Story by Michael Wright | Photo by Julius Turner
On Wednesday 25th April, Michael Smith MBE, CEO of the UK’s leading weapon collections charity Words 4 Weapons (W4W), was present for the opening of the first weapons bin in South Yorkshire.
The event was attended by the High Sheriff of South Yorkshire; Police Commissioner Dr. Alan Billings; Superintendent Una Simmons as well as the head Pastor of Rock Christian Church Jon Watts and the deputy, Pastor Paul.
The CEO said that there were 27 such bins around London which have helped to take off 30,000 weapons off the streets.
The bin was funded with the approval of the Police Commissioner who said that it was good that Rock Christian Church agreed to host the facility although it was unfortunate that it was needed at all.
The superintendent said that there were core issues of male youth feeling accepted in society and having a stake and feeling disenfranchised which can lead to acts of violence.
Michael Smith said that there would also be boxes available in local shops and restaurants for people to deposit weapons that could then be disposed of in the main bin.
Advertisements are planned to be placed in shops around Burngreave. There is also an educational programme that is planned to be used in schools in the area to raise awareness of the dangers of ownership of weapons.
There is an unfortunate trend of escalating violence in Burngreave with the fatal stabbing of Jarvin Blake a month ago, as well as incidents last year. Since the bin has been installed, there have been further incidents, including a council contractor being stabbed in the cheek, and an attack on Burngreave Road that required the intervention of a passing bus driver.
Deputy Pastor Paul decided last year that something had to be done about this situation and so called the W4W charity. Tragically, this couldn’t have been more timely with yet another fatal stabbing having taken place.