City leaders' shock over shooting of teenager in Norwich park
PUBLISHED: 15:45 28 June 2018 | UPDATED: 16:06 29 June 2018
Archant Norfolk 2018
City leaders have spoken of their shock over a shooting in a Norwich park which left a teenager with serious injuries.
Officers were called to Adelaide Street at approximately 2am on Tuesday after residents reported hearing an altercation followed by a gunshot.
Units, including armed response officers, arrived to find a man with a gunshot wound to his back. The victim, who is from London, remains at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in a serious condition.
While the Bishop of Norwich called for the community to “not give in to fear”, both city MPs have spoken of their shock at the violence.
Norwich South MP Clive Lewis has said the suburban shooting shows a recent rise in serious violence is “not just confined to large cities”.
Mr Lewis said he was “deeply concerned” about the shooting, adding recent crime figures show “Norfolk has experienced the largest four-year surge in knife and gun crime anywhere in the country.”
“These shocking figures combined with the surge in the number of criminal gangs moving drugs dealing operations to Norwich show that the nationwide rise in serious violence is not just confined to large cities,” he said.
He added some of the rise in violent crime was the result of “ruinous cuts to policing”.
“£30m has been taken from Norfolk Constabulary budget since 2010 and another £10m of cuts is being demanded by 2020,” he said.
“But it’s not just police cuts that are fuelling the rise in violent crime. Leaked Home Office research states that, like other types of crime and antisocial behaviour, violent crime has a clear link to poor life outcomes such as low educational attainment and poor health.
“The leaked research also makes a clear connection between illegal drug markets and violent crime and in particular the rise in the use of crack cocaine.”
He added ways to arrest the rise in violent crime include recruiting 10,000 more police officers to reverse “cuts in staff” since 2010, and reversing cuts to schools and health to “increase positive life outcomes and tackle the causes of crime”.
Norwich North MP Chloe Smith said it was “really shocking” to hear of a shooting on the streets of Norwich.
“The recent violent incidents we have seen in Norwich are appalling and are really concerning for the public at large,” she said. “My thoughts of course will be with the family of anybody shot or stabbed. In this particular case I am concerned if we have violence spilling over from London into Norwich.
“We are very fortunate not to have had to view our county in this way up until now. Certainly nobody would want to see the really desperate gang violence that is more associated with London, coming to Norwich.”
Ms Smith added the police had her “absolute backing” in their efforts to bring down levels of drug related violence in the city.
“I think that Norfolk Police’s new model of having more full police officers on the streets is important,” she said. “This kind of crime underlines why we need to be protected by full police officers because they have the arrest powers and other abilities to tackle it.
“I have said all along there are urban issues I think are different to the rest of the county which for me have always underlined the benefits of the new policing model.”
She said more action can be taken, including making use of new legislation and funding for local authorities.
“There is action taking place in Parliament this week which will get police more support in tackling serious violence,” she said. “Only yesterday we looked at new legislation on offensive weapons, in particular knives and acid, which is part of the overall national approach to weaponry.
“Clearly now is the time for police to have the right powers to be able to deal with weapons, which unfortunately we are now seeing on the streets of Norwich.”
She added: “I fully back the police in doing everything they have to date, but it is clear the police can’t do this on their own.
“I urge all those with responsibility in that area to work closely together to make use of the laws that exist and funding central government has rightly put in place.”
The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rvd Graham James, said: “Our first thoughts and prayers must be for the young man who was shot, and it is good to be told that he is likely to recover.
“A shooting in our city was a shock since Norwich - and Norfolk more generally - is such a safe place. We must keep it that way by not giving in to fear.
“But we must also listen to those living near the location of the shooting who have expressed concerns about that area and I’m confident the police and other public services will do so.”
Councillor Kevin Maguire, Norwich City Council cabinet member with responsibility for a safe city environment said: “This was an unusual and rare incident for Norwich so we understand it’s an unsettling time for the community. Although it was a very serious incident Norwich remains a safe place to live and work.
“We will continue to work with the police during their investigation and in relation to ongoing approaches to reduce crime in Norwich.”
Anyone with information about the incident should contact Norfolk Police on 101 quoting CAD reference 23 of 27/06.