measures to tackle knife crime have been agreed overwhelmingly by Bristol city councillors.
More than £650,000 will be spent installing and improving CCTV on local authority land over the next two years, a serious violence strategy covering the city and wider region will be developed and “blind spots” for attacks will be designed out of future planning developments.
The motion was tabled at a meeting of full council on March 14, by Cllr Mohamed Makawi (Green, Cotham) whose friend Adam Ali Ibrahim was fatally stabbed in Castle Park on January 31.
Labour made several changes to the proposals which the Greens initially opposed before the chamber voted in favour with just one Green member against.
Speaking afterwards, Cllr Makawi said: “I am delighted my motion passed – the council has sent a clear message that Bristol can, and will, do more to tackle knife crime and, most importantly, its causes.
“By taking simple steps like providing emergency bleed kits and training to night-time venues, fixing ‘blind spots’ and providing more lighting and CCTV in hotspots, we can save lives.
“I really hope we can find more money to support Bristol’s fantastic grassroots and community organisations, who are at the forefront of this in persuading young people to put down blades.
“Of course, the iron test of this motion will be that it is followed by real action, which I hope it will, given the support from all parties – it is too important to ignore.”
He said he was disappointed by Labour’s amendment.
“Greens felt it removed some important parts of the motion, like references to the council’s drugs strategy, addressing the stigma of neuro-diversity and crucially a commitment to improve lighting in known dark areas,” Cllr Makawi said.
“But the amended motion still sends a strong message and commits the council to take action and so despite those changes we were happy to support it.”
Labour councillors said their alterations “strengthened” the motion and removed a requirement to “identify licensed premises which fuel anti-social behaviours at the root of knife carrying and review the licence compliance”.
They said this implied a link between the nighttime economy and knife crime, which was an “unproven and harmful assumption”, and replaced it with a commitment to work with the Bristol Nights Board on preventative measures rather than penalising pubs, bars and clubs. The group backed parts of the original proposals, including increasing the coverage of bleed kits at venues.
Labour cabinet member for public health and communities Cllr Ellie King said: “While taking on board the goodwill of this motion, there were several reasons why we felt it needed considerable changest.
“The council will now undertake a serious violence strategic needs assessment for both Bristol and the wider Avon & Somerset area. This will enable us to be evidence-led when defining our serious violence interventions for Bristol.
“The amendment also added a new commitment to spend £655,000 upgrading CCTV on the council’s housing department’s land.
“A key point about this amendment is reiterating that any approach to tackling knife crime needs to be proactive as well as reactive”
Licensing committee chairman Cllr Marley Bennett said: ‘Our Labour amendment seeks to strengthen the original motion in several ways.
“Some of it is simply to tighten up the wording where necessary – this includes removing a section which seemed to suggest a link between neurodivergence and knife crime, which had caused some concern.
“The motion will also increase support for young people, work directly with community groups to combat knife crime from the bottom up, and to improve information sharing between agencies.”
Ronaldo Griffiths, 19, of Osprey Road, Bristol, faces a jury trial in July for the alleged murder of 36-year-old Adam Ali Ibrahim, which he denies.
By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service