Portsmouth top cop moves to reassure city after violence '˜spike'
THE top police officer in Portsmouth has moved to reassure residents after a '˜spike' of serious violent crime.
Superintendent Will Schofield spoke to The News yesterday after meeting city council leader Donna Jones over her concerns about escalating violence.
Supt Schofield said in most of the attacks in recent months the victims and perpetrators have known each other.
‘In almost all of the assaults there’s complex factors to be seen and a relationship between victim and offender,’ the district police commander said.
‘An unprovoked attack on a stranger is very, very rare.
‘Whilst violence is quite high in Portsmouth, we still feel it’s a safe city and safer than many cities, and certainly safe to live and work in.’
Current date figures show there is a 33-per-cent drop in serious violence in the year to date.
Forecasts show by March next year this will result in an eight-per-cent drop against the previous year.
Cllr Jones raised her concerns over an ‘escalation’ in serious violence after two murder investigations were launched this year and there have been multiple stabbing attacks.
Supt Schofield said the police and Safer Portsmouth Partnership are now to analyse factors behind serious crime.
He said recent incidents have not had a pattern and few are drug-related.
‘We have had a small spike,’ said Supt Schofield, adding the meeting with Cllr Jones had been positive.
The meeting was arranged after a series of assaults, including when a 24-year-old man was put in an induced coma after being stabbed in Landsdowne Street, Southsea when a dispute in a house spilled out into the road on October 2.
It led to The News calling on Supt Schofield to give more information to the public.
‘The key for me was to be reassured that the police have all the resources they need, which they do,’ said Cllr Jones.
‘There’s a huge amount of very sophisticated detection work going on.
‘I’m reassured Portsmouth police are focused on the city, they’re giving it the time it needs.’
Chief Superintendent Rich John, head of prevention and neighbourhoods at Hampshire police, was also at the meeting with Cllr Jones.
Supt Schofield said recent arrests in the city and convictions should reassure people action is being taken and urged residents to give police information.
He said: ‘It’s really important that people do call us and let us know if they witness anything.
‘There have been a couple of investigations where it’s been really difficult as people have been reluctant to come forward – we would reassure people.’