Rise in violent crime 'almost inevitable' post lockdown, top cop warns after Birmingham knife frenzy and London violence

A BIRMINGHAM police boss has said a surge in violence after lockdown has been "almost inevitable" as the city reels from a knife rampage that left one dead.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said people's frustration after being cooped up would lead to a spike in violent crime.

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His comments came after a night of violence in Birmingham as cops launched a manhunt to catch the culprit behind a two hour "indiscriminate" rampage.

A man was killed with another man and woman seriously injured in Irving Street during the chaos.

Another five were injured although their injuries are not thought to be life-threatening after the attacks unfolded between 12.30am and 2.20am.

The motive remains unclear, but Mr Jamieson said a rise in violence was “almost inevitable” due to the pandemic.

He told reporters: "I have been saying for some time, in the context of Covid-19, that a lot of the pent-up feelings of people have, and not being able to get out, and combine that with people who are now unsure about their future and about their jobs, it was almost inevitable that we would see a growth in violence.

"I'm not saying that this is directly related to that, but nevertheless we are seeing now a growth of violence among younger people, particularly younger males, we're seeing that growing across the region.

"My fear is that if we don't address that and some of the underlying problems with some urgency then we could see that grow.

"But, notwithstanding that, Birmingham is a good place, it's a good place to be, it's a safe city and it is regrettable that this awful incident happened last night."

Chief Superintendent Steve Graham has said there is no suggestion the attacks were related to terrorism, gangs or hate crime.

He said it is believed the victims were chosen at random, describing the rampage as "tragic, shocking and understandably frightening".

Meanwhile, a night of violence also erupted in London as seven victims were stabbed across the capital – including a teen getting knifed on the Tube.

West Midlands Police today said they were doing "all we can" to find the perpetrator as they declared a major incident in Birmingham.

Police believe the attacks began on Constitution Hill, north of the city centre, and the suspect worked north-to-south.

Ambulance crews said they received multiple calls to three locations – Livery Street, Irving Street and Hurst Street – over a period of an hour and twenty minutes.

Pictures emerged as the sun rose on scenes of blood splattered streets and forensics tents as officers desperately tried to piece together the rampage.

A knife with a black handle was seen being collected by a forensic officer.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: "All my thoughts are with those affected by the terrible incident in Birmingham last night.

"My thanks to the emergency services who are working hard at the scene. Anyone with information should contact @WMPolice"

Staff at Birmingham LGBT bar Eden locked customers inside as police swarmed the streets just after midnight with owner Cal Eden describing it as an "indiscriminate" attack.

The 46-year-old told The Sun Online: "It was really, really frightening. I’ve never seen so many police."

He said he believed the chaos first began in Snow Hill station and then spread through the Gay Village.

The club owner added: "It was just an indiscriminate attack by the sounds of it.

“It was really scary. We closed the doors because we didn’t want to scare our customers."

Five patients were taken to the major trauma centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. 

Three had suffered critical injuries and sadly, a man died shortly after arrival.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "All my thoughts are with those affected by the shocking incident in Birmingham last night.

"Our emergency services are working hard to find whoever is responsible and bring them to justice."

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said those in the area should be "very vigilant".

Police have today increased their uniformed and armed response across Birmingham.

West Midlands mayor Andy Street said his thoughts are with those affected by the major incident in Birmingham but asked people not to speculate about it.

He tweeted: "I would ask everyone to not speculate about the incident in Birmingham. West Midlands Police are set to hold a press conference this morning. My thoughts are with those affected and my thanks to the emergency services working to deal with this incident.

"The city remains open for business as usual this morning but clearly people are asked to avoid the immediate area surrounding Hurst Street while police carry out their investigation."

Anyone with information is asked to contact West Midlands Police via Live Chat on their website or call 101.

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