Anti-Knife Crime Campaigner: UK Authorities Aren’t Doing Enough

Five years on and Britain still has not found an answer to its knife crime epidemic. One of the latest murders has sent shockwaves not just across the nation, but across the world when a heavily pregnant woman was stabbed to death in London over the weekend. Her baby survived the incident but is fighting for its life in the hospital.

Another alarming fact, however, is that there were three other deaths across London this weekend, including an 18-year-old man, who died as a result of serious stab wounds.

In 2018 and 2019 the number of knife crime offences recorded by the police in London reached almost 15,000, an increase of more than five thousand compared to 2015 and 2016.

The police statistics show that 41% of those being caught for knife crimes across London's boroughs are now aged between 15 and 19. While, almost half of the first 100 knife crime victims in 2019 were under 30, meaning that the majority of both victims and criminals are young people.

Garvin Snell, an anti-knife crime campaigner, says that more needs to be done for young people across the city; that youth programmes need to be set up to work with children who are at risk of being drawn into crime and violence.

While another reason for young people to carry knives is the media hype: "They see it on TV, they hear it on the radio and it seems like everybody has got a knife. So it seems like they need to be carrying a knife when the actual fact is that no one wants to see young people actually carry a knife", Snell stressed.

"When you watch it over the news and you see this and it is constantly in your face, it seems like everyone else has got one so you got to be kind of a part of it as well. And a lot of young people are kind of getting the attitude, if they have got a knife, they could use it for protection".

The problem is, as the anti-knife crime campaigner pointed out that studies have shown that among people who’ve been stabbed, between 70% and 80% of those people were stabbed with their own knife.

In their 2018 report on gangs in Waltham Forest, London South Bank University (LSBU) scholars highlighted the signs of young gang members being trapped and forced unwillingly into gang membership. Mr Snell said that the issue of attracting young people to participate in gangs is very serious and more of this is happening.

"I am seeing in my area where you’re getting like 17, 18, 19-year-olds, maybe the 20-year-old, hanging outside the school gates".

The gang members try to recruit any under-16s into their gang, so they can use them to sell drugs. Because if they get caught by the police, they will be out in 24 hours, the expert explained.

So that's why it's important to provide "new motivation or some out of school activities so they have got somewhere to go, so they are not left hanging outside the schools, hanging outside the parks, hanging outside the shops and they've actually got something to do. So they don't get caught in this sort of lifestyle", Snell stated.

London's Mayor Sadiq Khan has been criticised for failing to stop violence in the city, as it is most affected by the knife crime. Mr Khan called the latest murders "senseless and horrible" and said he's "in close touch with local leaders and the Met police, who are working tirelessly to stem this scourge of violence".

The mayor also said that the killing of pregnant woman, Kelly Mary Fauvrelle, is an example of how "violence against women is endemic in our society".

But some public figures and politicians like US President Donald Trump, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, and even singer Liam Gallagher have lashed out at Khan for not taking the issue seriously.

Earlier this month, after a series of stabbings Trump called Khan a "national disgrace who is destroying the City of London" on Twitter.

"I don't think the authorities are doing enough", the anti-knife crime campaigner argued.

"[...] Unless something happens directly to a member of their family or themselves – when I say 'them' I am talking about the MPs, the people that are in power – unless something directly affects them, nothing is going to be done. Because at the moment when I see Sadiq Khan on the news or I hear him on the radio talking about these sort of horrific knife attacks and these killings, he doesn't seem like someone that actually cares, it doesn't really seem that he is concerned about it", Snell said.

According to the expert the laws need to be tougher and punishment for these crimes needs to be increased, especially if you get caught with a knife that is over 2 inches and you have got no legitimate reason to be carrying one.

"If you are under 18 or under 16 and you are caught with a knife [for no legitimate reason] – it is 5 years. 5 years".

Otherwise, the spiral effect that we are seeing at the moment will continue, Snell warned.

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