Merseyside crackdown on gangs following Olivia’s murder has led to a rise in public confidence, police say
4 weeks ago
Olivia Prat-Korbel was shot dead in Dovecot, Liverpool, in August 2022.
Police say that work to “dismantle” criminal gangs in Liverpool following the murder of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel has led to an increase in public confidence and a drop in crime.
Figures from the last year, since the Home Office-backed EVOLVE Liverpool-Knowsley launched in an area including parts of Huyton, Page Moss and Dovecot, show intelligence from the community has gone up 78% and arrests have gone up 16%, a spokesman for Merseyside Police said.
The initiative, part of the Clear Hold Build framework, came after a week of fatal shootings in Liverpool in August 2022, when Olivia was killed in her home in Dovecot, 29-year-old Ashley Dale was murdered in Old Swan and 22-year-old Sam Rimmer was killed in Dingle.
Police said since the project’s launch, crime has fallen by 6% overall in the area, with knife crime and wounding down by 57%.
A rise of 12% in violence with injury includes domestic abuse and reflects an increasing confidence in the police, the force claimed.
Chief Inspector Tony Fairhurst, one of the senior officers involved in EVOLVE Liverpool-Knowsley, said:
“When we launched EVOLVE our overarching aim was to dismantle the gangs, stop serious and organised crime and make our neighbourhoods safer and more resilient for generations to come.
“I am delighted that as a partnership we have made some fantastic in-roads and achieved some significant successes in the area as seen by the reduction in crime and increase in public confidence. However, this is only the start of our journey.
“We want to see these changes and the shift in attitude towards serious and organised crime, and those embroiled in it, become embedded in these communities, so people don’t hesitate to contact us or Crimestoppers anonymously if they spot the signs of gang activity.”
Last year Thomas Cashman was jailed for a minimum of 42 years for Olivia’s murder and Niall Barry, James Witham, Sean Zeisz and Joseph Peers all received minimum sentences of more than 40 years for their roles in the killing of Ms Dale.
To mark a year since the launch of the EVOLVE project, which sees police and partners working closely together, a day of action was being held on Friday.
Throughout the week, theatre production GRASS was performed at primary schools in the area, with the final performance on Friday at Olivia’s primary school, St Margaret Mary’s.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said:
“Over the past 12 months, EVOLVE has made a vast improvement to the lives of people living in Liverpool and Knowsley. Hundreds of arrests, dangerous weapons seized, stolen property recovered, and drugs removed from the streets.
“By clearing out those organised crime groups that blight our communities and prey on the vulnerable, Merseyside Police and our partners have worked hard to hold on to these areas, making it impossible for criminal groups to return and uniting with residents to build stronger, safer places to live, work and play.
“This doesn’t stop here; work is ongoing to improve the quality of life for the people in these neighbourhoods. Through days of action like today, we can continue to bring people together, strengthening community spirit and making sure these areas are places people are proud to call home.”
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