There have been a lot of words spoken and written over the last couple of days and weeks about the current epidemic of knife crime in London. I believe what is needed now is ‘action’. Yes, the police can do more Stop and Search and yes, legislation can be changed to deal with emerging trends but will that give us the outcome that we all want? Will this reassure the young people that maybe affected?
I have often used the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child” and taking a public health approach to this wave of violence is how it should be approached. The Police should be a partner in this approach, not the focus of the activity. The measures that are being introduced are a short-term solution that cannot be sustained for the future because the cause is deeper than arresting our way out of this.
There should also be more clarity about the focus of what we are trying to achieve. There is a constant grouping together of knife and gun crime, however, there is a difference between the profiles of the people involved. A young person that grabs a knife from the kitchen to protect himself as he leaves his home is one thing and a person that acquires a firearm is another. We need to be clear so that communities understand there is a difference and that police develop the appropriate tactics for dealing with these specific problems. The reality is that 85% of teenage murder victims had previously been known to police as suspects and therefore, more must be done with partner agencies to help prevent their deaths.
The MetBPA continues to work in partnership with its community contacts. We have focus groups with young people, attended community meetings and will continue to speak out on behalf of our community to find solutions to the problems that our communities currently face. There is still much to be done but it will take the village mentality to overcome the crisis that we currently face.
If you have any suggestions/ideas of how we can get involved with your communities, schools and places of worship and play a part in creating a positive future for our young people, then please add your comments to our website or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s use this as a platform to start the changes and not to cast any blame on any groups/people.