Is knife crime going up in Liverpool — or are we just more aware of it?
Plus: A major problem for the city’s hospitals and a visit from Brit-pop legend Tim Burgess
Dear readers — a warm, festive welcome to your Monday briefing.
Over the weekend, we published another fantastic piece from one of Liverpool’s favourite writers, David Lloyd. He explored the strange world of competitive socialising — a new form of nightlife that involves a little more gun-toting and crazy golf than you might consider reasonable on a Friday night.
The piece received a great response — here’s what some of you had to say:
“Another superb piece from David. Tremendous.”
“Excellent piece David. Interesting and informative. We all need outlets for our stressful lives and good on her (the solicitor) for finding one so she can carry on her job without burning out.”
Last week we published two great members-only pieces. On Tuesday, Abi met up with Liverpool’s most persistent entrepreneur, Liang Zhang, to find out just how he managed to stay positive in the face of seven failed businesses.
Then on Thursday, Jack explored the biggest news of the week — the announcement that the English National Opera was in fact not heading to Liverpool, but would be trucking down the M62 to Manchester instead. Have local leaders been complacent or unlucky when it comes to ENO? Read that piece here to find out.
On with today’s edition, where after the triple stabbing over the weekend, we ask if Merseyside Police’s current knife crime strategy is actually working.
Editor’s note: Starting to worry about your Christmas shopping? You can tick one special person off the list in seconds by buying them a discounted Post subscription — currently discounted by 20% for annual gift subs (£52). Not only is it the most thoughtful present you could buy for your discerning friend but it’s also local, extremely sustainable and supports the rebirth of quality journalism. Just click that button below before the offer runs out and thanks for shopping with The Post.
This week’s weather
Tuesday 🌧️ Heavy rain and a gentle breeze with highs of 10°C
Wednesday ☀️ Sunny intervals and a gentle breeze with highs of 7°C
Thursday 🌧️ Light rain and a gentle breeze with highs of 9°C
Friday 🌧️ Light rain and a moderate breeze with highs of 8°C
Weekend ☀️ Sunny intervals and light winds with highs of 9°C
This week’s weather forecast is sourced from BBC Weather and it’s for Liverpool.
The big story: Is knife crime going up in Liverpool — or are we just more aware of it?
Top line: A man has died and two people are critically injured after a stabbing in Toxteth over the weekend. It comes after a spate of stabbings across the city over the summer. Merseyside Police say the most recent incident, at a flat in Upper Warwick Street on Sunday, was a “targeted attack” which has left a 28-year-old man dead and a man and woman in their 30s with “serious injuries”.
Context: Merseyside Police rolled out a number of initiatives to tackle knife crime, including a blade amnesty, as part of Operation Sceptre, a country-wide campaign launched in May this year.
The measures followed after a spate of high profile knife crimes in August and September which included:
A masked man inflicting multiple stab wounds on a man at the home of Thomas Cashman defence witness Nicholas McDale on Snowberry Road in Dovecot on August 7th.
Two men stabbed at a house on Danube Street in Toxteth on August 8th, including one man found with multiple wounds to his back, leg and chest.
Four people injured in a stabbing at a house in Old Swan on August 9th. One person was taken to hospital with a chest injury and the incident led to eight arrests.
The next day, August 10th, a teenager was injured in a stabbing on Woodchurch Road in Oxton following reports of a fight.
A man was taken to hospital after suffering “significant” neck wounds in a stabbing at a house on Hale Drive in Speke, leading to two arrests.
Six more people were stabbed across just two days in September at addresses in Litherland, Tuebrook and Clubmoor.
The question: Is Liverpool in the grip of a knife crime epidemic — or does the perception of a surge in incidents have more to do with a handful of very high profile attacks driving greater media coverage and public concern?
The data: Knife crime has come down in Merseyside, as The Post reported in our August deep dive following that month’s spate of stabbings. Sharp instrument offences decreased 18% between April 2022 and March 2023, when a total of 1,274 were reported.
There are indications such incidents are continuing to decline. Merseyside Police said between November 2022 and October 2023 there has been a 15% reduction in knife crime, and a huge drop in serious violence in ‘hotspot’ areas since April.
Reducing knife crime is a “priority for the force all year round.”
National picture: Recent national initiatives have followed changes to the law earlier this year which makes it illegal to possess offensive weapons in your own home. Last month, Merseyside Police carried out a blade amnesty as part of Operation Sceptre. The force has also invested in over 140 metal-detecting wands to be used during stop and search in a bid to take weapons off the streets.
Prevention: Last month the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership, set up through the Police and Crime Commissioner through central government funding, announced a range of projects to receive support from a £200k fund aimed at heading off the risk of young people getting involved in crime (including knife and weapon offences). As Inspector Laura Leech, deputy leader for serious offences and knife crime, put it:
“Both serious violence and knife crime are falling in Merseyside, but we know there is still work to do. This surrender, alongside increased proactive policing, will help us tackle these issues head on, and work with partners to understand the root causes of knife crime, carrying a weapon and serious violence.”
Your Post briefing
A quarter of people taking up beds in Liverpool’s hospitals could be discharged, the health committee has heard. Carole Hill, the associate director of strategy at NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, told councillors that the Royal Liverpool, Aintree and Broadgreen hospitals are worse affected by the delay in discharging patients, which occurs when people are "medically fit" to leave hospital but have nowhere else to go. She said the continued stay is "not good for [the patients] or the system,” adding that a new emphasis would need to be placed on providing "hospital level care" in people's homes. Professor Matt Ashton, the director of public health in Liverpool, said he will “continue to push measures out and we need to try and make people aware before they need these services."
The roll-out of nearly 60 new electric buses in Merseyside is set to be discussed in an Liverpool City Region meeting this week as part of metro mayor Steve Rotheram’s goal to improve the region’s transport. A bid for £31 million of funding for the buses has already been submitted, with the Combined Authority also promising to contribute £20 million of its own money. “I’m investing to ensure that the Liverpool City Region has a bus fleet to be proud of — one that makes travelling better for passengers and for our planet too,” Rotheram said. If the bid is successful, the buses would be operated by Stagecoach.
Liverpool was paid a visit last week by Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess as he got behind the counter at Papercup Coffee to help raise money for the homeless. Burgess is a frequent visitor to Papercup, a cafe in the city centre that invites customers in to buy a coffee for a vulnerable person. His visit coincides with the council’s recent announcement of a homelessness crisis in the city, with the government granting Liverpool nearly £4 million to prevent people ending up on the streets. Just this morning, Lib Dem leader Carl Cashman tweeted a letter signed by leaders of the opposition, calling for the council to bring forward a meeting to address the problem — which is currently scheduled for the new year.
And the owner of antiques store The Musical Box on West Derby Road has decided to set up a museum displaying its treasures. The shop has long been a staple in Liverpool, with Elvis Costello paying many visits over the years. Owner Diane Cain said she had been inspired to transform the upstairs floor of the shop into a museum after Antiques Roadshow specialist Wayne Colquhoun suggested the idea. "He looked around and it was full of stock," she told the BBC. "We didn't have much money but we had loads of records. They were everywhere — on the landing — oh, just everywhere.”
🎄 On Thursday, Nettle in Birkenhead is hosting a festive wild-crafting and wine night to teach attendees how to make their own yule wreath. All the materials have been collected from nearby woodland, and the wreath you make is yours to take home at the end of the session. Find out more here.
🎤 Cabaret performer Nana Funk takes to the stage on Wednesday for a festive show of dance, comedy and puppetry. The event takes place at Rainhill Library and starts at 7pm — find out more here.
🎨 Join street artist Paul Curtis this Saturday for a walking tour of some of his best artworks in Liverpool. The tour includes videos and images which add to the story of the murals, allowing you to view the creative process whilst hearing the stories from each artwork. Buy a ticket here.
👻 On Saturday, the Old Police Station on Lark Lane opens its doors for a historical ghost hunt, touring the cells where killer Florence Maybrick, convicted of killing her husband in 1889, was once held. The event starts at 9pm and ends at 2am — find out more here.
Home of the week
This three bedroom terraced home is tucked away in a quiet grove in Edge Hill, and boasts double glazing and central heating throughout. It is on the market for £185,000 — take a look here.
Our favourite reads
This shocking piece published by The Guardian last week details the lives of students across the UK who are struggling to make ends meet. The piece opens with George, a first-year student at Liverpool John Moores University, who is forced to work the 4am shift at a supermarket before attending his 9am lecture. He can’t afford to live off his maintenance loan alone, so has taken to working night and day to fund his degree. “There’s no question — you’ll have to get a job,” he says. “People always say students’ favourite food is rice and pasta, but I didn’t realise it would be rations.”
“In most kinds of live performance, if the person you’d paid to see fell off the stage, nodded off mid-scene, started hallucinating or began talking gibberish, you could surmise things had gone a bit wrong. In the land of improv, however, victory is often grasped from the jaws of the improbable.” This brilliant long-read written by Vicky Anderson and published by On Stage Liverpool details the last 20 years of improvisational comedy in the city, from the emergence of Hope Street Ltd to Reject’s Revenge and Spike Theatre.
Letters from readers
Really well written piece. The world it describes (apart from the excellent Puffin Rooms) is light years from my comfort zone and reminded me of the alien bar-rooms of Star Wars, but if that’s what modern punters want, why not? ‘Go for a pint? No thanks, I’m off to the Die Hard-themed shooting range’, Jack Stopforth
I asked a friend of mine who is a very senior civil servant why Manchester seems to attract so much government investment while other cities get sod all. He said it’s because they are hyper professionalised in how they bid… The council and LCR teams need to stop being naive and appreciate they are working in competition against organisations that will go all out. They need to hire professionals and spend some money to attract these schemes, otherwise we’ll continue to get the crumbs. ‘Manchester for business, Liverpool for culture? Not anymore’, Luigi