Police and crime commissioner: Rise in violence ‘almost inevitable’ due to Covid

The West Midlands police and crime commissioner has said a rise in violence was "almost inevitable" due to the pandemic in the wake of a spate of stabbings in Birmingham.

Detectives launched a murder investigation after a man died and seven people were injured in stabbings in the city centre during the early hours of Sunday.

Police currently believe the stabbings were carried out by one suspect and are not linked to terrorism.

David Jamieson spoke at a press conference following the incidents, telling reporters the city was "well used to activity".

He said: "I think what is different is the randomness of this particular event but also the number of other events that were happening as well.

"The amount of violence that was happening is actually very, very disturbing."

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Police forensics officers gather evidence inside a cordon on Hurst Street, following a major stabbing incident in the centre of Birmingham, central England, on September 6, 2020. - One man was killed and two people were critically injured during a "random" stabbing attack lasting several hours in Britain's second city of Birmingham, police said on Sunday. Detectives said they were hunting one suspect after being called to reports of stabbings at four separate locations in the city centre between 12:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday) and 2:30 am. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Police forensics officers gather evidence on Hurst Walk, inside a cordon at Hurst Street, following a major stabbing incident in the centre of Birmingham, central England, on September 6, 2020. - One man was killed and two people were critically injured during a "random" stabbing attack lasting several hours in Britain's second city of Birmingham, police said on Sunday. Detectives said they were hunting one suspect after being called to reports of stabbings at four separate locations in the city centre between 12:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday) and 2:30 am. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
A police forensics officer gathers evidence near to forensics tents and evidence markers inside a cordon on Irving Street, following a major stabbing incident in the centre of Birmingham, central England, on September 6, 2020. - British police declared a "major incident" early on September 6 after multiple people were stabbed in the centre of England's second city Birmingham. Violence broke out at about 12:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday) in and around the Arcadian Centre, a popular venue filled with restaurants, nightclubs and bars. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
A police forensic officer taking photographs in Hurst Street, in Birmingham after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre. West Midlands Police said they were called to reports of a stabbing at around 12.30am on Sunday and a number of other stabbings were reported in the area at around the same time.
RETRANSMISSION CORRECTING HURST STREET TO HURST WALK Three police forensics officers at making way down Hurst Walk in Birmingham after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre. Police are searching for one suspect following the stabbings in the city centre in which one man was killed and seven other people injured.
A police forensics officer in overalls (right), alongside a colleague, in Irving Street in Birmingham after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre. West Midlands Police said they were called to reports of a stabbing at around 12.30am on Sunday and a number of other stabbings were reported in the area at around the same time.
A police forensics officer gathers evidence near to forensics tents and evidence markers inside a cordon on Irving Street, following a major stabbing incident in the centre of Birmingham, central England, on September 6, 2020. - British police declared a "major incident" early on September 6 after multiple people were stabbed in the centre of England's second city Birmingham. Violence broke out at about 12:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday) in and around the Arcadian Centre, a popular venue filled with restaurants, nightclubs and bars. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Police forensics officers gather evidence near to forensics tents and evidence markers inside a cordon on Irving Street, following a major stabbing incident in the centre of Birmingham, central England, on September 6, 2020. - British police declared a "major incident" early on September 6 after multiple people were stabbed in the centre of England's second city Birmingham. Violence broke out at about 12:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday) in and around the Arcadian Centre, a popular venue filled with restaurants, nightclubs and bars. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Police guard a cordon on Livery Street following a major stabbing incident in the centre of Birmingham, central England, on September 6, 2020. - British police declared a "major incident" early on September 6 after multiple people were stabbed in the centre of England's second city Birmingham. Violence broke out at about 12:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday) in and around the Arcadian Centre, a popular venue filled with restaurants, nightclubs and bars. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Police gather evidence near to forensics tents and evidence markers inside a cordon on Irving Street, following a major stabbing incident in the centre of Birmingham, central England, on September 6, 2020. - British police declared a "major incident" early on September 6 after multiple people were stabbed in the centre of England's second city Birmingham. Violence broke out at about 12:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday) in and around the Arcadian Centre, a popular venue filled with restaurants, nightclubs and bars. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
A small forensics tent is seen at the junction of Church Street and Barwick Street, following a major stabbing incident in the centre of Birmingham, central England, on September 6, 2020. - British police declared a "major incident" early on September 6 after multiple people were stabbed in the centre of England's second city Birmingham. Violence broke out at about 12:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday) in and around the Arcadian Centre, a popular venue filled with restaurants, nightclubs and bars. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Police guard a cordon on Edmund Street following a major stabbing incident in the centre of Birmingham, central England, on September 6, 2020. - British police declared a "major incident" early on September 6 after multiple people were stabbed in the centre of England's second city Birmingham. Violence broke out at about 12:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday) in and around the Arcadian Centre, a popular venue filled with restaurants, nightclubs and bars. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Police guard a cordon on Livery Street following a major stabbing incident in the centre of Birmingham, central England, on September 6, 2020. - British police declared a "major incident" early on September 6 after multiple people were stabbed in the centre of England's second city Birmingham. Violence broke out at about 12:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday) in and around the Arcadian Centre, a popular venue filled with restaurants, nightclubs and bars. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
A police officer stands near to a small forensics tent as he mans a cordon at the junction of Church Street and Barwick Street, following a major stabbing incident in the centre of Birmingham, central England, on September 6, 2020. - British police declared a "major incident" early on September 6 after multiple people were stabbed in the centre of England's second city Birmingham. Violence broke out at about 12:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday) in and around the Arcadian Centre, a popular venue filled with restaurants, nightclubs and bars. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Police guard a cordon on Livery Street following a major stabbing incident in the centre of Birmingham, central England, on September 6, 2020. - British police declared a "major incident" early on September 6 after multiple people were stabbed in the centre of England's second city Birmingham. Violence broke out at about 12:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday) in and around the Arcadian Centre, a popular venue filled with restaurants, nightclubs and bars. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A police officer stands near to a small forensics tent as he mans a cordon at the junction of Church Street and Barwick Street, following a major stabbing incident in the centre of Birmingham, central England, on September 6, 2020. - British police declared a "major incident" early on September 6 after multiple people were stabbed in the centre of England's second city Birmingham. Violence broke out at about 12:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday) in and around the Arcadian Centre, a popular venue filled with restaurants, nightclubs and bars. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
A police forensics officer holding a sealed container with a black handled knife inside, in Edmund Street in Birmingham after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre. West Midlands Police said they were called to reports of a stabbing at around 12.30am on Sunday and a number of other stabbings were reported in the area at around the same time.
A police forensic officer looks under a small blue police tent covering an area of road in Irving Street in Birmingham after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre. West Midlands Police said they were called to reports of a stabbing at around 12.30am on Sunday and a number of other stabbings were reported in the area at around the same time.
A police forensics officer taking photographs in Irving Street in Birmingham after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre. West Midlands Police said they were called to reports of a stabbing at around 12.30am on Sunday and a number of other stabbings were reported in the area at around the same time.
Police officers at a cordon in Hurst Street in Birmingham after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre. West Midlands Police said they were called to reports of a stabbing at around 12.30am on Sunday and a number of other stabbings were reported in the area at around the same time.
Two police forensics officers in Livery Street in Birmingham after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre. West Midlands Police said they were called to reports of a stabbing at around 12.30am on Sunday and a number of other stabbings were reported in the area at around the same time.
Forensics officers walk past a police officer directing a member of the public, inside the cordoned area in Barwick Street in Birmingham after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre. West Midlands Police said they were called to reports of a stabbing at around 12.30am on Sunday and a number of other stabbings were reported in the area at around the same time.
A police officer at a cordon in Hurst Street in Birmingham after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre. West Midlands Police said they were called to reports of a stabbing at around 12.30am on Sunday and a number of other stabbings were reported in the area at around the same time.
A discarded blanket at the scene in Hurst Street, Birmingham, after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre. West Midlands Police said they were called to reports of a stabbing at around 12.30am on Sunday and a number of other stabbings were reported in the area at around the same time.
Two police forensics officers at the cordoned area in Barwick Street in Birmingham after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre. West Midlands Police said they were called to reports of a stabbing at around 12.30am on Sunday and a number of other stabbings were reported in the area at around the same time.
Police officers at a cordon in Hurst Street in Birmingham after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre. West Midlands Police said they were called to reports of a stabbing at around 12.30am on Sunday and a number of other stabbings were reported in the area at around the same time.
A police forensics officer looks under a small blue police tent covering an area of pavement in Livery Street in Birmingham after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre. West Midlands Police said they were called to reports of a stabbing at around 12.30am on Sunday and a number of other stabbings were reported in the area at around the same time.
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Mr Jamieson said a rise in violence should be expected due to the lockdown and pandemic, though he added that Sunday's incident may not be connected.

He continued: "I have been saying for some time, in the context of Covid-19, that a lot of the pent-up feelings that 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."

🔴 We are treating four incidents from last night as a linked series, and are looking for one suspect.

🔴 Enquiries to identify and trace him are ongoing.

🔴 We're trawling through CCTV images, and will release any images which may help our investigation as soon as we can.

— West Midlands Police (@WMPolice) September 6, 2020

Officers are searching for a single suspect and have appealed for the public to come forward with any information or footage.

Mr Jamieson thanked the police for their work and added the incident would be reviewed with Birmingham City Council to consider whether new measures were needed in the city centre.

In May, the elected commissioner warned criminal gangs were "coming out of lockdown" amid a rise in street violence.

He later warned about threats of serious disorder ahead of the reopening of pubs in July.

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