Our response to the highest knife crime figures for a decade
The release of the latest crime figures which show a 22% increase in knife crime compared to the previous year and the recent spate of youth violence in London deeply saddens us at the Ben Kinsella Trust. It is concerning that since Ben’s death in 2008, knife crime continues to be prevalent amongst our young people 10 years later. Our deepest sympathies are with the victims and their families at what we know to be a hugely traumatic time for them.
These devastating circumstances are not acceptable in the year 2018. It is high time we moved on.
The issue of tackling knife crime in the UK is a complex one, weaved with intricacies. There is no magic switch that we can flick and expect the problem to be resolved. The problem cannot be reduced in simplistic terms to a lack of resource in one area equating to an increase in violent crime. There is no single cause for the tragic situation we now face. The causes are multifaceted and it is only through collaborative working that we can ensure that the problem and its causes are fully understood and resolved. Key decision makers, political influencers, the police, third sector organisations, local authorities, schools, youth centres, families and young people must come together to share their knowledge and expertise. We cannot do this alone.
Our trust was formed in 2008 to tackle knife crime through education and campaigning. In that time, over 11,000 young people have visited our exhibition in Islington as we seek to inform young people of how they can keep themselves and others safer on our streets. It is a sad fact that young people still believe that carrying a knife will protect them, when in fact we know that if they carry a knife they are far more likely to be stabbed. Education is one facet which plays a crucial part in helping to resolve this issue. Everyone involved with young people – from parents to schools to third sector organisations – has a responsibility to teach young people about the dangers of carrying a knife. Our website has a number of resources to assist practitioners in doing so. Young people need our help.
We need a greater investment in a broad range of programmes. This should include prevention, intervention, mental health and other youth services. There is a desperate need for political parties to work across party lines to find the solutions. Collaboration and agreement is key to ensure funding is ring fenced and sustainable for up to 10 years.
Our aim is to ensure that no more families suffer in the way that so many are. Every young life that is lost is profoundly distressing and upsetting, and every single one is avoidable. To find out more about our work or to donate, please visit www.benkinsella.org.uk