Connor Brown murder: Police offer reassurances city centre streets are safe

Sunderland’s top cop has moved to assure families the city centre is a safe place to go.

The pledge from Northumbria Police comes after GP practice receptionist Connor Brown died after he was stabbed in a back lane off Park Lane in the early hours of Sunday.

Growing tributes for Connor Brown have been left in memory of the 18-year-old close to where he was attacked.

Growing tributes for Connor Brown have been left in memory of the 18-year-old close to where he was attacked.

Two men have been charged with his murder.

Read more: Connor Brown murder: Trial date set for pair accused of Sunderland teenager’s death

The loss of the 18-year-old has left his friends, family and wider community devastated, with scores of tributes left near the scene.

A funding page to support his loved ones stands at more than £23,000, with England midfielder and Sunderland lad Jordan Henderson among donors.

Read more: Connor Brown murder: Fund boosted by Liverpool and England star Jordan Henderson reaches £18,000-mark

Connor’s death, along with a stabbing in Hendon on Monday, has led to concerns about safety on our streets.

Connor Brown.

Connor Brown.

However, statistics show in the city centre, across 2017 and 2018, knife-related crime stood at 12 incidents in each year, while those linked to a knife, such as robbery or assaults, was 34 in the same periods.

This weekend, officers will carry out their usual duties as people visit the city’s bars and clubs, including patrols as part of Operation Sanctuary, the force’s investigation into sexual exploitation.

Beat officers will also be on the streets, but there are no plans to draft in additional resources after last weekend’s inquiry.

Related: Connor Brown murder: Friends create shrine to attack victim at Sunderland pub where teenager drank

Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt, area commander for Sunderland and South Tyneside, said: “We don’t have any knife issue in the city centre.

Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt.

Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt.

“My full thoughts are with Connor’s friends and family after this tragedy.

“However, this isn’t a common occurrence in Sunderland, let alone in the city centre, and there is no increase around knife crime or violent crime.

“We do everything we can to make the city centre safe and we will continue to do that, look at innovative ideas and what is going on nationally as best practice, as well as make sure we maintain a visible presence.

“We want to make sure Sunderland is a safe place for people to come in and shop, have a nice meal and come in and have a drink and make it a really vibrant city.

“We regularly brief the door staff and work with the businesses to look for vulnerable people along with taxi drivers, licensees and Pub Watch members.

“But we can’t get away from the circumstances where a youngster has lost his life.

“Anybody found with a knife or carrying a weapon, we will take positive action as will the courts.

“If anyone has any concerns, they can always come and have a chat to officers.”