Speaking after a firearms incident that took place at an address on Samuel Road on the evening of Friday 20th August, Park and Arbourthorne Councillor Ben Miskell said:

“Residents report that a firearms incident took place in Norfolk Park on Samuel Road over the weekend. I understand that the police have arrested a man on suspicion of firearms offences, after he was treated at hospital for a wound on his leg and subsequently discharged himself.”.

Cllr Ben Miskell speaking in Norfolk Park close to where the firearms incident occurred
Cllr Ben Miskell speaking in Norfolk Park close to where the firearms incident occurred

“The vast majority of residents are law abiding and their lives are frequently blighted by a running spate of gun and knife crime incidents caused by a minority. There’s also the constant issue of anti-social behaviour, that we can’t downplay and is sometimes connected.”.

“Sadly drugs and organised crime is seen by a small minority as an easy career route. We need to work together as a community to make sure that’s not the case.”.

Coverage of Cllr Miskell’s concerns in the Star
Coverage of Cllr Miskell’s concerns in the Star

“Some of the solution is battling it through law enforcement and locking up hardened offenders, but we also need to be more savvy. We’ve seen a £2 million investment in our Youth Service as part of the council’s One Year Plan, but I’m hoping to make the case for more priority within this to be given to Norfolk Park and Arbourthorne at the newly formed Local Area Committee. We need to show young people who are at risk of being dragged into gang activity that there is another path. Groups like Norfolk Park TARA are already doing that through their community work, we just need to see more of it.”.

“We’ve also got to make the local community more confident to speak to the police and report their concerns. Every piece of information can help to piece together a bigger picture and make it more difficult for criminals to organise in our area. The local policing team have put their mobile numbers on their website, to make it easier for people to contact them.”.

“Some of the issue is about funding and I think the government have got it’s priorities wrong. Instead of funding a new Royal Yacht that’s estimated to cost up to £200 million, we should use that money to create an enforcement fund, allocated to antisocial behaviour hotspots like Norfolk Park and Arbourthorne, to provide surge policing, or fund additional CCTV or extra council enforcement officers.”.

“For those residents woken up by the sound of police sirens and having to look on whilst their street is taped up as a crime scene, it’s all little comfort. They pay their taxes and live by the rules and shouldn’t expect to live with gun crime and endemic anti-social behaviour in their neighbourhood. If it was happening in a more affluent part of town, there would be an outcry and people would be protesting on the streets, writing to their MP and demanding action. We need to demand better and say enough is enough, when it comes to gun crime and anti-social behaviour.”.

He went on to say: 

“The police have done a great job by apprehending a suspect, which will provide some reassurance in the community. However this incident once again shows how guns continue to blight our area. They have no place in our community. Law abiding residents have had enough of gun crime and just want to get on with their lives, without the fear that the presence of guns creates.”.

This story is covered by articles in the Star and South Yorkshire Live.

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