Schoolchildren show the true power of people on the anniversary of Olivia's murder23.08.23 - Merseyside
Schoolchildren have featured in a poignant video to remind people about the power of community spirit following the tragic murder of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel last August.
Pupils from Olivia’s school St Mary Margaret’s in Huyton came together with Malvern and Park Brow primaries to produce the video based on a poem written by poet Curtis Watts who worked with the schools and local community to develop the words.
In part of the poem, the children plead for community cohesion and peace saying: “We could be family with no enemies. We’ll never know if we don’t try it.
“Let’s say it together: ‘All one and for all’. It could be perfect – none could deny it!”
Following Olivia’s murder on August 22, 2022 Merseyside Police and partners launched a Home Office-designed Clear, Hold, Build initiative called EVOLVE Liverpool and Knowsley to disrupt and deter organised crime group (OCG) activity in Yew Tree, Long View, Page Moss, Huyton and surrounding areas.
EVOLVE is a long-term partnership approach and sees Merseyside Police, Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner, local councils, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, the Probation Service, housing associations, health services, schools, colleges, local businesses, LFC, EFC, community groups and residents working together to help stop neighbourhoods being exploited by gangs and rebuild them into areas people love to live, work and visit for generations to come.
Areas that EVOLVE focus on include: the living, working and recreational environment for residents, opportunities for young people, help with employment, assistance to access funding, health issues, crime prevention and security advice.
Partners have been working closely to share information and identify hot spots that need transforming as well as using targeted activity to remove and disrupt organised crime groups.
Between January and July this year (inclusive), the work of EVOLVE Liverpool and Knowsley has led to 379 arrests, three firearm seizures, and carried out 44 premises searches. More than 4kg of suspected Class A and B drugs has been seized and 39 safeguarding referrals have been made.
There have been several community events and days of action; numerous vulnerable adults and children safeguarded and more than £100k in cash given to local community groups from the Live Now participatory budget event in June.
Chief Superintendent Zoe Thornton, who is the head of Local Policing and oversees the EVOLVE work carried out by Merseyside Police, said: "A year ago today we were left shattered by the callous murder of Olivia.
“Our thoughts today, as ever, are with Olivia’s family and loved ones as they mark the tragic passing of their beautiful little girl.
“At nine years of age she had her whole life ahead, but her future was stolen and her family will never forget the pain they have endured and will continue to endure for the rest of their lives.
“Olivia’s death was the third death that month at the hands of reckless criminals prepared to wield a gun.
“We must continue with the stand we have taken against those involved in serious and organised crime to ensure no other family feels the pain experienced by Olivia’s and all other families who have lost a loved one through criminality.
“Together we are always stronger and from our own investigations and the information we receive from the public we will do everything within our powers to take action against those involved in organised crime.
“The strength of Merseyside lies in its communities, and by harnessing that strength we can break the cycle of crime and make our neighbourhoods safer for generations to come.”
Liverpool City Council Leader, Councillor Liam Robinson, said: “The senseless murder of Olivia was deeply shocking, shaking many of us to our very core. It made us ask that most uncomfortable of questions: what type of world are we living in, where our children aren’t safe in their home? Fortunately, this type of tragedy is extremely rare.
“Our city prides itself on our sense of community. It is part of our identity, and it comes from a collective sense that we can achieve great things – when we do it together.
"If you want to show your respects for Olivia and her family on the first anniversary of her death, then speak up when you see those who do wrong. To turn a blind eye only serves those who seek to cause harm. And it unpicks that sense of togetherness. A huge amount of work is going on to tackle serious crime in Liverpool, but we can only succeed with the support of our communities.
“I send my sincere condolences to Olivia’s family and hope they can draw strength from the fact many in this city stand for what is right and good in this world.”
Councillor Shelley Powell Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods from Knowsley Borough Council added: “Knowsley Council fully support the Police’s relentless efforts to disrupt organised crime in our communities. The pursuit will not stop until criminals have nowhere left to turn.
"People should not have to fear organised crime having an impact on their lives. As part of the ‘build’ element of the EVOLVE initiative, It is the residents who will ultimately be at the heart of creating stronger, more resilient communities where crime can’t thrive.
"The EVOLVE funding allocated to local organisations will empower them to make a difference in their area. The funding has been determined by the local community and that is so important because we want the successful projects to deliver a legacy that will benefit everyone, particularly those most vulnerable to the threat of criminal enterprise. Olivia’s death was such a tragedy and the anniversary of her death is an important reminder of the need to be unified against organised crime in our communities. The thoughts of everyone at Knowsley Council is with Olivia’s family and friends at this time.”