off the streets. People in my ward are worried about going places because of knife crime. Even holding the blades today, I am really pleased and thankful to see another weapon surrender bin here in Sandwell.”
Councillor Piper recalled knife crime within his own council ward of Abbey, Bearwood, in 2019, where a man dragged from his car and reportedly attacked with a machete outside a Costa Coffee.
He said: “I think the big loss of community policing, with people who have the knowledge and expertise of different neighbourhoods, has led to quite an increase in antisocial behaviour. A lot of it is low level criminality, but it doesn’t feel like that to our residents.”
Councillor Danny Millard, Sandwell council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “Taking knives off our streets is an effective way of tackling the serious issue of knife crime in our communities.
“The culture of carrying a weapon is one we must try to eradicate, and it’s great to see this bin being installed in Smethwick during the ‘Safer 6’ campaign. I’d like to encourage people with knives they shouldn’t be carrying to deposit them safely in this bin, with no questions asked.”
Sergeant Kevin Willetts, from Smethwick neighbourhood team, said: “We all know the dangers of knives and we’re continuing to do all we can to remove these dangerous weapons off our streets.
“A knife bin is an important way of helping to do this.”