The Tamworth Herald has launched a series of initiatives in a campaign to stamp out violent crimes after a 14 per cent rise in vicious assaults in the town.
During the past year alone, the Herald has reported on a catalogue of brutal, unprovoked attacks on members of the public.
The figures do not count robberies or court cases, but a selection of incidents in which people have been attacked with fists, feet, baseball bats, knives and bricks.
In a recent incident, rival gangs of youths took to the streets brandishing meat cleavers and machetes.
Launching the campaign, the front page showed a staged photograph by local media students, depicting a typical assault scene, and posed the question: “Is our town becoming a no-go zone?”
Tamworth Herald editor Sam Holliday said: “Tamworth must say ‘no’.
“It gives me no pleasure as either a citizen or as a passionate believer in this town, for my newspaper to highlight the shocking truth about violence in Tamworth today.
“We do not do so to sensationalise the issue or to attack those in authority, but to try and say that we, as a whole community must now say ‘enough is enough’.
“Our aim is simply to encourage everyone to do their bit to help halt this violent plague which is spreading throughout our community.”
The inside pages present one teenager’s terrifying experiences of such assaults.
The four-page special on the issue sought the views of various stakeholders in the community.
Tamworth MP Brian Jenkins, Peter Seekings, Tamworth Borough Council Leader, David Newstead, Chairman of the South East Staffordshire Bench, which covers the Tamworth area, Sgt Ian Coxhead, who heads up the Community Action Team at Tamworth Police Station, and Rev Alan Barrett, the Vicar of Tamworth, all voiced their concerns on the need to seriously tackle the scourge across the district.
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