Calls for Yorkshire MPs to do more to tackle knife crime after young man killed in Batley stabbing
Young people in areas affected by violence carry knives 'just to go to the shops', a youth worker has said, as calls are made for politicians to speak out more on the subject.
Tanisha Bramwell has written an open letter urging for MPs to tackle the issue of knife crime following the death of a 20-year-old man in Batley at the weekend.
Bradley Stuart Gledhill died following an incident on Sunday evening in which he was stabbed. Two people have been arrested in connection with the incident.
The case remains under investigation by West Yorkshire Police's Homicide and Major Enquiries Team and the force is increasing patrols in the locality to reassure residents.
But Ms Bramwell, 25, who works with young people in the Dewsbury and Batley area to educate them and prevent them from getting involved in crime, says MPs and councillors need to be more vocal on the issue of young people and knife crime.
"I don't know how many lives have to be lost before it gets taken seriously," Ms Bramwell told The Yorkshire Post.
"At the rate things are going, there's going to be a time when we do have an issue on the same scale as London has been seeing."
Rates of knife crime in the capital were more than double the national average last year, according to the Evening Standard.
Meanwhile, figures from last year revealed West Yorkshire has the highest rate of knife crime outside the Metropolitan Police force area with 10 crimes per 10,000 people in 2017 to 2018.
The launch of the force's Operation Jemlock however has seen this figure fall, with a 27 per cent fall in rates of knife crime in the Kirklees District in the 12 months leading up to May this year.
Ms Bramwell added: "Young people carry knives with them to protect themselves – when I was growing up people carried knives just to go to the shops. When we were going to other places like Heckmondwike we always made sure we were protected.
"It's so normal to be carrying a knife still now."
Ms Bramwell currently runs a community project called Bramwell Sports Development Team to keep young people away from crime and gangs, and has now written an open letter to MP Tracy Brabin in light of Mr Gledhill's death.
In the letter, she writes: "Our young people, parents, children and communities deserve to feel safe in their town. Bradley Gledhill can not and should not be another statistic for you.
"Someone's son and brother isn't coming home tonight because of this attack.
"How many more lives have to be lost for you and our local authority to prioritise this need?"
Ms Brabin has yet to comment publicly on Mr Gledhill's death, although has been contacted for further comment. It is understood the MP has also spoken directly with Ms Bramwell following her letter.
"I want Tracy to prioritise this issue," Ms Bramwell added.
"If we group together and collaborate, we are so much stronger against criminals."