Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Officer 'embarrassed' by Arbourthorne residents' gang fears

Police on the Arbourthorne estate Image copyright South Yorkshire Police
Image caption Police have said there will be three extra officers patrolling the Arbourthorne estate in Sheffield

A senior police officer has said he felt "personally responsible" residents felt scared in the wake of a boy being shot on a gang-ridden estate.

The 12-year-old was an "innocent bystander" caught up in a gang row on the Arbourthorne estate in Sheffield.

Residents have been pushing furniture against their doors in fear of escalating violence.

Ch Supt Stuart Barton said he was also "professionally embarrassed" and it was the police's job to keep them safe.

He said: "To hear things around [residents] pushing settees in front of doors and blocking windows at night-time really struck a chord because that isn't good enough.

"If that's the feeling on the Arbourthorne then we collectively need to do more about it."

Image caption Chf Supt Stuart Barton said the shooting of the 12-year-old had "clearly crossed the line"

The boy was with friends when he was shot in the leg in a drive-by shooting on 12 January, with police saying it was connected to "an ongoing dispute between organised criminal gangs".

Stephen Dunford, 25, of Felbrigg Road, Sheffield has been charged with attempted murder.

The shooting prompted a plea from the youngster's father who said: "Things are getting out of hand, people are living in fear."

Speaking at a public meeting on the estate on Wednesday night, Mr Barton pledged to bring in extra patrols and said he would be held "personally accountable" if that did not happen.

Image caption Jen Jones has lived on the estate for 10 years and said the violence was "new and unwelcoming"

One of the organisers of the meeting, Jen Jones, said there had been an escalation of violence on the estate over the past year and with many people feeling like police had not done enough.

"People are really scared just to go the shops," she said.

"You can't blame people for saying we've heard it all before and after a few months it peters out."

But she said the "humility" showed by the officer and his admittance they had not got it right was reassuring.

She added: "They [the police] are going to be held accountable by residents.

"This is not a gang estate. It doesn't belong to criminals - it belongs to us."

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