Researcher on UK Knife Crime: 'Response to Vulnerability Young People Feel'

CC0 / / A silhouette of a man holding a knife
A silhouette of a man holding a knife - Sputnik International
With London seeing yet another knife attack yesterday evening near Euston train station, Sputnik spoke with Dr Peter Traynor, Senior Research Assistant at the Policy Research and Evaluation Unit of Manchester Metropolitan University to find out what can really be done to reduce knife crime in the UK.

Sputnik: What has caused the increase in UK knife crimes?

Dr Peter Traynor: There isn't any direct single thing that has caused the recent increase in UK knife crime, and it tends to fluctuate, at the moment we are definitely having a peak in knife crime, but it's not the first peak that we've had.
Around 2010 and 2005 there was a bit of a peak, and the media and politicians tend to panic at these times, but overall knife crime has remained relatively stable.

The causes are multiple; a lot of people who carry knives tend to be young men aged between twelve and eighteen, and my own research highlighted that knife crime is a response to the vulnerability that young people feel walking around the streets, especially in deprived areas.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson attends a news conference with Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto (not pictured) in Budapest, Hungary, March 2, 2018. - Sputnik International
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Sputnik: What can be done to reduce violent knife crimes?

Dr Peter Traynor: There's a lot that can be done; and there's quite a lot of work that's already being done both locally and nationally, in trying to target knife crime.

The government tends to respond by ratcheting up prison sentences and increasing the scope of legislation, but the problem is that many young people aren't really discouraged by these distant, far off threats of prison until it happens; and when it happens, it's too late.

You do get a lot of good work done at a local level, which is softer work and working with young people. Both the police and youth workers can work to build young people's safety and resilience in communities, and to bring young people together.

Unfortunately a lot of that work has been side-lined over the past few years because of cuts to funding and various things; so I would always recommend that we increase funds for those kinds of things that really work with young people, to make them feel safer and happier in their communities.

The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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