Armed police to patrol Liverpool streets

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armed police holding guns in LiverpoolImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Police said armed officers would be a "deterrent"

Armed officers will be patrolling part of Liverpool over Christmas and New Year following a shooting on Wednesday, police have said.

A 21-year-old man is in a critical condition after being shot in the stomach in Toxteth. Police believe it was targeted attack.

It brings the total number of shootings in Merseyside to 50 this year including the death of Yusuf Sonko in June.

Police have been granted overnight stop and-search powers in the Toxteth area.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Police will be able to carry out Section 60 stop and search orders

Assistant Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, from Merseyside Police, said the armed officers would offer a "visible deterrent".

"In the past few months there has been a number of firearms incidents, including in the L8 [Toxteth] area, and it's not surprising that local communities have had enough.

"We know that it is a very small number of people who are involved in these incidents and that they are targeted attacks.

"But experience has sadly taught us that innocent people, such as 18-year-old Yusuf Sonko who was shot in Toxteth in June, are often caught up in the crossfire and nobody wants another family to have to suffer the way they are suffering."

'Wall of silence'

Yusuf Sonko died after being shot in the head six months ago at the rear of shops on Lodge Lane. No-one has been charged with his murder.

Image source, Merseyside Police
Image caption,
Yusuf Sonko was due to sit his final A-level exam when he was killed

Earlier, his parents Khadija and Papice Sonko issued an open letter urging people to "break the wall of silence" in the hope of bringing their son's killer to justice.

"My family is broken, our hearts are broken, we will never be able to celebrate with Yusuf any more birthdays, festivals or welcome in the New Year, we will never know what his future life would have brought him, and we will never see him grow into a mature man.

"We are appealing to you mother to mother, father to father, sister and brother, please help us, please come forward with information our community must break this wall of silence, it just takes one person to do the right thing."

"Please come forward, speak to the police and please bring us some peace at this time of year.

The Section 60 order, which allows police to stop and search people without reasonable grounds when serious violence has taken place or may take place, will be in place between 17:00 GMT on Friday and 06:00 GMT on Saturday.

The order has been criticised previously after it was reported that black people were much more likely than white people to be stopped and searched by police.

The order has been used previously across Merseyside following shootings in places including Bootle and Kirkdale.

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