This page contains articles from various newspapers and other media  services (not social media) on this sad epidemic.


The names of victims appear within some of these articles, this does not mean that their loss is any more important than those not mentioned.
Sadly as can be seen from the number of acticles (and this is not a definitive list), knife crime is NOT a new epidemic that some politicians and civil agencies have led us to believe.
In addition, knife crime is not just a London problem it is a national problem, something that the mainstream news media seems to neglect.












SEPTEMBER 2019

(Interim, up to 20th September)



KNIFE CRIME IS SPREADING TO CHILDREN IN LEAFY SUBURBS AS CULTURE OF CITY GANGS GROW
(Wales Online, dated 16th September 2019 author Laura Clements

File Article [Option 1]:

www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/knife-crime-spreading-children-leafy-16916161

Schoolchildren in leafy suburbs are carrying knives in their rucksacks in school for "kudos", the most senior police officer in south Wales has warned.

South Wales Police chief constable Matt Jukes spoke out as the force launched a week-long focus on knife crime, as part of a UK-wide campaign, to tackle the changing issues forces are facing.

Mr Jukes said that while police officers had long had to deal with violent crime, the force faced a "significant shift" as big city gangs spread knife crime further west and younger children tried to copy what they saw on social media.

He said: "[Children] are carrying knives for status among their peers. Coupled with the external threat of county lines gangs spreading ever westwards, knife crime in cities like Cardiff and Swansea is at a critical point.

""It's horrible to see a young person arriving on a train from London having been exploited by county lines gangs. But equally horrible is seeing kids in schools in the leafy suburbs, which you wouldn't associate with knife crime, carrying knives in their rucksacks.

"The pattern of knife crime is focused on the city, but the supposed kudos and fear that comes with knives spreads with social media, so we are seeing it in places you wouldn't necessarily expect."

In the case of the alleged murder of Harry Baker , the most shocking thing has been the ages of those involved, he said.

"There is definitely a prevalence in younger people and in recent cases there are children and that's the tragedy.

"What has shocked people about the Barry case is the young ages of those involved. At 16, 17 and 18, they are only children. But then there are also those involved who are older."

Mr Jukes said it was "not inevitable" that Cardiff and Swansea would end up with knife crime rates like and said the key to keeping the streets safe was is to understand why youngsters end up on a path that ultimately leads to knives and violent crime.

Operation Sceptre was set up in south Wales after noticed two main signals of change. Firstly, the numbers used to track violent crime. ONS figures show that serious offences involving a knife or sharp object have doubled in the South Wales Police force area since 2010.

In 2010-11, there were 382 such offences in the area. In 2018-19, that number was 737, up from 621 the year before.

Chief Constable Jukes can reel off the figures: ""From July to July, we have seen a 4% increase, compared to 38% increase in 2016. That number includes threats and possession of knives.

"For this year so far, up until August, the number of wounding offences is 167, which is down on 186 for the same period last year.

"Stabbings are starting to go down, but at the same time, it is still around an incident nearly every day.

"I am not complacent, but what is encouraging about the numbers is that the rate of increase is slowing down," he added.

"Our level of knife crime is not the level we see in other parts of the UK. It's all down to good law enforcement - we have carried out 10,000 stop searches this year."

Secondly, Chief Constable Jukes said another signal of change was the results of knife crime and the tragic cases involving youngsters.

Asked why children are choosing to carry knives, he says he sees three reasons.

"One, to carry out other crimes. For instance, you often see knives used in robberies.

"Two, to protect themselves because they feel they are at risk, which is often drug-related.

"And thirdly, tragically, because they think they get some sort of kudos for it or it's copycat behaviour. It's not because they are involved in other crimes. For some reason, they have in their minds it's a status piece."

The Chief Constable says it is about more than numbers, describing any decision by a young person to carry a knife on a street in Wales as a tragedy.

"We need to understand whats happening and the numbers help with that, but any murder is also the loss of someone's child, someone's brother, sister - numbers can't record that individual loss," he said.

"What I want to understand is what path that child has taken to get into that situation, and that's the tragedy.

"The bottom line for me is regardless of how these children become involved. They are children. Often, they are vulnerable and have been exposed to other risks in their early life."

He wants to see earlier action.

"I am concerned to see the number of school exclusions, which have risen over the last few years," he explained.

"There is a massive over-representation of people who have been excluded from schools in the prison population."

"I want young people to know that they have a choice and there is the opportunity to make a better choice."

However, austerity and cuts to services are not easing the "long term work" needed to do that.

There is a relatively low risk on the street for most people, he stresses.

While the high profile cases reported in the media tend to involve street violence and young people, a much larger proportion of knife crime involves domestic cases behind closed doors.

"We have to balance reassurance against spreading that fear ourselves," he explained.

"We need to inform young people about the risks but not alarm them. They need to know they can protect themselves by making better choices.

"It's about focusing our efforts on where it is most needed and, believe me, there are communities crying out for us to be alongside their young people.

"But at the same time, responding to other harms in our community that are behind closed doors, someone like your next door neighbour."

The change has also resulted in a change for officers, and more knife tactics have been introduced in training.

"We have doubled the number of officers carrying tasers," he said.

 A South Wales Police pilot, called Operation Sceptre designed to tackle knife crime and related offences in Cardiff, has been rolled out across both Cardiff and Swansea .

"We are in a proactive position now, thanks to the great work of the men and women in the force.

"In the last six months, we have realised it's not inevitable and we can make a difference."

What is Operation Sceptre?

The Operation Sceptre team, named after a national initiative started by the Metropolitan Police in 2015, was set up last summer initially as a 12-month pilot to reduce knife crime and related offences in Cardiff.

This summer, the team expanded with a further unit created in Swansea. Starting on Monday, there will be an intensification week of visible police activity and engagement as part of Operation Sceptre Week.

(20th September 2019)


FULL LIST OF 16 PUBS AND CLUBS GETTING SPECIAL WANDS TO DETECT HIDDEN KNIVES AND BLADES
(Daily Post, dated 13th September 2019 author Steve Bagnall)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/knife-amnesty-full-list-pubs-16910296

Detection wands and bins to ditch blades are being launched as part of a crackdown on knife crime.

Between 16 and 22 September, Operation Sceptre will see North Wales Police (NWP) stations putting out special amnesty bins across the region for people to deposit knives

Similar bins will be placed at a number of recycling centres for people who do not feel comfortable attending a police station.

And as part of the Home Office supported campaign, licenced premises are being issued with knife-detection wands which have been funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Arfon Jones.

The full list of licensed premises getting wands is:


- Castle, Cube, Waterloo and Academi in Bangor
- Copa in Caernarfon
- Tikki Bar in Rhyl
- Club 147 in Llandudno
- Noah's bar in Colwyn Bay
- Boulevard, Llandudno
- Wings in Denbigh
- Mojo, Central Station, One to Five; Atik and Penny Black in Wrexham
- The Tivoli in Buckley

It comes amid fears knife crime is rising across the UK.

Since July 2017, a total of 1,691 knives have been handed in across North Wales.

Temporary Detective Inspector Tecwyn Green, NWP Operation Sceptre co-ordinator said: "Carrying knives is totally and utterly unacceptable and we hope that introducing these wands will not only act as a deterrent, but they'll also reassure people who are planning an enjoyable night out.

"Knives are dangerous and there is no place for them on the streets of North Wales.

"Carrying knives or other weapons do not keep you safe. By carrying a knife you are putting yourself in much greater danger, and more likely to become involved in a violent situation and get injured yourself.

"All licenced premises that are being given these wands have been extremely positive and are pleased to play their part in the national campaign. These venues rarely have issues relating to knife crime, yet they fully understand the importance of having a preventative initiative such as this one in place."

He added: "We want to ensure residents are safe from knife crime in their communities so we are pleased to be promoting our week-long knife amnesty where people can hand in knives without fear of punishment."

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones said: "The rise in the statistics for violent crime is a general trend across the UK and it is important to remember than North Wales is still one of the safest places to live and work.

"Another important factor to remember is that there have been changes in the recording methods of some categories of crime, including violent crime, and this has also had an impact in skewing the statistics.

"Nevertheless, it is vitally important that we tackle this scourge and I know it is a priority for North Wales Police.

"The message is clear. Knives and dangerous. They can maim and even kill people."

During the week school community police officers will be attending primary and secondary schools throughout North Wales to give a presentation on knife crime as part of the All Wales Schools Programme.

Unwanted knives can be disposed of in special amnesty bins n police stations in Wrexham, Mold, Rhyl, Llandudno, Colwyn Bay, Bangor, Caernarfon and Holyhead.

They can also be taken to recycling centres at Mochdre, Abergele, Rhyl, Denbigh and Ruthin.

Police asked people to ensure any sharp ends were securely wrapped in a protective material.

Det Insp Green added: " I would encourage you to take this opportunity to rid yourselves of any illegal weapons by taking them to any of the named stations."

Anyone with information on knife crime can call NWP on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

(20th September 2019)


THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED WHEN A KNIFE ARCH WAS PLACED IN COVENTRY BUS STATION
(Coventry Telegraph, dated 4th September 2019 author Elis Sandford)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/coventry-news-knife-arch-16864917

A knife arch was placed in Coventry's bus station earlier this week as part of a massive police operation to tackle youth violence across the entire West Midlands.

Officers from West Midlands Police and Safer Travel Police were spotted in Pool Meadow Bus Station yesterday (September 3), where they spent the day manning a knife arch inside the bus terminal.

It has been revealed that it came as part of Project Guardian, a £7 million project to help tackle knife crime and youth violence across Coventry and the wider West Midlands.

The officers were "engaging with passengers and using a knife arch" at the station, located in the heart of the city.

However, despite the day-long efforts, they did not find any weapons, and no arrests were made.

Coventry Police said on their Facebook page: "Safer Travel Police were using the knife arch detector today at Pool Meadow bus station.

"The team were out engaging with passengers and using a knife arch to support Coventry Police as part of Project Guardian."

What is Project Guardian?

 Earlier this year, West Midlands Police revealed they had set up a new project, Project Guardian, with the aim of reducing "serious violence in public spaces with a focus on reducing knife crime among young people".

The Home Office allocated more than £7 million to the project, with the money funding an initial 163,400 policing hours during the first year.

What's more, 75 brand new police staff investigators (PSIs) have been employed on one year contracts to investigate a range of crimes which will help allow neighbourhood teams to be more focused on how they can work with communities to help prevent youth violence.

Money has also been spent to introduce 15 extra cars to improve rapid response to violent crime incidents.

Chief Constable Dave Thompson said: "The project is focused on how to build extra capacity within the force dedicated to combating youth violence, whether that's by more arrests, better management of offenders, education and diversion for young people or by building the best case files that we can.

"As a force we cannot prevent youth violence alone. We will be working with partners and other stakeholders to make the most of our combined skills in reducing violence among young people in the long term as well as the short term."

Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: "I have been successful in obtaining £7.6million of short term funding from the Home Office. I will make sure that money is spent to reduce violent crime and keep our communities safe. I am also focused on ensuring the government put in place the long term funding to continue to make a real difference.

"We will be using the money to increase our capacity to prevent crime and to react to violent crimes as they occur. In particular 75 new police staff investigators will help to free up local teams to provide pro-active neighbourhood policing.

"Youth violence is not an issue that will be solved by enforcement alone. We will need the support of other agencies and communities to tackle this issue together. It is also why we are investing in projects to divert young people away from violence and to break the cycle of crime.

"Earlier this year I declared knife crime to be a national emergency. Project Guardian is a vital part of West Midlands Police's response to that emergency."

(20th September 2019)


STOP AND SEARCHES UP BY MORE THAN 50 PER CENT AS POLICE TACKLE DRUG AND KNIFE CRIMES
(Nottingham Post, dated 4th September 2019 author Kit Sandeman)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.nottinghampost.com/news/nottingham-news/stop-searches-up-more-50-3285331

The number of stop and searches carried out in Nottinghamshire has risen sharply - in part because of the police's targeted campaign to tackle knife crime.

In 2018/19, there were 3,023 stop and searches - an increase of 58 percent from the year before, when there were 1,908.

More than half of the searches (54.4 percent) resulted in further action being taken, with 15.4 percent of people arrested on the spot.

Others received cautions, summonses and drug possession warnings.

Some of the searches - and arrests - were carried out by Nottinghamshire Police's knife crime team, the only dedicated unit of its kind outside London.

In total, there were 83 arrests for possessing knives and firearms, compared to 58 the year before.

A force report said this figure "illustrates what a vital crime fighting tool these powers offer and how they can be used to protect the public by removing weapons from the streets".

Both the chief constable and the police and crime commissioner welcomed the figures at a meeting held at Gedling Civic Centre, and said they were a reflection of the force's drive to tackle both drug crime and knife crime.

Black people and young Asian men were statistically more likely to be searched than white people, although this disproportionality has decreased from the year before.

In searches of people who identify as Asian, a prohibited item was found in 44.9 percent of searches. This is higher than the average for all ethnicities, which was 39.6 percent.

In searches of people who identify as "black", fewer prohibited items were found than the average - 35.9 percent of searches resulted in a 'find'' - compared to the 39.6 percent average.

Drugs accounted for the majority of illegal items found.

A report on the issue discussed said: "The reason for this high volume of (drugs) searches begins with the fact that cannabis is easy to smell and therefore formulating lawful grounds (to stop and search) is much easier than for other offences like the carrying of knives.

"Equally, there are a number of searches conducted following reports of 'items being handed between people', by CCTV operators and the public; as well as reports being made by door-staff working during the night-time economy."

On the issue of knife crime, the report said: "Violent knife crime is increasing nationally, an increase that is reflected in Nottinghamshire.

"There has been an increased focus on using stop and search powers to help deter, disrupt and detect criminal activity by taking weapons off the street and thereby reduce violent crime.

"The use of intelligence supports the proactive nature of the teams' efforts and offers the ability to identify prolific and habitual knife carriers.

"Nottinghamshire Police established the knife crime team in January 2016.

"Since its inception, the team has seized more than 290 weapons.

"These weapons have been recovered through intelligence-led stop and search encounters.

"This is not as a result of the indiscriminate use of these powers, but from using information given by the public to target those who are believed to be carrying knives and other weapons."

Paddy Tipping, police and crime commissioner for Nottinghamshire, said: "I used to boast that the stop and search rates in Nottinghamshire were among the lowest in the country.

"The important thing is to search the right people, and in terms of positive outcomes - arrests, drug warnings, identifying weapons - our performance is double the next best (force).

In the meeting, Craig Guildford, chief constable of Nottinghamshire Police, acknowledged stop and search was contentious, but said he was confident sufficient checks and balances were in place, and that the policy remained a useful tool.

He said: "I'm really pleased with the increase and the positive feedback we get from the community, and the continual supply of community intelligence, which leads to this."

(20th September 2019)


AUGUST 2019


BIG SUPERMARKETS STILL SELLING KNIVES TO CHILDREN
(Guardian, dated 29th August 2019 author Rebecca Smithers)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/29/big-supermarkets-still-selling-knives-to-children

Children are still buying knives from big UK supermarkets including Tesco and Asda - despite retailers' recent public pledges to toughen up their sales policies - according to the results of tests carried out by National Trading Standards officers.

It is illegal to sell a knife to anyone under the age of 18, yet the new data shows that of 2,231 official "test purchases" in England and Wales over 12 months to the end of March, retailers failed to prevent the sale of a weapon to a child on 344 separate occasions (15%).

Poundland, Home Bargains, Asda and Tesco sold knives to children at least 15 times each during the tests. Separately, 100 online test purchases were carried out for the first time. These led to an even higher rate of purchase, with children buying knives on 41 occasions.

In April the Co-op said it had stopped selling kitchen knives in response to soaring levels of knife crime in the UK. The previous month Asda said it would withdraw single kitchen knives from its stores, adding that single knives were stolen more often than sets of knives.

Toby Harris, chair of National Trading Standards, said: "Restricting the sale of knives to children is clearly a difficult issue for retailers, especially those with large numbers of outlets, staff and delivery partners, and I am aware that many retailers are working incredibly hard to train staff and introduce robust procedures to stem the flow of knives to children.

"But our tests show that it's still too easy for a child to buy a knife in store or online. We know that young people are being cautioned and convicted for knife crime offences, and as such I urge all retailers to do more."

Kit Malthouse, minister for policing and crime, said: "I am deeply concerned to see some retailers are breaking the law and I expect them to take urgent action to stop young people from getting hold of knives in the first place."

In 2018 the discount retail chain B&M was ordered to pay £480,000 in fines and £12,428 in costs after selling knives to children. Croydon trading standards has recently successfully prosecuted companies for selling knives online.

Responding to the findings, Asda said: "While we are clearly disappointed with the results from a small number of cases between April 2018 and March 2019, we would like to reassure customers that we have since provided updated training for colleagues and have clear policies in place to ensure we meet all our responsibilities as a retailer."

Tesco said it had toughened up its display and sales policies, with changes introduced after the test purchase period. A spokesman said: "Tesco takes the safety of our colleagues, customers and the communities we serve very seriously, and we have made significant changes to our approach, including a two-stage age verification process."

The Guardian revealed this month that knives can be purchased on Facebook Marketplace without age verification despite a recent law requiring checks.

(7th September 2019)


TERRIFIED PARENTS ARE WARNING KIDS AS YOUNG AS SEVEN ABOUT KNIFE CRIME
(The Sun, dated 23rd August 2019 author Aletha Adu)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.thesun.co.uk/news/9786044/parents-warn-young-kids-knife-crime-gangs-rise/

TERRIFIED parents are warning kids as young as seven about knife crime, it has been revealed.

At least 50 per cent of parents have told their kids to avoid areas like housing estates so they won't clash with gangs, a study has found.

Almost all of those parents told their children stop hanging around with certain friends and installing trackers on their child's mobile phone's, to monitor their whereabouts.

Others would walk their child to and from school, search their bags or coats for knives or move them to a new school in order to protect them.

It comes as more than 1,000 children were caught carrying knives in schools last year - with the youngest aged just four, figures show.

Weapons seized by police included machetes, hunting knives, a samurai sword and even a highlighter pen which had its nib changed to a blade.

Figures obtained by 5 News under Freedom of Information laws show a total of 1,144 knife possession offences in schools, where the suspect was a child, were recorded in England, Scotland and Wales last year.

SCHOOL STOP AND SEARCH

A study of 2,000 parents of children under 18 by ChannelMum.com, found 72 per cent worry their child could become a victim of knife crime.

Siobhan Freegard, founder of ChannelMum.com, said: "It paints a bleak picture of childhood when parents feel they have to speak to their child about knife crime from just seven years old.

"It's not a conversation any mum or dad wants to have, but it may well be necessary to keep teens safe.

"The knife crime epidemic is spreading across all areas of the country so it's absolutely essential that children are helped to stay safe while adults must better understand the growing pressures our young people are under."

Primary school kids are being warned of stabbing incidents thanks to the recent rise in knife crime.

Official Home Office statistics show a total of 43,516 incidents recorded in the last year leading up to March 2019.

This is a huge increase on the 23,945 offences recorded five years ago.

A Government spokesman said: "No young person should feel the need to bring a knife to school, and our #knifefree campaign challenges the myth that carrying a knife makes you safer.

"We have strengthened teachers' powers so they can take action if they suspect a pupil has brought a prohibited item, including knives, into schools. These powers include searching pupils or their possessions if they suspect they have a weapon.

"Our Serious Violence Strategy focuses on steering young people away from knife crime and we are also investing over £220 million in early intervention projects."

It also emerged one in eight parents polled, via OnePoll, wouldn't report their child to the police if they caught them carrying a knife, and 36 per cent say they 'aren't sure' what they'd do.

Anti-knife crime campaigner Brooke Kinsella, whose brother Ben was stabbed to death in 2008 aged just 16, said: "You can't wrap up children in cotton wool and lock them up so they can't go out.

"But our children should not be worried about knife crime.

"They should be thinking about exam results, where they want to go to college and what they want to do when they grow up.

"They should not be worried that they are not going to grow up."

Siobhan Freegard added: "Knives can change lives in seconds so it's vital we all know how to help victims quickly, which is why we created this expert video.

"It's vital for parents to talk to their children about knife crime and the effects it can have not only on them, but also on their friends and families."

(7th September 2019)


DANGEROUS WEAPONS SEIZED IN NORTH EAST INCLUDING 43 KNIVES AND TWO AXES FROM A SINGLE HOME
(Chronical Live, dated 23rd August 2019 author Kathryn Riddell)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/dangerous-weapons-seized-north-east-16807441

A number of knives and two axes were seized from a single home in Newcastle as internet shoppers have been warned against buying weapons online.

Specialist detectives have re-issued the warning to anyone using the internet to buy and sell knives after seizing a total of 59 weapons in the past six weeks.

The seizures form part of an ongoing commitment by the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) to crackdown on the distribution of prohibited weapons.

The majority of the weapons found came from a single home in Newcastle.

Earlier this month, officers from NERSOU's disruption team seized 45 weapons, including two axes, from the home of a 31-year-old Newcastle man after a package containing another knife was intercepted by Border Force.

During the visit, the man disclosed a collection of 42 more knives and two small axes which were signed over to the police for destruction.

A representative from NERSOU's disruption team said: "Just because something is for sale online in another country, it does not mean that it is legal to have here in the UK.

"Having any weapon in your possession is a serious offence. If you know someone who carries a knife or any other article which they intend to use as a weapon, we would encourage you to report your concerns to the police or to Crimestoppers and your information will be acted upon."

A total of 59 weapons, including knives, knuckledusters, Tasers and a stun gun have been seized from eight homes across the North East.

Northumbria Police have warned that carrying a knife or a blade is not only illegal but dangerous. Anyone caught with a knife or blade in a public space could face a prison sentence of up to five years or more.

(7th September 2019)


CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS FOUR AMONG HUNDREDS CAUGHT WITH BLADES AT SCHOOL
(Independent, dated 23rd August 2019 author Henry Vaughan)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/knife-crime-schools-children-blades-machetes-samurai-sword-teachers-a9075621.html

More than 1,000 children were caught carrying knives in schools last year - with the youngest aged just four, figures show.

Weapons seized by police included machetes, hunting knives, a samurai sword and even a highlighter pen which had its nib changed to a blade.

Figures obtained by 5 News under Freedom of Information laws show a total of 1,144 knife possession offences in schools, where the suspect was a child, were recorded in England, Scotland and Wales last year.

The number of offences more than doubled over the past five years, among the 36 forces in England and Wales that provided comparable data, soaring from 372 in 2014 to 968 last year.

Dyfed-Powys Police were called to one school in Wales by teachers concerned that a four-year-old had a knife.

In Manchester, an 11-year-old, who had replaced a highlighter nib with a blade, told another pupil: "Listen to me or else I'll stab you."

Former teacher David Simmons, who set up the Changing Lives charity, said he was confronted by a six-year-old brandishing a knife while working in a north London school.

"He was threatening other staff members and saying that he was going to stab them so I've gone over trying to calm this child down," he said. "He's then said he's going to stab me and kill me. At that age you just wouldn't have thought that a six-year-old should be doing that. Why were they doing that?"

Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School, in Birmingham, carries out random checks on students, where they are searched before walking through a knife arch.

The school said it does not have a knife problem, and headteacher Helen Burrows explained the checks were brought in to teach children about the wider world.

"It could happen at any school at any time," she said. "I don't think a child bringing a knife into a school is a localised issue. It's a national issue. It's quite simple for me as a headteacher that a child bringing a knife into school is not acceptable but we would never wash our hands of a child completely."

She added: "We would always look at what we could do to support that child moving on in the future."

Steven George, from the National Association of Headteachers, said referring a child to the police isn't always the best option, adding: "What you're trying to do is find a solution for that child.

"Their family, circumstances, the neighbourhood they live in, the people they hang around with are all going to be factors and those aren't solved with a phone call to the police. We know that schools are being asked to do more than ever before on a wide range of issues that extend beyond the school gates. If the figures continue to grow then that is a problem that schools definitely cannot tackle alone."

A Government spokesman said: "No young person should feel the need to bring a knife to school, and our £knifefree campaign challenges the myth that carrying a knife makes you safer. We have strengthened teachers' powers so they can take action if they suspect a pupil has brought a prohibited item, including knives, into schools. These powers include searching pupils or their possessions if they suspect they have a weapon.

"Our Serious Violence Strategy focuses on steering young people away from knife crime and we are also investing over £220 million in early intervention projects."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Scotland has adopted a public health approach to violent crime, tackling the underlying causes of violence and not just the symptoms. Our approach to knife crime, focusing on prevention, is recognised across the UK and internationally as making a real difference in keeping people safer."

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "There is a duty on local authorities and schools to ensure that schools are a safe environment for all. If at any point the environment within a school becomes unsafe, the school should ensure that the relevant authorities are informed so that appropriate support can be made available."

(7th September 2019)


KNIFE CRIME CURFEW PLAN FOR 12 YEAR OLDS
(BBC News, dated 19th August 2019)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-49395029

Children as young as 12 could face curfews under Home Office plans to tackle knife crime.

Courts in England and Wales will get extra civil powers to tackle concerns about people suspected of carrying bladed weapons and serious violence.

The knife crime prevention orders (KCPOs) can be imposed by magistrate and youth courts on anyone who police believe is carrying a knife.

Critics say the move will "fast track" young people in to the justice system.

The orders were included in draft guidance as part of the Offensive Weapons Act.

Under the proposals, courts will also be able to impose geographical restrictions and prevent subjects aged 12 and over from meeting certain people.

The scheme, which was originally put forward by former Home Secretary Sajid Javid in January this year, was previously criticised by the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Baroness Lawrence said there were better ways to deal with knife crime than "criminalising" children.

Her son Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack in south-east London in 1993, aged 18.

Labour peer Baroness Lawrence, who has campaigned for police reforms, told the Home Affairs Select Committee a better focus would be to concentrate on educating children on what could happen if they carry knives.

Gracie Bradley from human rights group Liberty, suggested the orders will impose "punitive conditions" on young people "often without any proof that they have committed a crime".

She told the BBC: "They will then be criminalised if they fail to comply with these arbitrary restrictions on their liberty. This approach makes a mockery of the rule that we are all innocent until proven guilty, and will see young people fast-tracked into the criminal justice system."

The Home Office says before imposing a KCPO courts "must be satisfied, on the balance of probabilities that the suspect has carried a knife on at least two occasions" and it is "necessary to make the order to protect the public generally, or particular persons from risk of physical or psychological harm".

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "We are cracking down on violent crime, which has a devastating impact on victims, their families, and our communities.

"Our Offensive Weapons Act will help to stop acids and knives making their way onto our streets and being used to carry out horrifying attacks."

The court order announcement comes days after another Home Office knife crime prevention campaign was labelled "out of touch" and "racist".

Chicken shop boxes carrying #knifefree slogans were distributed to more than 210 outlets in England and Wales.

More than 321,000 boxes will replace standard packaging at outlets including Chicken Cottage, Dixy Chicken and Morley's, the Home Office said.

Real life stories of young people who chose positive activities over carrying a weapon are printed inside the boxes.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the plan was "crude" and "offensive".

However, Ms Patel defended the campaign, accusing Ms Abbott of "playing politics with knife crime".

uaware comment

Without a doubt education is the best way forward in reducing knife crime and showing people there is a future, but even that is not an instant fix. Its a "drip feed" of a preventative measure, otherwise it becomes a form of indoctrination. Also how do you explain to a five year old "that if you knife someone in the heart they will cease to exist" ?
Whilst that "drip feed" takes place who takes the responsibility for the death of a twelve year old on the street or the 12 year old perpetrator ?

Children are not political pawns, they don't vote Tory, Labour or Social Democrat. They don't know what Liberty is all about. BUT THEY DO RELY ON ADULTS TO PROTECT THEM, so politicians, grow up and stop trying to gain political points with childrens lives.

(7th September 2019)


LONDON KNIFE CRIME - CHARITY WHICH TEACHES YOUNG PEOPLE HOW TO SAVE STAB VICTIMS GETS £230K FOR EXPANSION
(London Evening Standard, dated 19th August 2019 author Naomi Ackerman)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/london-knife-crime-charity-which-teaches-young-people-how-to-save-stab-victims-gets-230k-for-a4216321.html

A scheme teaching first aid to young Londoners most at risk of knife crime to help them save stab victims' lives is being expanded.

Since 2013, charity StreetDoctors has trained more than 100 London-based junior doctors, medical students, trainee nurses and paramedics to run workshops on how to stem bleeding quickly and deliver first aid. They have taught nearly 5,000 children as young as 11, with the highest number of sessions run in south London boroughs.

The National Lottery Community Fund today said it will donate £230,000 to the charity, funding training for more "desperately needed" volunteers and allowing its programmes - which also run in 15 other UK cities - to reach about 1,800 young Londoners this year, up from 990 in 2018.

The volunteers - from Bart's and The London School of Medicine, UCL, King's College London, St George's Hospital, Imperial College London and the Nursing School at City University - use their days off to go into secondary schools and community groups in areas where knife crime is common. They also train in pupil referral units, where children have often been involved in gang violence.

Role play and visual props are used to explain the science behind blood loss, and the experts give every participant a reminder card, with instructions to follow if they find someone bleeding or unconscious following a violent event.

Some 85 per cent of attendees now say they would be willing and able to act if first aid is needed, and 94 per cent said they would know what to do if someone is bleeding or unconscious, according to the charity. Volunteer and trustee Dr Rochelle Pierre, 30, of Hackney, has delivered more than 100 sessions since 2012. The A&E doctor said medical professionals can get through to young people because they "are not teachers or lecturing them". She said: "We just offer them the knowledge we have of the body and our experiences of the consequences of knife crime."

Lucie Russell, StreetDoctors' chief executive, cited the example of a young stab victim who was slashed across the chest in Tottenham: "He followed the instructions and paramedics told him he saved his own life."

(7th September 2019)


700 STOP AND SEARCHES CARRIED OUT IN ESSEX
(Heart Radio News, dated 13th August 2019)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.heart.co.uk/essex/news/local/700-stop-and-searches-carried-out-in-essex/

Nearly 700 stop and searches have been carried out in Essex since June as part of the fight against knife crime.

Essex Police say they have carried out more than 80 operations to tackle knife crime and serious violence in public places across the county.

They secured £1.76 million from the Home Office in April to invest in their ongoing fight against serious violence.

The money has been used to continue Operation Sceptre Essex - a targeted crackdown on knife crime.

There have been more than 378 arrests of people on suspicion of a variety of offences, including possession of weapons and possession of drugs with intent to supply.

Chief Superintendent Tracey Harman said: "Every day we have officers out across the county tackling violent crime and knife crime.

"This includes extra patrols, using stop and search powers, and gathering intelligence to help us target offenders.

"Information from the public is also really important in helping us identify offenders, as we can only tackle these issues as a community."

(7th September 2019)


KIDS AND KNIVES

CHICKEN SHOP DRUG GANGS RECRUIT CHILDREN WITH FOOD, INQUIRY FINDS

(Guardian, date 12th August 2019 author PA Media)

Full article [Option 1]:

https://amp.theguardian.com/society/2019/aug/12/chicken-shop-drug-gangs-recruit-children-with-food-inquiry-finds?__twitter_impression=true

Criminal "chicken shop gangs" are recruiting children to deal drugs with the offer of free food, a parliamentary investigation has found.

So-called chicken shop grooming was described in written evidence submitted to the youth select committee, which is investigating the UK's knife crime epidemic.

Young people with experience of the criminal justice system said children who had been excluded from school were particularly vulnerable to exploitation.

"Some shared that their peers had been targeted by gangs outside of pupil referral units [PRUs], as well as outside sports centres," the youth justice board of England and Wales reported in evidence.

"They also said that sometimes children are recruited through an offer of food (referred to as chicken shop gangs) and they felt that schools could do more to keep children in school as it could be a protective factor from gang involvement."

Children's charities confirmed the tactic was being used to lure children into a criminal lifestyle.

The headteacher of a primary school in east London shared a YouTube video highlighting the dangers of chicken shop grooming, with children as young as seven being targeted. There are fears the technique is being used at takeaway restaurants in the area, including a local branch of McDonald's.

A poster campaign targeting high school students, launched by London Grid for Learning (LGfL), a community of schools and local authorities in the capital, tells children: "There's no such thing as free chicken! Friends of friends who buy you things often want something in return."

LGfL's online safety and safeguarding manager, Mark Bentley, said: "In terms of schools or parents who might think this wouldn't happen in this leafy area, chicken shops are legion, and kids like to hit the chicken shop on the way home from school.

"It's so easy for them to think, 'oh, I can save a couple of quid', and it's easy to get sucked in."

The Children's Society said last month "county lines" drug gangs - which use young and vulnerable people as couriers to move drugs and cash between cities and smaller towns - were recruiting children as young as seven, although those aged 14 to 17 were most at risk.

Natasha Chopra, the charity's London disrupting exploitation programme manager, said she had been aware of chicken shop grooming since she started working in the sector in 2008.

She said cuts to youth services had led to more children spending time in places where they could be targeted.

"Young people tend to go to places like fast food chains of a cheaper cost. Young people may use certain fast food chains as a place to socialise," she said.

"In terms of exploitation, these exploiters know that these young people are going to be at a vast range of fast food chains. That's when the 'targeted' stage comes in, because exploiters will actually watch and observe the young people.

"They will watch and they will check and think, 'OK this particular young person comes in at this time, they leave at this time. Why are they not going home?' That's the way it will start with a conversation like, 'Hi, here's some chicken or here's some chips' and that relationship can form quite easily."

Chopra said the next phase of exploitation could involve a child being offered £20 to act as a lookout for a criminal gang before becoming "hooked" on the experience of having access to money, moving up the ranks and feeling part of a family.

Once involved in a gang, children are coerced into staying through threats towards family members and friends, or with videos of them performing sex acts or inserting drugs into their bodies, she said.

In January the National Crime Agency (NCA) warned as many as 10,000 children could be involved in county lines drug dealing, with profits estimated to total around £500m a year.

Barnardo's chief executive, Javed Khan, said: "Barnardo's raises awareness among night-time workers, including those that work at fast food outlets, to identify children who may be vulnerable and help them to understand how to keep them safe."

-----------------------
ANTI-KNIFE CRIME ADVERTS ON FRIED CHICKEN BOXES "ARE RACIST"
(Metro, dated 15th August 2019 author Richard Hartley-Parkinson)

Full article [Option 1]:

https://metro.co.uk/2019/08/15/anti-knife-crime-adverts-fried-chicken-boxes-racist-10574480/

Plans by the Home Office to put knife crime stories on fried chicken boxes have been labelled 'embarrassing', 'stupid' and 'racist'.

More than 321,000 chicken boxes that feature the Government's #knifefree campaign have been distributed to over 210 outlets in England and Wales.
The insides of the boxes are printed with real life stories of young people who have chosen to pursue positive activities, such as boxing or music, instead of carrying a knife.

The boxes will replace the standard packaging at both independent and branched owned shops, including Morley's, Chicken Cottage and Dixy Chicken.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said: 'These chicken boxes will bring home to thousands of young people the tragic consequences of carrying a knife and challenge the idea that it makes you safer.

'The Government is doing everything it can to tackle the senseless violence that is traumatising communities and claiming too many young lives, including bolstering the police's ranks with 20,000 new police officers on our streets.'

However, the move has been criticised and branded an 'embarrassment' and 'ridiculous' as well as 'borderline racist'.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbot tweeted: 'Instead of investing in a public health approach to violent crime, the Home Office have opted for yet another crude, offensive and probably expensive campaign.

'They would do better to invest in our communities not demonise them.'

TV and comedy writer James Felton said: 'Honest to God, if the best idea you have to tackle knife crime is to write stuff on fried chicken you should quit power forever in embarrassment, not tweet it out proudly like you've just solved world hunger.'

Another Twitter user added: 'Spending some money funding community outreach projects, social workers, job opportunities and schools too much effort for you then?'

Twitter users criticised the campaign for 'borderline racism', fried chicken is an old mainstay in racist depictions of black people.

Labour MP David Lammy tweeted: 'Is this some kind of joke?! Why have you chosen chicken shops? What's next, #KnifeFree watermelons?'

Peter Grigg, director of external affairs at The Children's Society, said: 'More government investment is needed in education for young people about knife crime, healthy relationships, and exploitation, as well as in early intervention and prevention, and ministers must urgently address the £3bn shortfall facing council children's services departments by 2025.

'This investment should be used to help children overcome challenges in their lives which may leave them more susceptible to risks outside the home but also to fund the youth clubs and services which provide the kind of positive activities highlighted in this campaign but which have been devastated by Government funding cuts.'

------------------------
CHICKEN SHOPS ARE A HOTBED OF HEROIN AND GROOMING SO IT'S NOT RACIST TO TARGET THEM TO TACKLE KNIFE CRIME, SAYS EX-GANG LEADER
(The Sun, dated 17th August 2019 author Sophie Jane Evans)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.thesun.co.uk/news/9727695/chicken-shops-hotbed-heroin-grooming-knife-crime-ex-gang-leader/

A notorious ex-gang leader has slammed claims the Government's new chicken boxes with #knifefree on them are "racist", saying chicken shops are crime and grooming hotspots.

Matthew Norford, 36, says it's not racist to target these places because knife crime is "really killing black kids".

Home Office plans to tackle knife crime by spending £57,000 on some 321,000 chicken boxes with the Government's #knifefree campaign message were blasted by politicians and members of the public as "a farce", "stupid" and "racist".

Shadow Home Secretary Dianne Abbott dubbed the campaign "crude and offensive", while Good Morning Britain host Adil Ray called it "demonising" and said he initially thought it was a joke.

"We're in a society where we're supposed to be playing against this idea of stereotypes," Adil said this week as newsreader Sean Fletcher remarked: "It's the assumption that black people just eat chicken."

But former gang leader Matthew has hit back, saying the scheme is perfectly pointed because vulnerable kids are increasingly hanging out in the popular takeaways - and that some eateries are even selling Spice and heroin alongside chicken and chips.

"You've got to stop the black kids because it's them carrying a knife," says Matthew, who used to groom children into his Manchester gang with friendly gestures and flashy gifts.

"People need to come off the racist s*** and help the police," he exclusively tells Sun Online.

The true cost of cheap food

Today, chicken shops litter British high streets, with their bright lights, smell of fried food and eye-catching names - from the palatial-sounding Chicken Palace and Royal Chicken to Chicken Cottage.

At lunchtime, they draw in hordes of hungry schoolchildren in uniforms, eager to buy a cheap, tasty meal for as little as £1.50.

And in evenings, they attract local families, groups of pals and - later on - drunk revellers up and down the country.

But in recent years, there has been a string of stabbings and shootings at chicken shops, including the murder of a 15-year-old boy who was knifed in the heart outside a south east London takeaway.

We also reported this week how criminal "chicken shop gangs" are keeping watch on school-age children who meet in fast food outlets during the daytime - and recruiting them, often for drug dealing, with the offer of free food.

Playing the role model they don't have

And Matthew knows all too well how easily young kids can be exploited.

After being lured into selling drugs himself aged 13, he rose to become one of the North West's most terrifying gangsters, and could groom adoring kids into his gang in just TWO weeks.

"The kids in the area know who I am, they'd seen me with guns," the 36-year-old who served three prison sentences, says.

"You talk to them a few times, you send them to the shop with £20 for a £6 order and let them keep the £14."

He adds: "The good groomers don't bully kids or threaten them. "They treat them like a brother or a son."

'Disadvantaged kids can get a meal for £1.50'


But reformed criminal Matthew - who is now appalled at his past and works to help other children avoid or leave gang life behind - believes the new #knifefree campaign is a step in the right direction.

"A lot of kids chill outside corner shops and at chicken shops," he says.

"The food is cheap - £1.50 or £2 for chicken and chips. The kids can get a meal."

And wherever children are, Matthew says, drug dealers and gangs will follow.

"[A chicken shop is] where you can buy drugs," he adds.

"You can get anything you want, anything is readily available.

"You can get an ounce of weed and stand outside and sell... it's all about money."

###'Crime's going to happen anywhere lots of kids are'

There is a history of violence at chicken shops - and experts have suggested that children are more likely to be stabbed in the period immediately after school, when many are heading home.

"Crime's going to happen anywhere there's a high proportion of young kids," Matthew says.

Just this month, 18-year-old Nyron Jean-Baptiste was jailed for a minimum of 19 years after knifing to death Jay Hughes, 15  outside a chicken shop in Bellingham, south east London, last November.

Teen drill rapper Jean-Baptiste was said to have been "embedded in knife gang culture" when he launched the "ruthless" late afternoon attack with two other masked males, who remain on the run.

Jay, who had been waiting for a pal, staggered into the chicken shop after being stabbed, where customers desperately tried to save his life. He was then raced to hospital, but sadly later died.

Addressing her son's killer in an emotional statement, Jay's heartbroken mum Cindy said: "You need to realise that you have changed our lives forever and that we are the ones left serving a life sentence."

Stabbed and whipped in a chicken takeaway

Nearly two years before the stabbing, a teenager had been filmed being repeatedly stabbed and whipped with a belt in an attack by a group of masked thugs at Dallas Chicken takeaway in Brixton.

And in 2016, a 17-year-old had to be airlifted to hospital after suffering stab wounds from a "frenzied attack"at the Tennessee Chicken Shop in Oval.

It comes as London's knife epidemic has reached unprecedented levels, with more than 80 deaths in the capital alone since the start of 2019.

Natasha Chopra, of The Children's Society, says cuts to youth services across the UK have led to more children spending time in places where they could be targeted, like chicken shops.

"Young people tend to go to places like fast-food chains of a cheaper cost," she says.

"Young people may use certain fast-food chains as a place to socialise."

Once involved in a gang, children are stopped from leaving with threats towards their loved ones, or blackmailed with videos of them performing sex acts or inserting drugs into their bodies, she adds.

Chicken and chips used as 'grooming' food

Grieving mum Keisha McLeod - whose 14-year-old son, Corey Junior Davis, was shot dead in a suspected gang attack in Newham in 2017 -  has also described how chicken and chips can be used to groom kids.

"There are people coming in after school ends and preying on them," Keisha previously told The Times.

"It can go from something as small as 'let me buy you chicken and chips' and once that person has bought you chicken and chips 10 times then you are going to owe them and they drag you into that society when you don't come from that. It's calculated."

But while kids used to gather at parks, Matthew says today's youngsters are increasingly hanging out at chicken shops on main roads, where large crowds mean gangs and drug deals can go unnoticed

These takeaways are more prevalent in poverty-stricken and inner-city areas.

In east London, for example, the busy Mile End Road is packed with chicken shops, with schoolchildren seen munching on pieces of battered chicken as they wander home each day.

The area has even been nicknamed "the chicken shop mile".

And last year, Public Health England (PHE) figures revealed that England's poorest areas are "fast food hotspots" - with five times more fast food outlets than in more affluent areas.

'Police need to put fear aside and talk to kids'

Matthew admits more needs to be done than just the chicken boxes initiative - he wants the Government to buy football goalposts and turn derelict buildings into youth clubs, instead of splashing cash on "statues and monuments".

"[Then kids] can actually go play with their mates instead of hanging outside a chicken shop," he says.

He also claims cops need to go back to "old school policing".

"Police now just stop and search, rough them up and intimidate them," he says.

"If you're going to do your job you need to put your fear aside and talk to the kids."

During his time as a well-known criminal, Matthew admits his gang would carry out broad daylight shootings and threaten rivals' mums - although they would "only hurt gang members".

###Grooming tactics and 'county lines drug running

During his gang days, Matthew used to groom children hanging out at parks, rather than chicken shops.

He'd be friendly to them and tempt them with expensive items and cash until they felt like they were family. In many cases, the youngsters would end up being sent miles away from home to run drugs for him.

"They'd probably make a grand [a day] and I was making the same," says the former gang boss, who has four children - including a five-year-old "princess".

It is thought around 4,000 kids from London alone are caught up in the so-called "county lines" trade, with dealers using them to package and deliver illegal drugs to strangers' doorsteps.

A horrifying phone call and a transformation

It was in 2011, while in prison, that the gangster realised he needed to change. At the time, he was serving his third drug-related sentence, having been previously locked up in 1999 and 2001.

And in a phone call with his mum, he received the devastating news his brother Gary Mullings had been stabbed to death. "They took me to the chapel of rest - seeing his body, that destroyed me," he says.

Broken by his brother's death, Matthew decided to "give his life to God".

Today, he works tirelessly to help children across Britain avoid gang life and is the CEO of 1 Message, an organisation that offers youth mentoring and crime prevention workshops.

And when he sees local kids kicking a football around outside on a sunny day, he buys them icepops - not to recruit them into a gang, but because he wants to protect their futures.

"They ask me, 'why am I doing it'? Because I care about you," he says.

"You're not in the shops with the bad boys, you're here playing football."

But until more is done, Matthew believes children will continue to be at risk of gang recruitment and violent attacks at chicken shops - causing suffering to them, their families and innocent shoppers.

"People going into shops nearby have to watch a kid being stabbed," he says.

"[But] because it's the place to be, kids will go there."

What the Home Office says

The Home Office has sent out thousands of takeaway boxes to more than 200 chicken shops printed with messages that warn against carrying knives.

Teams are also being dispatched to shops, hair salons, places of worship and community centres around London, Manchester and Birmingham to spread the word of the campaign.

A Home Office spokesman told the Press Association: "We are determined to make our streets safer which is why we are recruiting 20,000 new police officers to protect our communities, and have made it easier for them to use stop and search powers.

"Our Serious Violence Strategy also focuses on steering young people away from knife crime. Our #knifefree campaign challenges the myth that carrying a knife makes you safer and we are investing over £220 million in early intervention projects."

------------------------
(7th September 2019)


NO BOUNDARIES ANY MORE : SHARP RISE IN SERIOUS KNIFE CRIME OFFENCES IN SURREY
(Surrey Live, dated 10th August 2019 author Jenny Seymour)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/no-boundaries-any-more-sharp-16735080

The number of serious knife crime offences has risen more than three times faster in Surrey than anywhere else in England or Wales.

Latest figures reveal that offences such as robbery, assault and murder which involved a blade went up by a staggering 614% over the past eight years. By comparison, the increase in London was 12% over the same period.

Crime has historically been low in Surrey and it remains a relatively safe place, but the rapid rise in the number of criminals using knives makes alarming reading.

In 2010-11, there were 65 serious offences - covering crimes including murder, attempted murder, threats to kill, robbery, sexual assault and assault causing injury or intention to cause serious harm - in Surrey.

That number fell to 34 the following year and in 2012-13 the total was tiny, with just 27 crimes across the county. However, it has risen every year since, and in 2018-19 stood at 464 - a 17-fold increase over six years.

 Among the growing number of victims is a 26-year-old man who was stabbed in Horley last year. Although fully recovered, he says the rise in knife crime is one reason he plans to leave the country. He didn't want to be identified.

"When you think about all the potential confrontations, if people are carrying knives all it takes is one wrong word," he said.

"I just think there aren't boundaries any more. When I was 15 or 16, if there was trouble people would have a fight - that's not a great solution, but people wouldn't be murdered, or scarred for life. It has become a culture.

"You hear rumours, hear of people carrying knives and hear of people being arrested, but nothing is said [officially]."

He feels the authorities need to do more to acknowledge the scale of the problem, and address it.

"They paint this picture of idyllic Surrey but that doesn't recognise that with county lines - I'm sure that's part of it - knife crime has extended out into Surrey. We are talking about little towns and villages; this is Horley. It's a bigger issue than anyone realises."

The savage killing of Lee Pomeroy by Darren Pencille on a train as it travelled through rural Surrey in January shocked the nation. It was one of two murders and eight attempted murders carried out using a knife or sharp instrument in Surrey last year.

There were also 65 threats to kill, 226 attacks that left people injured or were carried out with the intention to cause serious harm, 153 robberies and 10 rapes or sex attacks.

The rate of increase did, however, slow last year, representing a 6% rise on 2017-18. The total is also still far lower than any other police force area in the South East.

Detective Superintendent Pete Fulton, who takes the lead on tackling knife crime for Surrey Police, said the increase may be partly down to a change in recording methods.

"We have however, had an increase of 20 more offences in the serious knife crime categories in 2018/19 compared to the previous year," he added. "It is essential we keep on top of this issue - knife crime destroys lives and tackling serious violence in our communities remains a priority.

'There is no place for this in our communities'


"As a force, we have been working closely with local schools and partner agencies to educate and raise awareness, particularly amongst young people, that carrying a blade can have fatal consequences.

"As well as crime prevention, we have been tackling knife crime through proactive operations - in particular targeting 'county lines' gangs who often use vulnerable people to assist them in drug-dealing and pull them into a world of violence to the point where they carry a weapon to feel 'safe'.

"There is no place for this in our communities and we will continue working to disrupt this threat and keep Surrey a safe place to live and work."

(7th September 2019)


SHOCKING MOMENT ROSS KEMP TRIES TO HAND DEADLY KNIVES OVER TO POLICE BUT STATIONS WON'T ACCEPT
(Metro, dated 8th August 2019 author Nola Ojomu)

Full article [Option 1]:

https://metro.co.uk/2019/08/08/shocking-moment-ross-kemp-tries-hand-deadly-knives-police-stations-wont-accept-10542355/

Viewers were left horrified as Ross Kemp had to visit three different police stations in one night in a desperate attempt to get dangerous knives off the streets.

The former EastEnders star highlighted the complex mix of issues which have led to the nation's knife crime epidemic in his hard-hitting documentary, Living With Knife Crime, which aired on ITV.

And viewers were left aghast as the former hardman and a volunteer were forced to bounce around police stations while attempting to get two large knives off the streets and into police custody.

Ross revealed that one of the stations had already closed for the night because it was, in fact, run by volunteers, while there was a two hour wait to be seen at the other.

As the pair made their way to a third station, they were told by the Public Access Officer at the desk that it wouldn't be possible to leave their knives to that station as there wasn't any officers on duty to take possession of the blades.

He then suggested the duo should travel out to another station miles away, to which Ross argued that it would surely be safer to leave the knives in a police station as opposed to driving around with them.

Thankfully, the officer eventually took the huge knives from the men. But viewers watching at home were furious about the interaction.

'OMG, Ross Kemp on knife crime, horrific service from London police - when police station UNABLE to accept surrendered knives and send surrenderer to a station MILES AWAY because station is manned by VOLUNTEERS, it's time to take a close look at themselves! [sic]' one viewer tweeted.

'Doesn't it beggar belief that having collected seriously dangerous knives off the street - police stations are not able to receive them - the knife amnesty bins are closed and so was one police station - no wonder there are all these instances of knife crime [sic],' another wrote.

Being turned away from a Police Station handing in two knifes! Madness, wake up!' a horrified viewer stated.

'Pathetic! That boy is actively removing knives from the streets and the POLICE station were 'not sure' if they could take it off him!!!' another commented.

'A Police station ran by volunteers?! Jesus Christ that's a shambles,' one tweeted.

'Probably only agreed to take them, because the cameras and Ross were there,' one viewers argued.
'Police station in disarray. One closed staffed by volunteers. Knife amnesty box taped shut. Clearly police cuts having an effect. Govt need to wake up,' another added.

'Can't even hand in knives to a police station ? They won't take them, what the hell is going on in London ? Disgrace!' one wrote.

Chief Superintendent Sara Leach from North West Area told Metro: 'Bearing down on violent crime continues to be a top priority for the Met. We are looking to effectively utilise the increased funding from both central Government and the £15million from the Mayor's Office, to reduce violent crime.

'Anyone who wants to hand in a knife is encouraged to use one of the current Words 4 Weapons knife bins across London located public places. To help provide anonymity for those who wish to hand in a knife or weapon, these bins are managed and emptied regularly by the charity Words 4 Weapons.'

She added: 'Members of the public can also hand in weapons to their nearest police station, on each borough there is always at least one police station open 24hrs a day.'

(7th September 2019)


SHARP RISE IN WOMEN CAUGHT CARRYING KNIVES
(BBC News, dated 8th August 2019 author Sarah Corker)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-49264665

Knife possession offences involving women in England have increased steeply since 2014 - rising by at least 10% every year, police figures show.

Some 1,509 offences were recorded in 2018 - an increase of 73% over the last five years - data obtained following freedom of information requests shows.

Youth workers say some women carry weapons for gangs as they are less likely to be stopped by police.

The Home Office said it funds schemes to help gang-affected women and girls.

Figures for England show that between 2014 and 2018 there were more than 5,800 recorded knife possession crimes involving women.

The BBC contacted the four police forces in Wales but the figures are incomplete. Police Scotland and Police Northern Ireland figures were unavailable.

It comes against a backdrop of rising knife crime nationally and after the number of fatal stabbings in England and Wales was last year the highest number since records began.

Data from 38 forces out of 39 in England shows almost a quarter of recorded offences involved girls under the age of 18 - with the youngest aged seven.

While London's Metropolitan Police saw the highest number of possession cases involving women, parts of northern England have seen female knife possession crimes increase at a faster rate.

London's Metropolitan Police recorded a 52% increase over five years, with a total of 916 recorded offences from 2014 to 2018.

During the same time, Merseyside Police saw a 54% rise, to 499 offences, while the number of offences in Greater Manchester doubled, with 95 recorded offences last year.

In South Yorkshire there was an 82% rise over five years - with 248 offences involving women.

Offences by force (2014-2018) - Source: Freedom of Information request

Metropolitan Police : 916
Merseyside : 499
Greater
Manchester : 323
Thames Valley : 310
Essex : 299
South Yorkshire    : 248
West Midlands : 221
Devon and Cornwall : 210
Kent : 180
Hampshire : 172

Theresa John regularly carried a knife for 12 years. She said it "became part of my identity" on the streets in Essex.

"I used to name my knives. When I was 16 I had one that was like a flick Stanley blade and I used to call it Uncle Stan.

"If anyone asked me 'have you got Unc on you', I'd be like 'yeah'. That was my pet until I was 21."

After a chaotic and difficult childhood, Theresa's life spiralled out of control. In her early 20s she became addicted to heroin and crack cocaine and worked as a prostitute to fund her addiction.

I'd either have a knife or a pair of scissors because when I was out working on the streets. There would be different guys who would force you to do stuff.

"I stayed in this lifestyle of crime and madness and just brokenness. I was in a very abusive relationship to the point that my kids were taken into care and at that point I just lost all hope.

"I started taking heroin, I was out on the streets working in prostitution. I used to get in a lot of fights - there was a lot of violence."

One night, the scissors were used as a weapon on her and a man stabbed her in the back of the head.

And in 2012, Theresa stabbed her next door neighbour and was sentenced to 10 months in prison for actual bodily harm and possession of a knife.

Now 35 years old, she says: "It was like this mist came over me and I charged at her with the knife, and just stabbed her straight in the top of her head."

Jennifer Blake is a former gang leader from Peckham, in south London, who now works as a community support worker and independent gangs consultant.

"For some women it's a normal thing to have in your bag, like lipstick," she says.

"We have got girls that stab, but it's just like the elephant in the room. No-one wants to talk about it because no one knows how to deal with it.

"Everywhere you go you have problems with girls and their identity, their self-worth and those are the vulnerable ones that boys end up picking up."

She says some girls and women from broken homes see street gangs as their family and will do anything to fit it.

"Knife, guns, drugs - they are the couriers for it. They're not going to get stopped by police, and the men know that."

'A small proportion'

The Home Office said it was investing £220m into steering both young men and young women away from violent crime.

For female offenders specifically, it supports and funds young people's advocates who work with gang-affected young women and girls in London, Manchester and the West Midlands.

A spokesman added: "We recently announced plans to recruit 20,000 more police officers and empower them to use fair and intelligence-led stop and search, to prevent more young people falling victim to knife crime."

Earlier this year South Yorkshire Police was one of seven forces to receive extra Home Office funding to tackle violent crime.

The force's assistant chief constable, Tim Forber, said while knife crime is still predominately a male problem, it is increasingly about "vulnerability" rather than gender.

"It's a very small proportion [of women] but it's a worrying proportion - we don't want to see any young people, any women carrying knives in society.

"I don't think it's any more nuanced, than it is for men, it's about vulnerable young people getting drawn into the fringes of organised crime."

(7th September 2019)


FEMALE KNIFE POSSESSION CRIMES IN ENGLAND RISE BY 73%
(Guardian, dated 8th August 2019 author Jamie Grierson)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/08/female-knife-possession-crimes-in-england-rise-by-73

Police have recorded a surge in knife possession offences involving women and girls in England, as calls grow for a rethink on tackling the knife problem.

There were 1,509 offences recorded in 2018, a 73% increase from 2014, according to data obtained by the BBC through freedom of information requests.

The figures for England show there were more than 5,800 recorded knife possession crimes involving women and girls between 2014 and 2018.

On Wednesday six young people who have experienced the effects of violent crime delivered a letter to Downing Street signed by more than 100 other young people.

The letter contained a 12-point manifesto including calls to tackle what the group believe are some of the underlying causes of violent crime, such as a lack of housing, youth services and jobs. They also called for more community police officers to build relationships in neighbourhoods.

Police recorded more than 43,000 incidents involving knives or sharp objects in the year to March, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics in July.

The then home secretary, Sajid Javid, introduced a public health duty covering police, local councils, local health bodies such as NHS trusts, education representatives and youth offending services. His successor, Priti Patel, has pledged to make criminals "literally feel terror".

The Home Office said it was investing more than £220m in projects that "steer young people away from crime".

The Metropolitan police in London recorded a 52% increase in female knife offences over five years, with a total of 916 between 2014 and 2018.

In the same period, Merseyside police experienced a 54% rise, totalling 499 offences, while offences in Greater Manchester doubled, with 95 recorded last year.

South Yorkshire recorded an 82% rise over five years, with 248 offences involving women or girls.

Knife crime-related offences rose by 8% in England and Wales in the last year, according to government figures, and the annual number of fatal stabbings has reached its highest on record.

Charities say many young women are being exploited by gangs involved in the drug trade, and have criticised cuts to support services.

St Giles Trust, a charity that works to break cycles of reoffending, said the reasons behind the reported rise were complex, and it called for greater support services for women and girls. It said these services should be provided by people with first-hand experience of the issues such women were facing.

"There are a number of interrelated factors at play," a spokesperson said. "These include cuts to vital support services, domestic abuse, the role of the drugs trade and the exploitation of vulnerable people that goes with it, school exclusions and the need for many young people - young women in particular - to feel a sense of belonging.

"Although the proportion of young women involved is small, the rise is worrying and tells us that support needs to be put in place to help identify vulnerable young women who are at risk and give them the help they need to access positive opportunities, build their self-esteem, recognise healthy relationships and build their resilience."

The government has strengthened police powers and officers no longer need to have reasonable suspicion to search people for weapons.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "We are investing £220m into steering young men and women away from violent crime, and continue to support and fund young people's advocates working with gang-affected young women and girls in London, Manchester and the West Midlands.

"We recently announced plans to recruit 20,000 more police officers and empower them to use fair and intelligence-led stop and search, to prevent more young people falling victim to knife crime."

(7th September 2019)


"THERE'S NOT ENOUGH POLICE" : EAST LONDON VOLUNTEERSS TAKE ON KNIFE CRIME
(Guardian, dated 2nd August 2019 author Amy Walker)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/02/east-london-volunteers-set-up-knife-amnesty-bin

A DIY knife amnesty bin has been set up by residents in east London in response to rising violence.

Since it launched in May, volunteers from Binning Knives Saves Lives have collected 140 knives in Waltham Forest.

Courtney Barrett, who started the initiative, said he had been motivated by rising levels of knife crime close to his home in Leytonstone.

"When people ask me if I've been personally affected, I feel like I have," said Barrett, 45. "There's not enough police nowadays - we have to start fending for ourselves."

About 25 volunteers help to run the makeshift amnesty using a repurposed domestic wheelie bin. They also offer information to young people about nearby youth groups.

Since 4 May, they have been campaigning once a week or once fortnightly, depending on funding levels. Last week, they collected 37 knives in four hours in Leytonstone, which they say came from both the parents of those who were carrying knives and the carriers themselves.

Barrett, who has three sons aged 20, 22 and 23 and a 13-year-old daughter, said he felt it was important to talk to children "about what to be aware of in this day and age". He said he felt there was a need for community-led amnesties, despite the Metropolitan police providing their own bins.

"I'm from the streets, I'm genuine, I don't get paid and I don't tell people what to do, I give them the information and then give them the choice to do what they want to do," said Barrett.

"When it comes to youths, they can see that I genuinely care about them - especially the ones that turn their nose up and walk off. I run after them and tell them: 'Listen, I'm not paid to be here, I'm here because I care about you.'"

Earlier this year, it was reported that the number of knife amnesty bins, credited with taking 50,000 weapons off the streets of London, had halved in the past seven years.

In 2012, there were 36 Word 4 Weapons bin locations where knives and guns could be dropped off, which had dropped to 18.

(3rd August 2019)


THE 52 LONDON KNIFE CRIME CRIMINALS WHO HAVE BEEN LOCKED UP THIS YEAR
(My London, dated 1st August 2019 author Angie Quinn)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/52-london-knife-crime-criminals-16669950

Knife crime is a serious issue in London.

And whilst some people think they can get away with it these criminals have been jailed for knife related crimes.

Most of these despicable criminals stabbed someone to death or seriously injured them.

Another used a knife as a weapon to rape a woman in Beckenham.

The hard work of the police and CPS across London have ensured justice for the victims.

So here are 51 London knife crime criminals who have been locked up in East, South, North, West London between January and July this year.

EAST LONDON


Remorseless thugs stabbed victim 18 times in street attack


Iki Mohammed Ali, Syed Fahad and Jonathan Mulangala carried out the violent murder of Abdulrahman Nassor Juma on May 17 last year.

On Monday, July 22 they were each handed life sentences for the murder of 23-year-old Abdulrahman, known to his friends as Mani.

His killers cruised up to Mani in a white BMW just before 11.30pm that night. Their victim has been "minding his own business" outside a block of flats not far from his home, still in his flip flops.

Mani was knifed 18 times in Crows Road, close to Harts Lane in Barking. He was pronounced dead at the scene and the pathologist noted that the wounds indicated that more than one knife was used during the attack.

Ali, of Maud Gardens, Barking, and Fahad, of Salisbury Avenue, Barking, were handed life sentences for Mani's murder following a hearing at the Old Bailey. They will serve a minimum of 23 years in prison.

Mulangala, of Stonebridge Road, Tottenham, was also jailed for Abdulrahman's murder. , and also sentenced for the attempted murder of another man in a separate incident on April 7 last year and possession of an offensive weapon.

Mulangala will serve 32 years for Abdulrahman's murder, as well as 18 years for attempted murder and eight months for possession of an offensive weapon, to be served concurrently.

Five teens jailed over brutal Canning Town killing


A group of five teenagers were jailed for a collective 83 years for the killing of 17-year-old Lord Promise Nkenda in Canning Town on February 14, 2018.

The group used a car stolen from a woman earlier that evening to batter their victim, who managed to scramble away and run down Butchers Road.

However, four of the five teenagers chased him on foot and stabbed him repeatedly in the head, back and chest, while wearing latex gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints.

Promise was pronounced dead at the scene at around 8.30pm.

The Romford man who put victim in a coma

 Romford man Scott Slade used a kitchen knife to stab a vulnerable 58-year-old man "known to him" multiple times, leaving him bleeding heavily.

The victim, who was already battling a lung condition, was stabbed in the chest, arm and back, piercing multiple internal organs.

The attack saw him placed in an induced coma for several days and left him in critical care for two weeks.

Slade, also of Yew Gardens, admitted grievous bodily harm with intent and was sentenced to 16 years in jail.

The man who stabbed the 'wrong guy' in the heart

 Bruno Pateco-Te was found guilty of the murder of Kaan Aslan and one count of violent disorder and was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 27 years, at the Old Bailey on Thursday, April 4.

Police established that the 24-year-old was seeking retribution for a previous assault on a family member.

He travelled to Hackney in a white van looking for someone to attack.

Pateco-Te picked out Kaan - who was not associated with any gangs, and who was not involved in the assault - before stabbing him through the heart in the street.

The brothers locked up for a harrowing attack

A man has been jailed for attempted murder after a racist attack in which he stabbed a man five times in the back, thigh and chest.

The victim had to crawl on to the A12 to get help from passing motorists after he was knifed five times by two brothers just after 2.30am on June 20, 2018.

The brothers from East London, Ronnie and Robert Hansen had met their victim hours earlier on June 19 in Follet Street, Poplar in Tower Hamlets.

Ronnie was found guilty of attempted murder following a trial at Woolwich Crown Court.

He was jailed on April 5 for 16 years.

His brother Robert, of Chilcott Close, Tower Hamlets, was found guilty of grievous bodily harm during the same trial and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The trio who tried to murder a man in broad daylight


A group of thugs who attacked and stabbed a man in the middle of a busy street in East London committed the vile crime because of a feud.

Alomgir Shahriyar, 23, Mohammed Habib Ali, 23 and Shakeel Chowdhury, 22, were all found guilty of attempted murder following a trial at the Old Bailey on April 10.

Sallah Ali, 19, was found guilty of GBH for his part in the attack which took place in broad daylight.

Shortly after 12pm on June 1 last year, Sallah Ali was stopped by police in Tower Hamlets and subjected to a drugs search.

During the stop, he challenged the officers and immediately claimed he had been set up by the soon-to-be 22-year-old victim.

A short while later, Ali phoned Shahriyar and Habib Ali and a train of events was set in motion that would end later that day in the attack on the victim.

Later that afternoon, at around 5.30pm, the victim received call from Sallah Ali who accused him of being a snitch.

He asked to meet the victim and they met in Cable Street just before 6pm.

Shahriyar, Chowdhury and Habib Ali then appeared and immediately the victim felt threatened by the groups' behaviour.

In a matter of seconds, the situation escalated with Shahriyar, Chowdhury and Habib Ali attacking the victim - the court heard how this was down to a feud between the thugs and their victim.

The victim sustained multiple stab wounds and collapsed in the street.

A witness who knew him called his brother to alert him to what had happened; emergency services were also called to the scene.

The suspects fled in a mini-cab but later engaged in phone conversations with the victim's family, with Habib Ali admitting to stabbing the victim and others threatening them not to speak to police.

The Metropolitan Police launched an investigation and all four suspects were arrested and subsequently charged.

Shahriyar, of Compton Avenue, East Ham, Habib Ali, of Shadwell Gardens, Whitechapel, and Chowdhury, of Jeremiah Road, Poplar, were found guilty of attempted murder.

Sallah Ali, of Bigland Street, Shadwell, was found guilty of GBH for his part in the attack.

The criminal who attacked and stabbed a Job Centre employee

Erion Hoxha plead guilty to grievous bodily harm (GBH), criminal damage, knife possession, and assault as has been jailed for eight years with an extra four years on licence.

Last April he entered the Job Centre on Freemasons Road in Canning Town brandishing a 20cm blade knife .

Hoxha, 35 from Glenister Street, then started shouting threats before lunging forwards at one female employee.

He did hurt her, although her injuries did not end up being serious.

Hoxha refused to disarm and surrender at the scene, so a taser was used on him and then he was detained by police officers.

Man who stabbed young wife more than 50 times over £200

A man who stabbed his young wife 58 times after she confronted him for gambling away her money was jailed for life with a minimum of 19 years for her murder on July 18.

Jalal Uddin, 47, of City Island Way in Canning Town , was found unanimously guilty of murdering 31-year-old Asma Begum by a jury on Wednesday (July 17).

Uddin handed himself into Croydon police station at around 1am the day after Asma's death. In his trial, which began at the Old Bailey on 1 July, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denied murder.

Two young men who fatally stabbed teenager in Barking

Two young men were both sentenced to life imprisonment on July 17 after fatally stabbing 19-year-old Hasan Ozcan, from Barking, in February 2018.

Kareem Lashley-Weekes, 21, of no fixed address was sentenced to life with a minimum of 24 years, while a 16-year-old boy from Dagenham was sentenced to life with a minimum of 19 years. Kamaal Modest, 22, of Fairfield Close, Merton, was sentenced to 25 months in prison for violent disorder.

Police were called at 10.11pm on February 3 by a member of the public, who reported that a man had been stabbed on a fenced sports court on Lindsell Road by boys on bicycles.

Despite multiple injuries, Hasan was still alive when officers arrived at the scene and attempted first aid before the arrival of the London Ambulance Service. However, paramedics were unable to save him and he was pronounced dead just before 11pm.

Hasan was stabbed a total of seven times and had wounds to his chest, abdomen, left arm and both thighs, one of which killed him by severing a number of arteries.

Detectives established that the motive for the crime was a revenge attack after one of the defendants' friends was stabbed at about 7.30pm that day, although his injuries were not life-threatening or life-changing.

SOUTH LONDON


Deplorable gang held baby at knifepoint

Four members of a gang were arrested making their getaway after a burglary in which they held a knife to a baby's throat .

The sickening gang consisted of Croydon cousins Malik Ragnatt, 22, and Joshua Juggan, 25, as well as Gregory Crockett, 24 and Daniel McKain, 29. They raided a home in Coventry and demanded cash.

One of them held a Stanley knife to a ten-month-old baby's throat and ordered the family to give them the code to open a safe while tying a 71-year-old grandmother to a chair.

He chillingly told them: "If you don't tell me [how to open the safe] I will cut his neck, I'll kill your baby."

The masked gang eventually left with the entire safe and its contents, which included about £8,000 worth of jewellery and £4,000 in cash.

Juggan, a builder, and Ragnatt, a cleaner from Bensham Lane, in Thornton Heath , Croydon were stopped by police on their way back to London from burgling the family home in Cheswick Close, Coventry, at about 10.30am on June 18, 2018.

The court heard the pensioner, her 35-year-old daughter-in-law, 10-month-old grandson and three-year-old granddaughter were all inside the property at the time.

The thugs also bound the mum-of-two with her son on her lap and told the young girl to stand in a corner of the room.

Crockett and McKain refused to answer questions in police interview but also later admitted robbery. All four men denied being responsible for threatening the baby.

Crockett, of Handsworth, Birmingham, who also admitted charges of handling stolen cars, was jailed for a total of 12 years on July 12.

McKain, from Clarewood Walk, was sentenced to 11 years in prison, while Juggan, of Alvey Street and Ragnatt, were both locked up for 10 years.

Croydon zombie knife attacker

The teenager who was caught on camera attacking a car with terrifying zombie knife in Croydon was jailed after his controversial sentence was overturned.

Joshua Gardner, 18, of London Road in Thornton Heath, was spared jail last November but is now behind bars.

Gardener appeared at London's Court of Appeal on January 30, where three judges reviewed and overturned his initial sentence and jailed him for three and a half years in a young offenders institute.

Masked Croydon teenager threatened young boys with knife on a train

yron Franka, 18, was filmed on CCTV pulling on a mask bearing the picture of a skull and then robbing two passengers at knifepoint while on a Southern train .

He told them "you're getting ganked" then showed the victims, two young boys, a knife and told them to hand over their possessions on November 4 last year.

With the train going through Croydon, Franka can be seen to pull a knife out from his pocket before threatening the two boys.

Franka, of Gomshall Gardens in Kenley, was jailed for five years at Croydon Crown Court on Monday, January 21.

Barber who stabbed Crystal Palace fan with razor in South London pub


A barber who stabbed a Crystal Palace fan with a razor in a South London pub is now behind bars.

Sami Mercan was found guilty of grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent at Croydon Crown Court in February following a three-day trial.

The 20-year-old, of no fixed address, stabbed Steven Barnes at The Crooked Billet , in Penge High Street, in August last year.

Although Mercan admitted stabbing Mr Barnes during the trial, he denied intending to cause serious harm.

The jury of nine men and three women found the thug guilty and he was sentenced to five years in a youth offenders' institution on February 13.

Tooting man's body found in a pool of his own blood five days after killing

Christopher McMahon was jailed for manslaughter following the death of a man in a Tooting flat .

The 48-year-old, of no fixed abode, was found guilty on February 21 in relation to the death of 50-year-old David Potter in Tooting.

He was jailed for 10 years at the same court the following day.

The court heard how David lived in a studio flat above a shop on Tooting High Street and often socialised with other drinkers in the local area.

On March 26, 2018, one of his friends called police with concerns for David's welfare as he had not seen him for several days. He had been round to his flat but David was not answering and he also noticed mail building up outside the address.

Officers forced entry to the flat and found David's body on the floor in a pool of blood. An initial assessment established he had been dead for some time. A post-mortem examination concluded he had suffered slash wounds to the neck, one of which had severed an artery.

McMahon was seen on CCTV entering David's flat moments before he was killed.

Knifepoint robber stole elderly couple's car - twice

A callous robber targeted a vulnerable elderly couple twice to steal their car and the replacement car only days after they had bought it.

Rhys Modeste, 21, knocked at the couple's home in Lambeth pretending to work for a gas company.

Once the door opened, he forced his way in and held the couple, both in their 80s, at knifepoint.

Modeste, from Peabody Hill in Tulse Hill, stole the keys for their Audi parked out front and made off on November 9, 2018.

Again armed with a knife he broke into their home exactly a month later to steal the new car the couple had bought to replace the car he had previously stolen.

Modeste also stole a car from a woman at knifepoint in Chesnut Road, in West Norwood , on August 28.

Modeste pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery as well as a charge of handling stolen goods and making off without payment at Inner London Crown Court. He was jailed for 16 years on April 3.

Vile Beckenham rapist jailed

A man has been jailed after pleading guilty to raping a woman at knifepoint while she walked home after watching a film at the cinema.

On January 11 at Snaresbrook Crown Court, Peter Hall, 58, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to the rape and he was sentenced at the same court on April 12.

Hall carried out the attack 30 years ago in Beckenham on October 12, 1986. A 19-year-old woman was walking along Worsley Bridge Road, Lower Sydenham after a night out at the cinema when Hall grabbed her from behind.

He held a knife to her throat and forced her to walk to a secluded area before raping her. After the attack, Hall left the scene and the woman ran home to raise the alarm.

An investigation was launched by police but, despite extensive enquiries, no suspect could be identified. However, clothing which contained DNA samples were recovered from the scene and stored - which police used to convict Hall this year.

The thug who stabbed a teenager for 'looking at him'

A thug who repeatedly stabbed a teenager "for looking at him" in a brutal attack in an Eltham park in front of witnesses has been given an extended prison sentence.

Jordan Duignan, 19, walked through Briset Park when he spotted his victim and went on the manic attack.

The 17-year-old victim was with three friends when he looked at Duignan as he wondered who he was. Duignan confronted him for doing this, punching him in the face and then pulling a knife out before stabbing him.

Friends tried to intervene as the boy ran off but Duignan chased him and carried out a vicious attack by stabbing him multiple times around the body.

The victim was taken to King's College Hospital shortly after 10pm on November 15, 2018, and he was treated for his injuries.

Duignan, of Philippa Gardens in Eltham, handed himself in at Lewisham Police Station four days later.

He pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH) and possessing a knife in a public place.

His original sentence increased to 12 years and nine months at a hearing on April 12.

Thug stabs schoolboy in Brixton

A man who stabbed a schoolboy said to have a promising career in football in Brixton over a "dirty look" has now been jailed.

19-year-old Roland Gegbe, 19, of Amesbury Avenue in Streatham Hill, was with another man when he confronted the 16-year-old schoolboy as he walked home on June 8 last year.

The three men, who had never met before, got into an argument over a perceived "dirty look" where the suspects threatened the victim, at which point he turned and left.

However, moments later another fight began and, in front of horrified members of the public, Gegbe pulled out a knife and stabbed the victim three times before fleeing the scene.

Members of the public rushed to help the victim and both the London Ambulance Service and the Air Ambulance attended.

He was taken to hospital for treatment, where it was found the stab wounds had penetrated his lung and liver, causing serious damage.

Sadly, despite making a full recovery, the victim was unable to attend a professional football scholarship he had been accepted onto later that year.

Gegbe was arrested at his home address, where two knives were recovered, one with the victim's blood on it.

A backpack was also seized from the scene of the crime. Inside police found an air pistol and items identifying Gegbe as the owner of the bag.

Gegbe was jailed for four years.

Thugs jailed for killing dad Ian Tomlin

Two thugs who brutally murdered a former boxer who asked them to stop dealing drugs outside his flat have been jailed for a minimum of 40 years.

Gary Beech, 48, and Michael Swan, 46, repeatedly battered and knifed father-of-two Ian Tomlin, 46, after he confronted them in a tower block lift lobby.

The victim's 82-year-old mother Monica Tomlin saw him dying in a pool of his own blood after he suffered fatal head injuries and stab wounds to his neck in Battersea .

Beech was the victim's neighbour and childhood friend and sold crack cocaine to addict Swan from his flat which was across the corridor.

Both were given life sentences at the Old Bailey.

Beech was jailed for a minimum of 21 years and Swan 19 years.

WEST LONDON

Random unprovoked stabbing

Corrie Russell, 24, was sentenced to 13 years in jail on January 23 after stabbing a young man in Southall in a completely random and unprovoked attack.

Russell chased his victim along Merrick Road in broad daylight wielding a knife, before stabbing him in his upper body and both legs, leaving him unable to walk without help and in hospital for two months.

Using CCTV footage, which showed Russell leaving nearby Southall railway station moments before pursuing his victim, and DNA evidence taken from a metal railing he was seen to jump over, police were quickly able to identify the attacker.

However, despite extensive searches, the knife used in the vicious stabbing was never found.

After a trial, Russell was found guilty of wounding with intent to commit grievous bodily harm. He also received a three-year sentence for carrying an offensive weapon, which he will serve at the same time as his other sentence.

Teenagers who murdered rival outside birthday party

Four teenagers found guilty in connection with a Kensington street brawl which left a teenage rapper dead were named and jailed last month.

Lewis Blackman died in February 2017 after a fight at a 16th birthday party, where the birthday girl had rented out an Earls Court Road property and drawn up a guest list of around 50 people.

The event details were posted on social media and the 19-year-old victim - known to his friends as 'Dotty' - suffered fatal injuries when he tried to get into the party despite not having been invited.

Lewis was fatally stabbed after being chased down the street by a mob armed with weapons.

Due to their ages, the defendants' names were never published, but reporting restrictions were lifted on February 15 at their sentencing.

Lawrence Nkunku, 17, of Ward Lane, and Paul Glasgow, 17, of Warwick Grove, were both sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and must serve a minimum term of 18 years.

Thierry Edusei, 16, of Cannon Road, was found guilty of manslaughter and was jailed for 11 years, while Demario Williams, 17, of Bath Road in Enfield, was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and must serve a minimum term of 20 years.

A real danger to the public

A Brentford man, deemed "a very real danger to the public" after two random stabbings, was jailed for leaving his innocent victims with life-threatening injuries.

Vladimer Rutkovskis, 50, carried out two vicious attacks with no real motive in just two weeks and has now received a life sentence for each attempted murder at the Old Bailey.

Rutkovskis, of Crowther Avenue, knifed a young member of staff in the head, chest and neck five times at an Ealing recruitment agency. Two weeks later he attacked another unarmed stranger for no obvious reason at a building site in Surrey.

Rutkovskis was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He will not be eligible for parole until he was served at least 11 years and 205 days.

Two terrifying stabbings

A violent lunatic who could have easily killed two men in horrific knife attacks and was on the run from police for more than a year was jailed for 22 years on March 8.

Aaron Sinclair, 24, met his first victim, a 22-year-old man on Press Road, in Neasden , shortly after midnight on May 27, 2017 and began to argue with him, before brandishing a knife.

When the victim returned to his car, Sinclair followed him and, through the open driver's side window, stabbed him in the neck.

Months later, on September 19, a 52-year-old man turned up at a Central London hospital with a stabbing injury to his jaw - which had just missed a major artery.

He said he had been driving along Heather Road, near Neasden Recreation Ground, when Sinclair jumped out in front of his car, demanding £800 which he claimed the victim owed him before punching and stabbing him.

Smiling criminal caught with knife in Harrow

Liban Ali, 26, was jailed for eight months after a stop and search in Harrow town centre revealed he was carrying a large kitchen knife.

He denied the charge but was found guilty following a trial at Harrow Crown court.

Ali's custody shot, posted alongside the tweet by police, sparked several Twitter users to comment on his 'smiley' expression.

Man who stabbed and poured boiling water on nephew

Mubarak Zein emptied a pan of boiling water over his sleeping nephew at 3am, burning the 20-year-old's face, neck and arms in an unprovoked attack in Hayes.

The 21-year-old then stood over his nephew holding two knifes, and when the victim tried to escape he was stabbed four times in the back.

The Hayes man initially told officers he was 18-years-old when arrested, and then later 17, attempting to pass himself off as a juvenile.

Zein insisted that he was suffering from PTSD due to an event that occurred when he was five and resided in Somalia, eventually admitting that he had in fact never been to Somalia.

During trial Zein pleaded guilty to GBH with intent, accepting all the evidence put against him and was later jailed for 11 years and 11 months.

Man carrying knife in Ealing

A stop and search in High Street, West Ealing, revealed a man had been carrying a sword with a 14-inch blade tucked into his waistband.

Mukhtar Mohamed had been stopped at around 4.30pm on December 5, 2018 during the Met Police 's Operation Wolverine, which targets knife crime. Mohamed was not only carrying the huge 14-inch blade but also had five snap bags of cannabis.

The 23-year-old from Canham Road, Acton, was bailed to Ealing Magistrates' Court on New Year's Eve 2018 where he pleaded not guilty to both offences.

However, police were able to supply bodycam footage of their stop and search, convincing the court Mohamed was in fact guilty of both charges that same day. He was jailed for six months by magistrates.

Teenager who murdered Jason Isaacs

A teenager has been jailed for the brutal murder of Northolt teenager Jason Isaacs near his home while he was with friends.

On November 18, 2017, Jason and his friends were approached by a group of four people on mopeds, all masked or wearing helmets and carrying weapons.

They gave chase through Newham Gardens and Jason was eventually separated from the group, set upon in a cul-de-sac and stabbed eight times just before 10.30pm.

One of Jason's friends and a resident, whose door Jason had knocked on in distress, attempted first aid after he collapsed in their front garden.

He was taken to St Mary's Hospital and remained in a critical condition for some time before dying at 11.55am on November 21.

Joel Amade, originally from Harrow, was living in Eastwood Road, Ilford, in East London, at the time. The 18-year-old denied murder but his blood was found on a moped recovered by police during the investigation.

He was found guilty of the murder of Jason Isaacs at the Old Bailey on April 17 and sentenced at the same court on May 28. The judge told him he will spend a minimum of 20 years behind bars.

NORTH LONDON

Teen with 17-inch zombie knife jailed

Teenager Ryan Manzeke was stopped and searched twice in the same month, with police finding a zombie knife and later 158 wraps of drugs.

The 18-year-old was first stopped on December 10, acting suspiciously around North Gower Street in Camden . He ran away from police but they caught up to him and found a 17-inch zombie knife along with 108 wraps of cocaine and heroin.

Manzeke of Church Lane, Hornsey was arrested but then released under investigation in connection with the drugs offences, pending analysis of the substances recovered.

He admitted the knife possession charge on December 28 at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court. However, that same day, police stopped and searched him again, this time finding 50 wraps of cocaine.

In a drill rap music video posted to YouTube in December, Manzeke could be seen and heard "glorifying violence and making threats towards opposing gang members". The video has now been removed.

Manzeke pleaded guilty at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court on January 18 to possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.

He was sentenced on March 11 at Blackfriars Crown Court to a total of five years' imprisonment for possession of the knife and three counts of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs. A seven year Criminal Behaviour Order was also imposed.

Murderer who killed young father

Nashon Esbrand had dropped his girlfriend and baby at their house before heading to see his parents when two men came in his way.

The Holloway man had a grudge with Jack Stevens, one of the men who stood in front of him.

Witnesses described Nashon being chased by a large group of men on bicycles down Essex Road, on August 24, 2017.

He was chased into Mitchison Road, and news spread instantly to Nashon's father, who ran out to search for his son, flagging down a police car.

However, at around 18:50hrs as police searched for him, Nashon was cornered on the steps of an address in Mitchison Road, N1 by the group and then stabbed; he was tragically close to where his parents lived.

The serial killer who murdered 20 years ago

Mane Driza was sentenced on April 3 at the Old Bailey to a life sentence, with a recommendation that he serve a minimum of 20 years.

The 41-year-old stabbed Stefan Bledar Mone more than 120 times, in Wembley in June 1999, and it took the jury just 90 minutes to find him unanimously guilty of murder.

Driza had been extradited from Italy where he was in prison for a double murder and an attempted murder and had previously killed another two people in his native Albania.

He will now return to Italy to finish his sentence, remaining in prison there until 2026.

It is likely he will then return to the UK to serve his 20-year term.

Teen murdered man who knocked on his door, for no apparent reason


A teenager has been jailed after a man visiting a friend was stabbed in the chest for no apparent reason, causing him to die.

Joseph Cullimore, 42, was attacked in the early hours of August 17 at a flat in Flaxen Road, Chingford , Waltham Forest.

A 16-year-old boy stabbed Joseph in the chest shorty after he had knocked at the door.

The Metropolitan Police were called to the flat along with paramedics, but Joseph, a father, was pronounced dead at the scene a short while later.

The boy, who cannot be named due to his age, was arrested the following day, on August 18, after admitting carrying out the brutal attack.

Now 17, he has been convicted of manslaughter at Southwark Crown Court , but investigators still do not know the motive for his attack. On May 2, he was jailed for six years.

Teenage ferociously attacked police

A young man who baited four Islington police officers with a hoax 999 call before ferociously attacking them with a knife has been jailed for 15 years.

University dropout Alex Traykov's devastating actions on October 6 last year left all four of the police officers injured, one fainting from blood loss and another suffering life-changing injuries.

One officer had a deep cut to his left cheek which needed eight stitches, as well as a deep, 2cm cut on his neck which needed five stitches.

The same officer also had injuries to his elbow, knee and left leg.

Another officer had a cut on her right hand and the back of her head that caused significant bleeding. Her blood loss caused her to faint and she needed urgent hospital treatment.

A third officer had a deep 15cm cut on his forearm, while one fractured her left wrist.

On Friday, May 24 at the Old Bailey he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for three counts of GBH with intent and one count of attempted GBH.

He was been charged with four counts of attempted murder, but was cleared of those charges by the jury and found guilty of GBH and attempted GBH.

Teen jailed after 'argument between friends' ends in stabbing

A 17-year-old boy was jailed after a West Hampstead stabbing that police believe started as an "argument between friends".

Terail McDonald attacked another 17-year-old boy in Billy Fury Way, just off Lithos Road, on November 6 last year and was arrested just two days later.

The victim, who did not support the police investigation, was kept in hospital for around two weeks before being discharged.

McDonald was found guilty on May 7, following a trial at Blackfriars Crown Court, of causing gross bodily harm with intent and possession of an offensive weapon.

He was sentenced at the same court on Tuesday (June 11) to six years' imprisonment for GBH and 18 months' imprisonment, to run concurrently, for possession of a knife.

Drugged-up couple murdered teenager and hid body in attic

A heroin addict who viciously murdered a teenager with a hammer and kitchen knife just a few days before Christmas in 2017 has been locked up.

Gary Hopkins, 37, brutally killed Abdi Ali and then hid the body in the attic of his Enfield home.

Hopkins' partner, 28-year-old Stacey Docherty, helped him conceal Abdi's remains for eight months.

After the killing, which took place in the flat the couple shared with their three children, the devious pair wrapped the body and hid it away along with the murder weapons.

Their despicable secret was discovered when Hopkins and Docherty confessed to friends while high on drugs.

Hopkins revealed he had murdered someone and the body was in the loft - he even offered to show the friends saying: "See, I don't talk bulls**t.

"There is a dead person".

The offences came to light in August 2018 when police were informed of the couple's horrific revelation. Hopkins was found guilty of murder following a trial at the Old Bailey which concluded on March 28.

Before the trial he had pleaded guilty to perverting the course of public justice and preventing the lawful and decent burial of a dead body.

On June 27, he was handed a life sentence and told he must serve at least 22 years behind bars.

Docherty was found not guilty of murder and the jury was hung on one count of perverting the course of justice and one of preventing a lawful burial.

The CPS sought a retrial but Docherty pleaded guilty at a preliminary hearing on May 31 to perverting the course of justice. She was jailed for 27 months.

Convicted killer jailed for a second murder

Kasim Lewis, 32, admitted he murdered Cathy Burke in her home at Hill Road in Muswell Hill in November 2017 at an Old Bailey hearing on July 15, 2019.

On July 18, he was sentenced to life with a 40 year tariff to add to the life sentence he received for the murder of bar worker Iuliana Tudos on Christmas Eve in 2017.

The 40 years will run concurrently to the 29 year tariff for Ms Tudos's murder.

The last moments of 55-year-old Cathy Burke's life were pieced together through cell site and DNA analysis with police concluding Lewis committed the murder during the early evening of November 15 that year.

Lewis was a prolific burglar who had committed nine separate residential burglaries in the north London area in the years leading up to this killing. It is thought he gained access to her house through the back door.

She was found the following day after neighbours raised the alarm. Her naked body was lying on a bed under a pile of clothes and she had been stabbed in the neck, the back and twice in the stomach.

A gag had been tied around her face and her wrists and ankles were bound. Lewis took two mobile telephones belonging to Ms Burke and an Amazon tablet from the property when he left.

Less than six weeks later Lewis murdered 22-year-old Iuliana Tudos in north London in similar circumstances.

She was also stabbed in the neck and the abdomen, was similarly bound and had been left naked with clothing placed on top of her. Lewis was sentenced for her murder in May 2018

As well as the similarities between the two murders, DNA from a bloodstain found on Lewis' jeans seized during the police investigation of the murder of Iuliana Tudos was found to be a one-in-a-billion match with Cathy Burke.

Lewis had also given one of the mobile phones taken from Cathy's home as a gift to an ex-partner who handed it over to the police. DNA evidence from the handset matched both Lewis and Cathy Burke.

(1st August 2019)


JULY 2019


MPs CALL FOR POLICE IN SCHOOLS TO CUT YOUTH VIOLENCE
(BBC News, dated 31st July 2019)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-49162515

Schools in areas with a higher risk of youth violence should be given dedicated police officers, say MPs.

The Home Affairs Committee criticised the government's current violence reduction strategy as "completely inadequate".

It called on the new prime minister, Boris Johnson, to take "personal responsibility" for tackling knife and gun crime among young people.

But the Home Office said the MPs failed to fully recognise its action on crime.

In its report, the committee called for more investment into neighbourhood policing - including a commitment to get a dedicated police officer into "all schools in areas with an above-average risk of serious youth violence" by April 2020.

It said by committing the money for the officers in the government's autumn spending review, it would become part of a drive to "rebuild vital links" with the communities affected.

The report has been published as part of the committee's inquiry into youth violence for which MPs have heard evidence from campaigners, victims' families, doctors, senior police officers, children's charities and criminologists.

It also recommended that:

- Named individuals in English and Welsh regions report directly to Downing Street on action to bring down violence
   
- The government increases funding for youth outreach workers and community youth projects
   
- Action is taken to reduce the number of pupils excluded from school, and to offer more support to those in alternative schools

What's being done to tackle youth violence?

The report criticised the government's strategy to cut violent crime in England and Wales for containing "no targets or milestones" and "few new actions".

Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who chairs the committee, said the Home Office had "taken a hands-off approach" to the "national emergency" of youth violence.

"To publish a weak strategy and convene a few roundtable discussions just isn't enough when faced with youth violence on this scale," she said.

"Serious violence has got worse after a perfect storm of youth service cuts, police cuts, more children being excluded from school and a failure of statutory agencies to keep them safe."

New policing minister Kit Malthouse said greater interaction between police and schools could help build "very helpful" relationships as pupils enter their teenage years.

He said increased police powers could have a short-term impact, but the solutions to knife crime in particular were "complex and wide-ranging".

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "This will take many years to do - and it's something we've been investing in, and need to invest more.

"It's definitely the case we need to turbo-charge what we're doing."

The government's Serious Violence Strategy, launched last April, committed £11m for an "early intervention youth fund" to help young people at risk of getting involved in violence.

The plan also committed funds for a national coordination centre to tackle "county-lines" drug routes to target links between the illegal drugs market and violent crime.

What's behind the problem? (by Danny Shaw)

The Home Affairs Committee has compiled arguably the most comprehensive study into the causes of and possible solutions to youth violence since the problems began to escalate in 2015.

Unlike the Home Office Serious Violence Strategy - which barely mentioned public sector budget cuts when it was published in 2018 - the committee identifies resources as a key factor, while emphasising that other issues, such as county lines drug gangs, have also played a part.

But there is no silver bullet, no one easy answer.

Indeed, the MPs caution against slogans that sound good, but which may lack substance, such as "public health approach".

Instead, the tenor of the report suggests violence will only come down through sustained hard work over many years by government, agencies and communities together.

How many officers are currently in schools?

Every school and further education college in London has been offered a "named officer", said Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, in her evidence to the committee.

The officers carried out "high visibility patrols" and delivered sessions and bespoke workshops to pupils, she said.

She told the committee there were currently about 280 "safer schools" officers in the capital - including 40 in the Police Cadets - and that she hoped there would be more than 500 based in the capital by the autumn.

But the committee said the picture was quite different in other parts of the country.

Ten of 33 forces in England told MPs they did not currently have one, including West Midlands Police - the largest force outside of London.

What's been the reaction to the committee's report?

The Home Office said the committee's assessment had failed to recognise the full range of urgent action the government was taking to keep our communities safe, and pointed to the new prime minister's pledge to recruit an extra 20,000 police officers, and the new national policing board.

"We have made it simpler for officers to use stop and search, and our Offensive Weapons Act will stop knives making their way onto our streets in the first place," a Home Office spokesman said.

The Children's Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said the government must treat youth violence as a "top priority" with a "large-scale and long-term plan" to help protect vulnerable children.

The Children's Society charity called for extra funding for "professional training, prevention, early intervention and youth services".

###How bad is violent crime in England and Wales?

More people have been admitted to hospital with knife wounds in the four years since 2014, with a sharper increase in admissions involving people under-18 than adults, NHS data shows.

- For under-18s, admissions increased from 303 to 566 - an 87% rise
- Admissions of adults increased from 3,273 to 4,354 - a 33% rise

-----------------------
PUTTING POLICE IN SCHOOLS COULD STOP KNIFE CRIME, BUT ONLY IF THEY'RE NOT THE ENEMY
(Metro, dated 2nd August 2019 author Robert Kasanga)

Full article [Option 1]:

https://metro.co.uk/2019/08/02/putting-police-schools-stop-knife-crime-not-enemy-10505589/

There are many, complex reasons why youths carry knives - be it trying to be cool, fear, protection, forced to or bravado.

So how can we find a universal, effective deterrent and tackle the knife crime epidemic?

In this era of increased youth violence one of the ways that is being raised is to have a police officer in every school. MPs believe that dedicated officers could help reduce a range of youth crime, and PCs working in the safer schools schemes have been vocal about the benefits.

I believe this is a great idea. As a former gang member, I brought weapons with me to college. All of a sudden you were faced with mixing with students from other areas and the consensus was that you had to protect yourself.

Had my friends and I known that an officer was at our college, potentially carrying out searches, we wouldn't have travelled with knives.

However, the image of the police within certain communities also needs to be improved. From an early age young people are led to believe that the police are the enemy.

Without even knowing it's happening, they are programmed through certain family loyalties that the police are corrupt and not to be trusted. Of course there are police officers who don't go by the rule book but most are there to serve and protect the community.

The police don't really integrate themselves in the community anymore and this has increased the friction. They usually only turn up once a crime has been reported so for some youths, the association with the police is only after a 'bad thing' has happened. If this is your first encounter then that affiliation sticks.

If children can see an officer in their school who engages with them then immediately they will recognise this person as someone who is there to help. Someone they can rely on and trust. They are no longer the enemy.

On top of this, youths will be scared to actually carry weapons into schools because of the fear of being caught so a visible police presence may stop them taking the risk. However, presence alone is not enough.

Schools have a duty of care not only to teach the curriculum but also to educate young people about life and the dangers they face. It is their responsibility, along with parents, to give them easy information on prevention of gangs. I believe this should be part of the curriculum.

And while schools do offer some control measures in the classroom - most young people fear expulsion and getting into trouble, for instance - gang issues happen both inside and outside of the classroom.

On the outside everyone wants to play the 'bad man'. When away from known adults, youths feel more confident to break boundaries and carry knives. It is often after school that tensions and issues arise.

This is why there must be support for at-risk youths beyond school. I left my past behind me to become the founder of Hackney Wick FC, which is not your typical football club. Now comprised of 230 active players across 18 teams, the club's ethos is based on community engagement and uniting diverse groups as well as battling peer pressure and tackling gang influences.

We engage young people and adults. We offer educational workshops, sporting opportunities, mentoring and access to work routes - but it isn't enough for us to work with young people already involved in gangs.

It is also vital to work with those on the brink of falling into gang life and others who might not be aware of the associated risks. They need to be taught the consequences of crime so we do use anything we can - videos, imagery and real life stories - to paint the narrative that it is wrong to carry a knife.

Gangs of all types are recruiting youths from an early age - recent reports about 'county lines' gangs indicated children as young as 10 are being recruited. Yes, the police need to be given more resources then the gangs have but it comes down to how you engage with young people and motivate them.

If we can get this balance right between the threat of arrest, and education and support towards a life outside of crime then I truly think a PC in ever school can help in the fight against knife crime.

----------------------
(1st August 2019)


KNIFE CRIME RISES TO ALMOST 900 OFFENCES ACROSS NOTTINGHAMHIRE IN ONE YEAR
(Nottinghamshire Post, dated 22nd July 2019 author Matt Jarram)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.nottinghampost.com/news/nottingham-news/knife-crime-rises-nearly-900-3112390

Knife crime has risen across Nottinghamshire by nine percent - with 895 serious crimes involving blades or sharp intruments.

The highest spike is in the number of assaults causing injury, which rose from 383 to 436 offences, year ending March 2019.

The number of knife point robberies across the county also rose from 330 offences to 334, with a police robbery team formed in May to bring the number down.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics  shows that Nottinghamshire attends more knife crime incidents than both Leicestershire and Derbyshire Police.

However, both Leicestershire and Derbyshire have seen steeper rises over the year, compared to Nottinghamshire remaining more stable.

Assistant Chief Constable Kate Meynell, of Nottinghamshire Police, said the latest statistics showed Nottinghamshire had "the lowest increase in knife crime in the region" and it remained broadly in line with the national average.

She said: "Nottinghamshire Police recognises knife crime as a very serious offence and we have our own dedicated knife crime team to help tackle the issue.

"Their intelligence-led approach means they have a high positive outcome rate of over 60 percent when they stop and search people - and they are part of the reason we are now putting more people before the courts for weapon-related offences."

In Derbyshire, knife crime rose from 494 to 610, which is a 23 percent rise, and in Leicestershire it rose from 725 to 848, which is a 17 percent rise.

In Nottinghamshire, there has been a nine percent rise from 820 incidents to 895 in 2018/19.

Police have just received £1.5m of government funding to tackle the problem.

This includes using knife arches at tram stops to catch young people bringing blades into the city.

Other measures include almost doubling the amount of officers working on the only dedicated knife crime team outside of London on certain days of the week.

The team will be increased from six officers to 10 who will use stop and search powers.

Officers will also work 'an extra 100 hours' on overtime to carry out visibility patrols to target knife-carriers across the county.

These patrols will have a particular focus on the city centre, The Meadows, Mansfield and Ashfield.

ACC Meynell said: "We support the national Operation Sceptre campaign on knife crime, which includes weapons sweeps, test purchases and a knife amnesty twice a year - with the last one in March resulting in 635 weapons being taken out of circulation.

"A new robbery team was also set up in May which has a focus on tackling weapon-enabled robberies.

"We have also recently benefited from £1.54m of additional Home Office funding to tackle the issue, which will pay for a range of measures.

"However, enforcement is only one side of the efforts that go into trying to reduce knife crime. It takes offenders off the streets in the short term but doesn't fully address the underlying factors that have led to that person picking up a knife.

"Sadly some young people have the misguided belief that carrying a knife makes them safer when in fact it puts them more at risk of harm.

"There are a range of other people who come into contact with young people, from teachers to health professionals, who can also play a part and give advice and support when they need it.

"An example of this is Redthread, a charity who started working in the Queen's Medical Centre last year, who offer support to young people affected by violence on how to break the cycle.

"We are also working hard on helping to educate young people. We have invested in introducing Schools and Early Intervention Officers into schools across Nottinghamshire, who speak to young people about issues including violence and knife crime.

"Nottinghamshire Police believes education is a key factor in preventing violence and it takes everyone to play a part in educating young people that carrying a knife can never become socially acceptable."

(1st August 2019)


KNIFE CRIME AT RECORD HIGH IN DEVON AND CORNWALL (Extract)
(Devon Live, dated 22nd July 2019 author Jamie Hawkins)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/knife-crime-record-high-devon-3118576

Knife crime has risen to a new high in Devon and Cornwall, according to new police figures.

Police recorded 440 serious crimes involving knives or sharp instruments in the area in 2018/19 - up 11 per cent from the year before.

The figure is the highest since comparable records began in 2010/11.

That year Devon and Cornwall Police recorded 393.

Last year there were five murders using a knife - up from three in 2017/18.

The number of assaults with knives and other sharp objects rose from 260 to 298, while rape and sexual assault increased from eight to thirteen.

The offences include attempted murder, threats to kill, assault with injury and assault with intent to cause serious harm, robbery, rape, and sexual assault where the offender used a knife or sharp instrument.

Other offences that might have included knives are not included - so the true figure could be higher.

Overall police recorded crime in Devon and Cornwall rose 4 per cent to 107,439 last year.

The number of assaults with knives and other sharp objects rose from 260 to 298, while rape and sexual assault increased from eight to thirteen.

The offences include attempted murder, threats to kill, assault with injury and assault with intent to cause serious harm, robbery, rape, and sexual assault where the offender used a knife or sharp instrument.

Other offences that might have included knives are not included - so the true figure could be higher.

Overall police recorded crime in Devon and Cornwall rose 4 per cent to 107,439 last year.

(1st August 2019)


MACHETES USED IN ALMOST 400 CRIMES PER MONTH AS BLADES BECOME WEAPON OF CHOICE
(The Sun, dated 21st July 2019 author Michael Hamilton)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/4509330/machetes-used-in-almost-400-crimes-per-month-as-blades-become-weapon-of-choice/

MACHETES are being used in almost 400 crimes per month as the lethal blades become the weapon of choice for criminals.

Thugs are carrying out more than a dozen attacks per day with the deadly knives, shock figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws reveal.

The terrifying statistics show the use of machetes - which are not on a list of banned weapons in the UK - has surged to FOUR times the level of use just four years ago.

Machetes, which were designed to hack back dense jungle and rainforest, are being used by gangs and criminals carrying out robberies, rapes and murders.

Last week a 19-year-old was killed in Purley, south London in a running brawl among thugs brandishing machetes and knives that also saw two other youths slashed.

Witnesses to the gang fight, which forced diners at a Pizza Express to flee, likened its aftermath to a terror attack.

In May, two teenagers were jailed over a machete attack on a student in Birmingham. And last month, Dad of four Sayed Choudry was killed by a machete blow to the head in Blackburn, Lancs.

SURGE IN KNIFE CRIME

The most notorious machete attack in the UK came in May 2013 when Fusilier Lee Rigby was hacked to death by terrorist killers Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo near Woolwich barracks, south London.

In 2014, a survey of police forces found the blades were being used in around 100 crimes every month - but the figure now is FOUR times that level.

But our investigation discovered that in the UK found machetes were involved in 781 crime incidents in just two months at the end of last year.

Critics say machetes say they have little legitimate use in the UK but they are not on a list of banned blades such as butterfly knives or flick knives.

The probe of police forces found that in the last two months of 2018 the most machete crimes were recorded in the West Midlands (146), Greater Manchester (132), London (83), West Yorkshire (75), Surrey (38), Lancashire (34) and Merseyside (33).

Separate figures released this week showed knife crime in general had surged 42 per cent in a decade - with 43,516 offences in a year.

David Spencer, Research Director at the Centre for Crime Prevention, said: "The huge increase in the use of machetes by British criminals is chilling and the prospect of coming face-to-face with a villain brandishing such a weapon will be terrifying for all law-abiding citizens.

"Machetes were the weapon of choice during the Rwandan genocide and they cause brutal, life-changing injuries if they don't kill. They have no place on the streets of Britain.

"Law enforcement agencies need to work fast if they want to stop this increase spiralling into an epidemic. Anyone caught in possession of a machete should face a mandatory jail sentence and those found to be selling them to criminals should face even tougher sentences."

(1st August 2019)


RISE IN KNIVES AND BLADES FOUND AT LONDON FAMILY COURTS
(BBC News, dated 20th July 2019, reseach Patrick Cowling)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-49033430

uaware note : original article contains statistics graphs

Thousands of knives and sharp objects are being confiscated annually at London family courts, with campaigners saying it showed how "desensitised" some people were to carrying weapons.

Eighty-six knives with blades longer than 3in (8cm) were seized in 2018-19, a big rise from just 18 a year earlier, Ministry of Justice data revealed.

Almost 4,000 shorter blades were found in 2018-19, the figures showed.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service said it treated security "extremely seriously".

Family courts mainly deal with private family disputes that involve parents and concern their children, and public work when local authorities take action to remove children from their parents' care.

'Defies logic'


The figures, revealed following a Freedom of Information Act request from the BBC, covered 15 of the courts based in the capital.

Mandatory bag searches, metal detectors and surveillance cameras are used to find blades and anything considered an offensive weapon is reported to police.

The number of longer-bladed weapons confiscated had fallen before increasing dramatically last year.

In the financial year 2015-16, 41 were taken by court staff but that dropped to 11 in 2016-17 and 18 the following year, before soaring back up to 86 in 2018-19.

The number of knives with shorter blades increased steadily from 1,814 to 3,893 over the same four-year period.

The figures for shorter blades include items of cutlery, razors, pen knives, key rings and scissors which have been confiscated, as well as weapons.

Patrick Green, chief executive officer of anti-knife charity The Ben Kinsella Trust, said the increase was likely to be partly down to improved security, but also showed how carrying a knife had become "normalised behaviour" for some people, even in places where they knew they would be searched.

"It defies logic to the majority of us but it shows their thinking and association with carrying knives," he said.

The president of the Family Division of the High Court has expressed a similar view.

During a lecture in May, Sir Andrew McFarlane said the judiciary "do not believe that most, indeed any, of these knives were necessarily being brought in for use in the court building".

"It simply seems to be a facet of everyday life in 2019 for some members of the population."

The courts service said staff confiscated items to "keep our sites free of any article that could be used as a weapon".

"HMCTS has a robust security and safety system to protect all court users and the Judiciary," they said.

(1st August 2019)


KNIFE CRIME UP FOR SIXTH YEAR IN A ROW IN COUNTY
(Wiltshire Times, dated 20th July 2019 author Wiltshire Times Reporter)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.wiltshiretimes.co.uk/news/17783718.knife-crime-sixth-year-row-county/

In the year to March 2019, more than 285 crimes committed in the county involved knives - up four per cent on the previous year.

They included two sexual assaults, two attempted murders, 187 assaults and 77 knifepoint robberies.

The number of possession of weapons offences were up 25 per cent, while statisticians noted a 42 per cent rise in stalking and harassment incidents and a seven per cent hike in robberies. Total recorded crime reduced slightly, with 43,246 offences logged.

Supt Sarah Robbins of Wiltshire Police said the increase in stalking reports was a result of changes in how the crime was recorded jump: "Our officers are receiving on-going and in-depth training helping them to understand and deal with these cases and the often innocent people who find themselves on the receiving end of what can be a very frightening experience.

"With robberies, it is always concerning to see a rise in an offence which can increase the fear of crime in communities.

"However, we need to put some context around this, as a small force with a large rural footprint, robbery offences are generally low which means that when there is a small increase in numbers of recorded crimes, as we have seen here, the percentage increase can appear high - it looks far more alarming than it is and let's not forget it is still lower than the national average."

The figures, released by the Home Office, came as a Railway Village man was found guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent after stabbing his friend in the torso using a samurai sword.

Terence Ryan's victim crawled towards the Glue Pot pub and was found by officers bleeding heavily from his torso, with blood on his face and shoes. Ryan, 40, was found soon after at a house on Exeter Street. He will be sentenced at Swindon Crown Court next month.

Yesterday, those living on Exeter Street said education was key to tackling rising knife crime.

Hayley Pinner, 36, said: "I think knife crime is bad everywhere you go now, especially London. Education has to be the solution. That's the only thing."

Graham Pritchard, 59, said: "Fortunately, I have never experienced it myself, but there's a general decline in civilisation. It's obvious there's so much lack of respect. There's an appalling amount of drunkenness in the town centre.

"I think people feel so separate and isolated."

(1st August 2019)


SUFFOLK SEES BIGGEST KNIFE CRIME RISE ACROSS ENGLAND AND WALES
(Ipswich Star, dated 19th July 2019 author Michael Steward)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/home-office-suffolk-crime-statistics-1-6168764

Knife crime in Suffolk rose by 51% - the highest in England and Wales - while robbery also saw a sharp increase, according to latest statistics from the Home Office.

Total crime across Suffolk increased by 3% to 54,475, which was lower than the 8% rise across England and Wales, excluding fraud, to 5.2million in the year ending March 2019.

The number of knife and sharp instrument offences recorded by Suffolk police increased from 146 (from April 2017 to March 2018) to 221 (April 2018 to March 2019) - a 51% rise.

The Home Office crime data compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also revealed there were 477 recorded robberies - a rise of 32%, well above the national average of 11%.

Burglaries in the county fell by 12% to 3,817 against a national drop of 3% while drug offences also dropped by 13% to 1,344 when there was a national rise of 11%.

The stepmother of murdered Ipswich teenager Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, Helen Forbes, admitted she was frustrated by issues in the town.

She said: "The rise is frightening, but it isn't the police's fault, they are rushed off their feet and doing all they can.

"I get a bit frustrated by it. We've seen youth clubs and centres close over the years and there isn't anything for the kids to do."

Tavis' father Neville Aitkens and Miss Forbes have recently set up a youth club at Nansen Road Baptist Church in the Nacton area in a bid to help people stay away from gangs.

"We've now got 60 children coming along and it keeps us focused," Miss Forbes added.

"We want to try to bring everyone together to give something back and really focus on the next generation."

Speaking about the knife crime increase, ACC David Cutler said: "Any increase is really concerning for us and it is something we are focusing hard on.

"Working with a range of our partners, we are looking how to best get the message out there about the dangers of carrying a knife and the potential consequences.

"The last thing any of us want is what we have seen in Ipswich where people have been injured and lives have been lost.

"Any increase is not what we want to see but we are committed to doing something about it."

ACC Cutler added that an operational restructure in 2018 put more than 100 officers into safer neighbourhood teams, with further investment in the local policing response planned.

(1st August 2019)


"WE'RE GLAMOURISING IT" : POLICE TO STOP SHARING PICTURES OF KNIVES ON TWITTER
(Planet Radio, dated 19th July 2019 author Megan Jones)

Full article [Option 1]:

https://planetradio.co.uk/free/local/news/police-stop-sharing-pictures-of-knives-on-twitter/

West Midlands Police is going to stop sharing photos of knives on social media so they don't 'glamourise' violent crime.

Usually pictures are put on Twitter by local policing teams after the weapons have been found or seized by officers.

Knife crime has reached a record high.

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics shows the number of people stabbed to death in the West Midlands has gone up by more than a third in 2018/19 compared to the previous year.

Across the UK during the same time, there were more than 40,000 knife crime incidents.

Since 2012, it's gone up 85% here.

In June, West Midlands Police announced Project Guardian to tackle youth violence here.

They were given more than £7m from the Home Office to make the region safer.

They're using some of the money to hire 75 new investigators, buy 15 response cars and get more knife wands.

Superintendent Phil Dolby is the head of knife crime for the force.

He's asked police to stop sharing images of knives on their Twitter accounts:

We spoke to him about the decision:

"I've got a concern when the police put out images of the nasty weapons we've recovered, we increase the fear of crime, which we do know is what's making kids carry knives more.

"We might be glamourising it.

"We're just trying to do something new and see what we can do to reduce that fear of crime, the fear that's leading young people to carry knives.

"Each separate police force has got to find its own way, make its own decisions.

"I'm going to try this out here, then share the results with others."

(1st August 2019)


KNIFE CRIME UP BY A THIRD IN LANCASHIRE
(Lancashire Telegraph, dated 19th July 2019 author Aban Quaynor)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/17781319.knife-crime-third-lancashire/

KNIFE crime in Lancashire rose by 33 per cent over the last year, the latest figures show.

 Nationally offences involving knives or sharp objects hit record high levels, with Barnardo's chief executive Javed Khan saying it was a disgrace the crisis continues unabated.

The data from the Office of National Statistics Incidents , which covers the 12 months up to March 2019, showed that there were 1,151 incidents in Lancashire which was up from 867.

Lancashire Police said its figures had risen because of more accurate recording and because victims were more confident in coming forward.

The spokesman said: "While we continue to see increases in levels of recorded crime, most of these increases are the result of our more accurate recording of crimes, and some a shift in the type of crime we now investigate.

"We recognise that increases in areas like violent crime will cause concern and we continue to work with our communities and partners to provide reassurance and reduce offences of this type. A considerable part of this increase is the move of incidents previously recorded as anti-social behaviour into public order and violent offending categories.

"Some of the increases, while they may cause some worry, show the increased confidence of victims to report incidents and crimes to us.

"We have also increased our awareness of exploitation and vulnerability, which means we are actively unearthing more, previously unseen, crime. This is in line with our commitment to tackle exploitation and safeguard victims, working increasingly closely with our local partner agencies to do so.

"Our commitment to this area was recognised in April this year when Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) praised the force for our approach to child protection.

"We will continue to invest in this work in the coming years, focusing on vulnerability, violence reduction reduction and improving digital policing to meet increasing levels of complex demand."

Nationally police recorded 43,516 offences involving knives or sharp objects in the year to March 2019, the highest since comparable records began in 2011.

There was a rise of 3,301 knife crime offences from 2017/18, with the volume of offences up 42 per cent since the year ending March 2011.

Those figures, however, don't include incidents from Greater Manchester Police, which records it differently.

Commenting on the figures, Mr Khan said: "It's unacceptable that the knife crime crisis continues unabated with offences at record levels. Children are not born with knives in their hands, knife crime is a symptom of a much bigger problem.

"Our frontline support services say vulnerable children and young people are being recruited and exploited by criminal gangs and forced to traffic drugs and carry knives.

"Urgent action must be taken so that future generations are not condemned to live in an endless spiral of violence."

Home Office figures, released separately, showed the proportion of crimes in England and Wales resulting in a charge or summons fell to the lowest level in 2018/19 since data began to be recorded in 2015. The rate fell from 403,221 or 9.1 per cent in the previous year to 403,221 or 7.8 per cent in the 12 months to March 2019, continuing a downward trend since 2015 when the rate was 15.5 per cent.

Policing minister Nick Hurd said: "While the chances of being a victim of crime remain low, we are deeply concerned that certain offences, including serious violence, have increased and we are taking urgent action. Police funding is increasing by more than £1 billion this year, including council tax and £100 million for forces worst affected by violent crime.

"I am encouraged to see officer numbers increasing, and that police and crime commissioners have committed to recruiting over 3,700 additional officers and staff this year.

"We are also acting to address the root causes of violence and stop young people being drawn into crime in the first place. This week we announced a new legal duty for public bodies to work together to prevent and tackle serious violence as part of our public health approach."

(1st August 2019)


THUG CAUGHT WITH KNIFE 16 TIMES BUT NEVER WENT TO PRISON
(The Sun, dated 18th June 2019 author Thomas Burrows)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.thesun.co.uk/news/9459516/thug-caught-knife-16-times-never-prison/

A THUG was caught carrying a knife 16 TIMES but never went to prison, The Sun Online can reveal.

Laws state anyone arrested with a blade for a second time should automatically be jailed for six months.

But almost 5,500 criminals repeatedly found with knives - almost half - have walked free from court over the past three years, making a mockery of the "two strikes" rule introduced in 2015 by then PM David Cameron.

It comes as Britain battles a knife crime epidemic with fatal stabbings at their highest level since the Second World War.

Shocking figures out today revealed knife crime in England and Wales soared to a record high, with 43,000 offences last year.

Now findings in an Freedom of Information request obtained by The Sun Online reveal a thug from London was spared prison 16 times.

The knifeman, aged between 22 and 33, was let off with a caution on one occasion, six absolute or conditional discharges, six community sentences and three suspended sentences.

'ZERO TOLERANCE'

Campaigners have slammed the findings and accused the UK's justice system of going "soft".

Emma Caley, whose son Jordan Taylor, 25, died after a fight with knife thug Hayden Maslen in Trowbridge, Wiltshire in March 2017, said the justice system was "no longer fit for purpose".

She told the Sun Online: "The justice system needs to move with the times. It's ridiculous.

"It's no longer fit for purpose, it's out dated and needs a complete revamp.

"There has been a massive reduction in acid attacks because the law changed and judges passed tougher sentences. This is what is needed with knife crime. It proves tough sentences really do work if we show zero tolerance to anyone caught carrying a bladed article.

"Until that happens we're not going to see any change [in knife crime] because these criminals know how to play the system.

"People who go out with a knife are getting cautioned when caught and if it's a second offence they're getting suspended sentences.

"And so we [the victims' families] all think 'where's the deterrent'?

"If they could free up the prisons for petty crime, they would be more room for serious crime because going out with a knife is serious. There's got to be zero tolerance."

She hit out after a trial jury cleared Maslen of murder and manslaughter - and believed claims he was acting "in self-defence".

Despite admitting carrying a deadly weapon, he was jailed for just 10 months.

'BRITISH JUSTICE GONE SOFT'

Danny O'Brien, who founded Anti-Knife UK and campaigned for the "two strikes and you're out" rule, told the Sun Online: "I should be shocked by these findings but sadly this no longer comes as a shock.

"People twice caught with a knife should automatically get a six month jail sentence but that is ignored by many courts and the offender is basically just given a slap on the wrist.

"Many offenders are not bothered or worried about facing a judge as they know they are likely to escape jail.

"It's also a slap in the face for the victim who has been stabbed. British justice has gone soft."

The "two strikes" rule was brought in by former PM David Cameron in 2015 who demanded judges come down hard on repeat offenders.

Former Tory MP and knife crime campaigner Nick de Bois told The Sun Online: "The law is clear, if you are caught with a knife twice you should get an immediate jail sentence.

"The police are doing their job catching offenders but as this case tells us, the court have blatantly showed contempt for the police, the public and most of all the victims of those harmed and injured by those that choose to carry knives.

"What has to happen to make judges and magistrates do their job? These judges need to respect the law which is to send repeat offenders to jail."

David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouth, added: "This is totally unacceptable. People who walk around carrying knives should be facing long prison sentences."

The Ministry of Justice said they won't release the name of the thug, who was let off 16 times, for Data Protection reasons.

BLADE RE-RUNNERS


It comes as it was revealed super-crooks caught carrying blades and committing crimes several times are avoiding jail, according to a bombshell report.

MPs called for tougher sentences after the review showed the number of "super prolific offenders" dodging jail has tripled since 2017.

Earlier this month we revealed how repeat offenders were responsible for at least a quarter of knife crime last year.

Of the 16,710 convictions, 4,741 involved former culprits.

And 661 were by thugs with three or more previous convictions for blade offences, Ministry of Justice figures show.

Violent crimes have soared in London since Sadiq Khan took over as mayor, with 2018 the bloodiest year in a decade.

There were a staggering 21,484 offences of possessing or making threats with a knife in 2018 - the highest for nearly a decade.

This year there have already been 78 murder investigations launched by Scotland Yard.

Figures earlier this year revealed five young people are attacked with a knife every day in London and Mr Khan warned it could take a "decade" to turn back the tide of violent crime.

(1st August 2019)


KNIFE CRIME SOARS IN RURAL AREAS BY AS MUCH AS 50% AS VIOLENCE EPIDEMIC SPREADS OUT OF CITIES
(Telegraph, dated 18th July 2019 authors Charles Hymas and Patrick Scott)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/18/knife-crime-soars-rural-areas-much-50-per-cent-violence-epidemic/

Knife crime rose by up to 50 per cent in rural areas in the past year as violence spread from cities, fuelled by county lines drug gangs, official figures show.

Suffolk, Norfolk, North Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Kent, Lancashire and Dyfed-Powys saw some of the biggest rises as knife crime overall in England and Wales rose by eight per cent to 43,516 offences, its highest since records began eight years ago.

At the same time, the proportion of crimes solved has fallen by half in four years, with fewer than one in 12 offences (7.8 per cent) resulting in a charge or summons. That is a fall from 9.1 per cent last year and 15 per cent four years ago.

Policing minister Nick Hurd admitted: "We are deeply concerned that certain offences, including serious violence, have increased and we are taking urgent action.

Robbery rose by 11 per cent to 85,700 offences, the number of killings increased from 693 to 701, violence against people was up 20 per cent to almost 1.7 million offences and sex crimes including rape were uip by seven per cent to 162,000.

The overall crime rate rose by eight per cent to 5.95 million offences for the year ending March 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Boris Johnson, the Tory leadership frontrunner, and Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, have pledged to reverse police cuts by recruiting an extra 20,000 officers and have backed greater use of stop-and-search to combat the knife crime epidemic.

County lines gangs, who run drugs out of cities into local communities, are blamed for the rise in rural knife crime, with Suffolk up 51.4 per cent to 221 offences, Dyfed-Powys up by 44.9 per cent to 229 and Lancashire up by 32.8 per cent to 1151.

In North Yorkshire, it increased by 31 per cent to 300, in Norfolk, it was up 27.7 per cent to 281, in Gwent by 25.9 per cent to 141, Derbyshire 23.5 per cent to 610 and Kent up 20.4 per cent to 955.

Two big cities also saw big rises in knife crime with Merseyside up 48.6 per cent to 1,404 and West Midlands up 48.6 per cent to 1,404.

By contrast, the Metropolitan police, which has surged officers onto the streets and dramatically increased use of stop-and-search slowed the rise in knife crime to just 0.9 per cent with 14,842 offences.

Sarah Jones, chair of the all party knife crime group, said: "Today's figures show the Government has been far too slow to tackle county lines activity which sees vulnerable, armed young people trafficked into towns across our country."

Offences involving firearms also rose by three per cent to 6,684. Theft offences remained static, at just over 2 million with burglary down by three per cent to 422,870 offences. Drug offences were up by 11 per cent to 151,500, while fraud and computer misuse crimes rose by nine per cent to 693,418.

The total number of offences solved fell by 39,496 with the proportion resulting in a charge or summons down from 9.1 per cent to 7.8 per cent.

Sex offences were least likely to be solved at 3.5 per cent followed by theft at 5.7 per cent, criminal damage and arson at 5.3 per cent, robbery at 7.4 per cent and violence against the person at 8.3 per cent.

The proportion of offences that were closed as a result of "evidential difficulties" increased from 29 per cent to 32 per cent.

Police forces closed almost half (44 per cent) of offences with no suspect identified, a similar proportion to last year.

This proportion varied by crime type with around 74 per cent of theft offences closed in this way compared with nine per cent of rape offences and two per cent of drugs offences.

Javed Khan, chief executive of Barnardo's, Britain's biggest children's charity, said: "It's unacceptable that the knife crime crisis continues unabated with offences at record levels.

"Children are not born with knives in their hands, knife crime is a symptom of a much bigger problem. Our frontline support services say vulnerable children and young people are being recruited and exploited by criminal gangs and forced to traffic drugs and carry knives.

"Urgent action must be taken so that future generations are not condemned to live in an endless spiral of violence."

Knife crime hs soared in the UK in recent years (Source : Home Office)

2012/13 : 24,798
2013/14 : 23,945
2014/15 : 24,551
2015/16 : 27,464
2016/17 : 33,726
2017/18 : 40,215
2018/19 : 43,516

(1st August 2019)


KNIFE CRIME INCREASES ACROSS WALES BY ALMOST 20% AS POLICE WARN OFFENDERS ARE GETTING YOUNGER
(ITV, dated 18th July 2019 author Alexandra Hartley)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.itv.com/news/wales/2019-07-18/knife-crime-increases-across-wales-by-almost-20-as-police-warn-offenders-are-getting-younger/

Knife crime has increased in all parts of Wales in the last 12 months, according to official figures.

Every police force saw an increase in reports of knife and sharp instrument crimes with 1,375 offences recorded in 2018/2019 - up almost 20% in the last year.

South Wales Police recorded the most offences - with 737 in 2019 alone.

Account of Operation Sceptre's night patrol

It's 7pm on a normal week night. Most of us are enjoying dinner or settling down in front of the tv after a day at work.

But for Operation Sceptre, work has just begun. Every week, officers work into the early hours to take drugs and illegal weapons off our streets.

We join them for a typical shift to see what they get up to and how they tackle this rising problem in our capital.

Officers tell me those carrying knives are often teenagers, sometimes even younger. They are usually linked to drug dealing and say they use them to protect themselves.

In one night, we witness the team carry out 13 stop searches. They arrest one man for possession of an illegal weapon and they seize an assortment of illegal drugs.

The team say they recover around 3-4 illegal weapons from our streets in Cardiff every week.

So do the public need to be worried? The Police say no. They assure us there's not a risk to the public in general. They say it's just people who live these lifestyles involved in drugs who injure each other and themselves.

What is Operation Sceptre?

The Op Sceptre Team, named after a national initiative led by the Metropolitan Police, was set up in the summer of 2018 initially as a 12-month pilot to reduce knife crime and related offences in Cardiff.

After a 1.2 million pound cash boost from the Home Office,South Wales police decided to extend the 'Op Sceptre' knife crime team in Cardiff and create a new team in Swansea to focus on reducing knife crime on the streets of South Wales.

"Knife crime is an obvious concern to our communities, particularly in our cities of Cardiff and Swansea.

"The issues we face are significant - they may not be as great as some other cities, but they are tragedies for the families who are affected by terrible offences.

"Knife crime levels have stabilised in the first half of this year compared to last, so we know we can make a difference.

- Chief Constable of South Wales Police, Matt Jukes

Within 12 months Operation Sceptre has:

- arrested 220 people
- taken 90 weapons off the streets
- seized more than £82k worth of drugs and £77.5k cash
- conducted 758 stop searches
- helped secure custodial sentences totalling 22 years 3 months

(1st August 2019)


KNIFE CRIME IN ENGLAND AND WALES RISES 8% OVER YEAR
(Guardian, dated 18th July 2019 author Amy Walker)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jul/18/knife-crime-england-wales-police

Knife crime-related offences rose by 8% in England and Wales in the past year, government figures have shown.

Between April 2018 and March 2019, police forces recorded 43,516 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument, in comparison with 40,215 in the year ending March 2018.

The increase, based on data from 43 police forces in England and Wales, excludes Greater Manchester police (GMP) due to the force's undercounting of knife-related crimes in previous years.

When crimes involving a knife or sharp instrument recorded by GMP over the past year are factored in, the figure for offences in England and Wales is 47,136 - the highest since records began.

Of those incidents, 32% happened in London - where for every 100,000 people, there were 169 knife-related offences.

Outside of the capital, the areas with the highest rates were Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire, where there were 129, 118 and 116 knife-related offences per 100,000 people respectively.

In recent weeks, the government has come under increased scrutiny over their tackling of Britain's knife crime crisis after it extended controversial stop and search powers.

Assault with injury and assault with intent to cause serious harm accounted for 46% of offences involving a knife or sharp object, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Robberies made up 18,462 or 42% of offences in the category - an increase of 10% from the previous year.

Homicide, rape, attempted murder and sexual assault involving a knife or sharp instrument made up a small proportion of the figures in the year ending March 2019.

The most prolific related offence was robbery involving a knife or sharp instrument -with 18,462 incidents recorded - up 10% from April 2017 to March 2018, when 16,732 incidents were recorded.

Between April 2017 and March 2018, there were 40,215 offences recorded that involved a knife or sharp instrument - a 31% increase from the year ending March 2011 when 30,620 of the same kind of offences were recorded.

Nick Hurd, minister for policing and the fire service, said: "While the chances of being a victim of crime remain low, we are deeply concerned that certain offences, including serious violence, have increased and we are taking urgent action.

"Police funding is increasing by more than £1bn this year, including council tax and £100 million for forces worst affected by violent crime."

Labour's shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: "The Tories are losing the fight against violent crime, and their reckless cuts to the police and youth support are at the heart of the crisis.

"All communities hit hard by rising crime will rightly be angry at the hypocrisy of Boris Johnson in demanding more police officers when he's voted for every police cut since he entered office."

(1st August 2019)


HOME OFFICE SCHEME REJECTS 63% OF BIDS FOR CASH TO STEER KIDS AWAY FROM KNIFE CRIME
(Mirror, dated 18th July 2019 author Oliver Milne)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/home-office-scheme-rejects-70-18339849

The Home Office rejected 63% of bids for cash to divert children away from knife crime and violence, as demands for resources to combat rising serious violence outstripped the available funds.

Ministers have denied funds to dozens of projects for vulnerable young people that bid for cash from the flagship 'Early Intervention Fund'.

The Home Secretary announced the £22m fund last spring to make funding available for "critical support" to "steer young people away from serious violence".

But the department has rejected over 63% of the 111 bids received from Police and Crime Commissioners for the projects.

In London alone, 34 bids were submitted by Mayor Sadiq Khan, but just 10 projects were approved.

The full £22 million allocated for the fund has been spent by ministers.

This compares to 43 summer projects being funded by the Mayor of London this summer alone.

The fund comes after a decade of austerity has left Britain's youth services poorly funded.

The government has cut £880m from children and youth services since 2010.

Research by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime revealed a 51% drop in the number of youth centres supported by local authorities since 2011 and a 42% drop in youth service staff over the same period.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has said that "intervening early in the lives of vulnerable young people" was a "central part" of the governments' plan to tackle serious violence.

The Home Secretary had previously promised to do "everything in his power to tackle county lines exploitation" where children are trafficked by gangs across the country to sell drugs.

But The Mirror understands that among the rejected bids was a £1.3m request from West Mercia, Staffordshire and Warwickshire's Police and Crime Commissioners for a fund designed to tackle the spread of the phenomenon.

In total, the scheme is currently funding 40 diversion projects nationwide.

But Labour warned that more cash was needed for the problem, and said the rejected bids raised serious questions over the Government's early intervention efforts.

Labour's Shadow Policing Minister Louise Haigh MP said: "With so many vital projects for vulnerable youngsters cruelly denied funds, it's clear the Home Secretary's pledge to do all he can to tackle serious youth violence is just another empty promise.

"Youth violence is surging and many parents will rightly be asking; what exactly does it take for this government to act?"

A Home Office spokesperson said: "Our Early Intervention Youth Fund of £22m is supporting 40 projects endorsed by Police and Crime Commissioners across England and Wales.

"This comes after the Home Secretary announced 11 new projects that would receive funding to help work with children and young people at risk of criminal involvement, gang exploitation or county lines.

"The successful bids were selected using a rigorous process including looking at levels of violent crime and emerging risks."

(1st August 2019)


SIXTY-SEVEN LONDON KNIFE KILLINGS IN A YEAR DRIVES NATIONAL FIGURE TO NEW HIGH
(London Evening Standard, dated 17th July 2019 author Martin Bentham)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/sixtyseven-london-knife-killings-in-a-year-drives-national-figure-to-new-high-a4192926.html

Knife crime in London has hit a new peak, driving the national figure to a record level.

The Office for National Statistics today said there was a 1 per cent increase in recorded knife offences in the capital in the year to April.

That represented a total of 14,902 knife offences and was the highest figure ever recorded in London over a financial year.

The tally included 67 knife killings, 90 attempted murders involving a blade, and 181 rapes or sexual assaults carried out with a knife.

The London knife crimes also included 788 threats to kill and 8,692 knifepoint robberies, as well as 5,084 offences in which a blade was used to inflict injury or attempt harm. The new tally means that knife crime in London has risen by 52 per cent since March 2016.

Today's London figures came as national statistics covering England and Wales showed that knife offences across the two countries is at a record high.

Threats to kill, robbery, and assault with injury or intent to cause harm are all up. The statistics also show that the capital accounts for a third of all knife crime nationwide and has the highest rate of blade offending of any area, with 169 such offences for every 100,000 people.

They suggest that Scotland Yard's efforts to tackle the problem are still struggling to force down overall levels of knife offending.

They have, however, led to a 15 per cent fall in the number of under-25s being injured by a blade.

The statistics will increase calls for longer-term solutions, including the public health approach now advocated by both Home Secretary Sajid Javid and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Commenting on today's figures, Meghan Elkin from the Office for National Statistics Centre for Crime and Justice, said: "In London, for the year to March, we've seen offences involving knives and sharp instruments go up by 1 per cent. That's a smaller increase than in previous years.

"The number of knife-related homicides in London has also fallen by 39 per  cent to 67 in the year ending March 2019.

"That follows a one-year peak in these offences seen last year."

However, the figures show that despite the decline from last year's peak, the latest annual tally of 67 blade deaths in London is higher than for any for any other year since 2008.

Meanwhile, knife crime offences recorded by police in England and Wales hit a record high in 2018/19, up 8 per cent on the previous year. It totalled 47,136 across the two countries.

The 1 per cent rise in knife crime in London over the past year is smaller than the 24 per cent increase recorded in the year ending March 2017 and the 22 per cent rise in the year ending March 2018.

NHS data also released today shows 1,145 admissions to hospital from an assault with a sharp instrument. This is a 5 per cent decrease compared to the previous year.

(1st August 2019)


THE GUARDIAN VIEW ON POLICING YOUTH VIOLENCE : KNIVES ARE A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE
(The Guardian, dated 15th July 2019 author Editorial)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/15/the-guardian-view-on-policing-youth-violence-knives-are-a-public-health-issue

When the Guardian embarked on a project to investigate the rising number of children and teenagers being stabbed in 2017, our reporters expected to encounter people traumatised by extreme violence. The loss of a child or young person is always hard to bear, but when they have died as the result of deliberate aggression, the anger and regret of those left behind can be overwhelming. The series, Beyond the Blade, sought to tell the stories of these victims in more detail than they are usually afforded. It also looked for the patterns that underlay the rise in this form of crime.

The picture that emerged from our reporting and analysis was not the one that any reader conditioned by tabloid news values would have expected. "Knife crime", it turned out, was a problem that had disproportionately affected male black youths in London in 2017. But one of that year's 39 young victims was a baby girl and nationally, over the past decade, most victims have been white. Worryingly, politicians appeared to lack the detailed, in-depth knowledge that would enable them to tackle what remains a fraught and contested area.

Over the past few months, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has begun to address this deficit. The launch of a violence reduction unit modelled on a public health approach pioneered in Chicago, and then applied in Glasgow, was a welcome, if overdue, step. Now ministers have got on board, with the announcement of a national "public health duty" to tackle serious violence, including knife crime. Under the new law, public bodies including councils, NHS trusts and police will be required to share intelligence, with the aim of protecting young people. This obligation placed on organisations replaces an earlier idea of holding individual doctors and teachers directly accountable, and makes much more sense, even if the lack of resources affecting all public services is certain to stymie effective action. Recent figures showed the homicide rate in England and Wales to be at its highest for a decade.

An overly disciplinarian approach has been the bane of crime and justice policies in the UK at least since Margaret Thatcher, with rhetoric about toughness preferred to evidence-based policy for political reasons. The malign effects of such deliberate stupidity include strained relations between police and minority communities who are disproportionately targeted by "stop and search" tactics, overcrowded prisons and a poor record on rehabilitation. A decade of cuts and Chris Grayling's failed probation privatisation have worsened an already bad situation, and the new emphasis on prevention will not reverse these harms.

But the announcement of a public health duty is significant all the same. That's because it reframes youth violence as a problem with causes that go beyond bad choices by individual miscreants. Public health is all about social determinants. In other words, poverty, inequality and the risk factors linked to both: addiction, exclusion from education and recreation, discrimination, domestic violence, unemployment, homelessless and poor housing. Such life experiences can, in turn, make children vulnerable to the drug dealers who prey on them and who have, in a few disturbing cases, been convicted of modern slavery offences. Social media too has been shown to play a role in amplifying petty disputes.

That prevention is better than treatment should go without saying when lives are at stake. That senior police officers including the Metropolitan police commissioner, Cressida Dick, are on board with the new thinking is a positive sign. But progress will only come with renewed investment in communities and education. As long as so many of the gaps created by a combination of budget cuts and deliberate fragmentation of public services remain, vulnerable young people will continue to fall through the cracks.

(1st August 2019)


TONY BLAIR THINK TANK - "CUTS HAVE FUELLED KNIFE CRIME SPIKE"
(Coventry Telegraph, dated 12th July 2019 author James Rodger)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/tony-blair-think-tank-cuts-16570899

Serious violent crime has shot up in the West Midlands because of police cuts and lack of funding for youth services, it has been cliamed.

A new report by think tank the Tony Blair Institute highlights growing crime rates in the region.

The think tank said: "Serious violent crime is at crisis point in the West Midlands. Since 2014, recorded crime has risen by 44 per cent and knife crime has spiked by 75 per cent."

Knife crime recorded by police in the West Midlands region has risen from 2,471 incidents in 2014 to 4,666 incidents in 2018. And total crime in the region rose from 321,569 in 2014 to 463,312 in 2018.

Harvey Redgrave, Senior Policy Fellow at the Tony Blair Institute, said: "The government have lost their grip on crime in England and Wales.

"Fuelled by the supply of harmful drugs, serious violence is now out of control and the police don't have the numbers to deal with it.

"As we've seen, the result has been too few crimes being detected and criminals being prosecuted.

"As a matter of urgency, the government must set out a five year plan to bear down on crime and disrupt the supply of and demand for harmful drugs. That strategy must expand enforcement powers, such as stop and search; review the role of the National Crime Agency in tackling drug supply; and invest in early intervention."

In a new report, the think tank argued that the Home Office, which is responsible for policing, has been uncertain about its role since Police and Crime Commissioners were created in 2012.

It said police funding had been cut, leading to the loss of 20,000 police officer posts across the country. And it highlighted cuts to youth services, which it said damaged attempts to prevent crime.

The think tank said police should have more powers tackle knife possession and drug dealing. And it said the National Crime Agency and local police forces should make it a priority to disrupt harmful drugs markets, such as heroin and crack cocaine.

 The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, said: "I welcome this report by the Tony Blair Institute. Having lost more than 2,000 officers since 2010, because of government cuts, it is high time West Midlands Police is given the resources it needs to tackle rising levels of crime.

"Increasingly the force finds itself being asked to pick up the pieces after years of under investment in areas like youth services and mental health and regularly deals with situations that would never have arisen if investment in early intervention had been prioritised. In regards to drugs, we know that we can't simply arrest our way out of the problem.

"In the West Midlands we are exploring new and innovative ways to help addicts quit, save lives and drive down crime. I'd urge the government to do the same."

A report earlier this year by West Midlands Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Boycott and Assistant Chief Constable Sue Southern, presented to the West Midlands Police Strategic Policing and Crime Board, warned: "Knife crime, including robbery, has steadily increased since the summer of 2015 and there has been an increase in the number of injuries and fatalities amongst the regions young people."

It added: "Analysis has shown that in part knife crime is driven by drug use and supply influenced by serious and organised crime."

Knife and sharp instrument offences recorded by the police for selected offences

2014

Staffordshire Police: 450
Warwickshire Police: 138
West Mercia Police: 324
West Midlands Police: 1,559
Total West Midlands region: 2,471

2018

Staffordshire Police: 704
Warwickshire Police: 257
West Mercia Police: 495
West Midlands Police: 3,210
Total West Midlands region: 4,666

All recorded crime (excluding fraud)

2014

Staffordshire: 59,453
Warwickshire: 27,122
West Mercia: 59,576
West Midlands: 175,418
Total West Midlands region: 321,569

2018

Staffordshire: 84,765
Warwickshire: 41,304
West Mercia: 84,554
West Midlands: 252,689
Total West Midlands region: 463,312

(1st August 2019)


SURGE IN STOP AND SEARCH IN ENGLAND AS POLICE BATTLE KNIFE CRIME
(Guardian, dated 7th July 2019 authors Sarah Marsh and Patrick Greenfield)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/law/2019/jul/07/england-sees-surge-in-stop-and-search-as-police-battle-knife-crime

Police attempts to tackle violent crime have brought about a sharp rise in the use of stop and search powers in some of England's major forces, Guardian analysis reveals.

In findings that critics have described as deeply worrying, data from eight of the country's biggest forces shows the scale of the use of stop and search, which more than doubled from 15,557 instances in March 2017 to 33,022 in March 2019.

In 2018, eight major forces recorded 214,240 stop and searches, a rise from 178,318 in 2017. The Metropolitan police, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands police were behind the surge.

Critics say stop-and-search powers disproportionately target black people and undermine community relations.

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, enhanced section 60 powers in March this year, giving police officers more scope to stop and search people without reasonable suspicion in an attempt to combat knife crime.

The frontrunner for the Conservative leadership, Boris Johnson, has repeatedly pledged to boost police powers to execute stop and searches in an effort to beat knife crime. He told a hustings event last month: "It's about giving police the political cover and support they need to do stop and search and to come down hard on those carrying knives," he said.

David Lammy, the Labour MP for for Tottenham, said: "The deeply worrying rise in stop and search, resulting from deliberate strategic choice by the home secretary, shows a police force on the back foot as a result of vast funding shortfalls resulting from austerity. As Sajid Javid has tacitly admitted during the Tory leadership campaign, the police have been starved of resources since 2010."

Lammy said rather than addressing the root causes of violent crime, such as deprivation, the government had chosen "to pursue a policy that it knows is inherently unfair, unjust and ineffectual".

The MP said rising use of stop and search would further increase tensions in our society and "exacerbate the crisis at a time of unprecedented division".

Omar Khan, the director of the Runnymede Trust, said the re-emergence of these powers was worrying. "We are in a world where most black men will have a family member who has been stopped and searched. I think it will create more tensions in communities - that has always been the case."

Khan said it was particularly worrying that the police did not seem to be listening to those affected by the policy, "discounting them as troublemakers and dismissing the fact that it [stop and search] was racially discriminatory".

Rosalind Comyn, policy and campaigns officer at Liberty, said the rise reflected "a troubling reliance on these powers as a cure-all for serious youth violence, while neglecting the risks they pose".

Adrian Hanstock, the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for stop and search, said it was ultimately "an evidence gathering and safeguarding power".

He said: "In recent months, those forces referenced have increased their use of their section 60 powers, which are intended to prevent violent crime and remove drugs and weapons from our streets, in response to the actual levels of violence being experienced. This is undoubtedly supported by public mandate in the main."

Hanstock said they were evaluating the impact of an increased use of section 60 search powers. The enhanced powers, which the Home Office announced on 31 March, reduced the authorisation required for a section 60 from senior officer to inspector. A lesser degree of certainty was required by the police.

The Guardian sent a freedom of information request to eight of the biggest police forces in England: Greater Manchester, the Metropolitan police, Merseyside, Northumbria, Devon and Cornwall, Thames Valley, West Midlands and West Yorkshire.

Greater Manchester police have reported a rise in the use of stop and search from 2,852 cases in 2017 to 4,831 in 2019. The Met had a rise from 136,647 to 180,991 over the same period.

John Sutherland, a retired borough commander who worked for the Met for more than 25 years, said the debate around stop and search was often reduced to the binary, with people thinking it was either the solution to everything or the route of all evil.

"It has become increasingly difficult to have nuanced, intelligent conversation between those positions, and neither is correct … It has to be more than a binary debate," he said.

He added: "The rise in use in itself is not bad, but it must be used appropriately. We must get beyond the binary … We don't have enough police officers out there and have not used stop and search adequately or sufficiently. And that has been significantly because of the politicisation of the power.

"From both sides of the political spectrum, senior politicians are guilty of politicising an operational power and with significantly damaging consequences."

A Home Office spokesperson said stop and search was an important tool in disrupting crime. "However, nobody should be stopped based on their race or ethnicity, and forces must ensure that officers use these intrusive powers in a way that is fair, lawful and effective."

(1st August 2019)


BRITAIN'S KNIFE CRIME EPIDEMIC - WHICH AREAS HAVE BEEN THE WORST HIT ?
(Mirror, dated 7th July 2019 author Michael Goodier)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/britains-knife-crime-epidemic-areas-17478033

NHS figures show an increase in the frequency of patients admitted to hospital after being assaulted with a knife or another sharp object.

 The number of people hospitalised with knife wounds has reached new heights in England.

Patients were admitted to hospital around 5,024 times after being attacked with a knife or other sharp object last year.

That's up slightly from the 4,986 cases the year before - and up almost a third since 2012/13, when the figures were first recorded.

There were 3,849 cases that year.

The figures were published by NHS Digital, and cover the number of times people were admitted to hospital after being assaulted with a knife or another sharp object in 2018/19.

London saw the most cases - 1,145 - though that was down slightly from the 1,195 the year before.

That was followed by the West Midlands Police area (475), Greater Manchester (330) and West Yorkshire (270).

Merseyside saw 255 cases, South Yorkshire saw 165, and Northumbria saw 150.

The rise was steepest amongst teens, who accounted for 1,012 admissions last year, up around 55% from 656 six years ago.

Of the victims, some 4,632 were male, compared with 389 females.

Some 2,551 victims were white, while 463 were black or black British and 345 were of Asian or Asian British origin.

There were 158 victims of mixed ethnicity, while 1,507 were unknown or of a different ethnic group.

The figures come after the NHS has appointed its first clinical director for violence reduction to help prevent stabbings and other violent crime.

Martin Griffiths was appointed on June 19, and was tasked with finding the root causes of violence and delivering early interventions to help prevent its spread.

He said: "Every day I see the wasted opportunities of young people stuck on hospital wards with life-changing injuries.

"We do everything we can for these patients but don't just want to patch them up and send them back out to be injured again.

"And by working together across the NHS there is more we can do to prevent these attacks happening in the first place.

"I want to build a network that will empower communities across London to challenge the attitudes and behaviours that result in violence."

(1st August 2019)


KNIFE CRIME STRATEGY TOO FOCUSED ON GANGS, SAYS EX-POLICE CHIEF
(BBC News, dated 5th July 2019 author Hannah Richardson)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-48881377

England's knife crime strategy focuses too much on punishing the perpetrators and blaming gangs, a former top police officer has said.

Former Met Police superintendent Leroy Logan suggested the Home Office strategy was not fit for purpose.

It failed to take account of the fear and hopelessness some young people felt, with some not expecting to live past the age of 20, he said.

He told the Youth Select Committee only half of knife crime is linked to gangs.

The former superintendent of Hackney, east London, told the committee, made up of members of the Youth Parliament, he wanted to be "real" based on his 30 years of experience.

'Not about gangs'

"There's a correlation between violence and drug dealing, there always has been.

"But if you look at the data around knife crime you see that less than half of that crime is due to gangs or gang-related violence.

"So you have to say is the strategy being used by the Home Office and regional governments, like the Mayor of London's Office, and even local governments, is it fit for purpose?

"My real issue, out of all this, is the narrative, the narrative that's used on a regular basis, that there's a war on knives and there is a war on drugs, which is true - there is, and we need to be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime.

"But there's an overemphasis on the punitive measures.

"I don't think they recognise that... the young people actually say they are already scared in certain areas.

"There are those who don't care if they live or die, or if anyone else lives or dies, because they don't believe their shelf life goes beyond 20.

"If you've got that mindset you've got a real toxic mixture of urban deprivation and social exclusion. So you need to understand how that has moved on."

He argued that young people needed to feel safe, and that any strategy to tackle this issue had to have young people at the heart of it, because they have the answers.

Mr Logan also blamed austerity, saying early interventions and preventions are no longer happening.

Young people are only receiving safeguarding interventions when they are quite high risk, he said.

Neighbourhood policing and school safety officers have been cut, he said, which reduced the perception of safety among young people.

John Poyton, of charity Redthread, which works with victims of knife crime, agreed knife crime was not all about drugs and gangs and said young people were feeding back this fear of not feeling safe on the streets.

He quoted young people saying "the knife gives you confidence" and "you've got to stick up for yourself, because they come more than one, they come in groups".

"When we focus on gangs and knives and when we encourage the press to lead with stories about youth violence, and show big pictures of knives, there can be a really negative knock-on effect in communities .... and that creates fear."

He added: "The perception of safety is often, I think, that more young people are picking up knives and carrying them because of this sense of fear. When they should be able to feel safe on their streets, they don't.

"We have to therefore tackle the narrative to try to ensure our communities feel safer so that young people don't feel they have to carry a knife."

'Patching up'

The youth committee is holding its first hearing of its new inquiry into the scourge of knife crime in the UK.

Its hearing comes after the Association of Directors of Children's Services published a new discussion paper on serious youth violence and knife crime.

Its president Rachel Dickinson said: "It's not enough to deal with the symptoms of this senseless violence by patching young people up and sending them home without dealing with the underlying, and often interrelated, causes that lead to it in the first place.

"Moreover, stricter laws, longer sentences and the expansion of police powers alone will do nothing to address the underlying social issues which lead to some children and communities being more vulnerable to risk or harm in the first place."

A Home Office spokesperson said early intervention is a key part of its serious violence strategy.

"We are supporting the longer term preventative public health approach including investing more than £220m in projects to turn young people away from a life of crime and have allocated £35m to invest in Violence Reduction Units aimed at tackling the causes of violence.

"Our nationwide #knifefree campaign aims to target young people and uses real stories to provide advice, support and highlights activities to empower young people to change their behaviour."

(1st August 2019)


KIDS AS YOUNG AS 14 SWING UP THEIR OWN KNIFE WOUNDS AND PAYING VETS £200 TO AVOID HOSPITAL
(The Sun, dated 4th July 2019 author Thomas Burrows)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.thesun.co.uk/news/9435243/kids-sewing-knife-wounds-paying-vets-avoid-hospital/

KIDS are using vets or sewing up their own knife wounds to avoid going to hospital, campaigners have warned.

Teens are scared to go to hospital for fear of cops being called which could see them being arrested or investigated.

More than 1,000 10-19 years were admitted to hospital with knife wounds last year.

But with doctors often expected to call cops when they see a stab victim, many teens decide to risk self-medicating rather than going to A&E.

Danny O'Brien, who founded Anti-Knife UK, told the Sun Online: "There is a cottage industry of gang members using somebody who can stitch a wound without that gang member going to hospital.

"Gangs will use a trusted person who they will pay off or a parent who works in a hospital, or even a vet. It's a case of getting hold of sewing material and somebody with medical knowledge.

"This practice goes back many years but it's likely to grow while knife crime and gun crime continues to rise across the country."

Frontline workers who deal with gang violence in Nottingham say they know people who have paid a vet to treat a stab wound.

The "going rate" is said to be £200.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons said vets were not legally allowed to prescribe medicines for humans, but it did not have specific advice on whether they could treat wounds.

Former gang member Marcellus Baz said he knew a qualified vet who stitched up knife wounds.

Mr Baz, who runs an anti-knife crime programme, told the BBC: "They've got to get healed, they've got to get stitched and they know if they go to hospital, they're going to get police involvement."

Another gang leader in Wolverhampton told the Huffington Post: "Vets are private businesses and so you can come to a financial arrangement with one if he's willing to help.

"They tend to have the surgical equipment on hand because they tend to carry out more surgery than a GP would.

"I've also heard of vets and medic students at university being threatened with violence to stitch someone up."

Former gang member Stefan Brown, who runs 'Stop Our Kids Being Killed On Our Streets' told LBC he had seen teens stitch themselves up dozens of times.

He said: "One day a kid is going to die because he's sewn up his own wound in his bedroom, and it's got infected or he's got internal bleeding.

"All because he's too scared to go to the hospital, and that can't be right."

He said kids douse the wound in rum or vodka, tie some thick cotton to a sharp hooked needle which is about two inches long and then sew up their own (or their friend's) stab wounds.

He said he'd also seen superglue used and seen teens take out gunshot pellets with tweezers.

Youth worker Paul McKenzie said: "What you're finding is - and this has come out of the mouth of a few young people I've spoken to - that teenagers actually know people who can stitch [their wounds] up.

"A lot of the knife crimes are not reported because nobody wants to be involved with the police."

Mr McKenzie said as well as the fear of 'snitching' there is a lack of faith an investigation will lead to a prosecution.

AVOIDING HOSPITAL

One medic, who asked to remain anonymous, said he charged £300 to stitch up a man who had been stabbed in the leg multiple times.

He said: "I'm a qualified physiotherapist and have good basic knowledge of anatomy, but I've never worked in the medical industry full-time.

"A few months back I was called by a friend who asked if I could treat a man who'd been seriously stabbed in the leg.

"They brought him to my house in the early hours and I wiped him down with antiseptics and gave him a sedative before stitching his wounds, which were close to a main artery."

Guidance from the General Medical Council says police "should normally be informed" if a person comes to hospital with a gunshot or wound from a knife.

However doctors can decide not to call police if they think no one other than the patient is at risk and that contacting cops may cause more harm or distress.

In schools kids are being taught how to stem bleeding and deliver first aid to knife-crime victims.

Pupils in areas where knife crime is rife are being told what to do if someone has been stabbed.

The charity behind the scheme, Street Doctors, uses role play and visual props to explain the science behind blood loss.

One of the reasons why violence has spread is because of the brutal "county lines trade" where urban dealers force children and other vulnerable people to take drugs to customers in more rural areas.

More than 1,500 county line gangs are believed to operate in Britain, making an estimated £1.8billion annual profit between them.

In London itself, gang warfare is increasingly being driven by a ruthless battle to control the drugs market in a move away from "postcode wars".

Meanwhile campaign groups said cuts to youth facilities has left disillusioned kids with nowhere to hang out, while cuts to front-line policing has seen the number of bobbies on the beat tumble.

(1st August 2019)


KELLY MARY FAUVRELLE - HER BABY DIES
BBC News, dated 3rd July 2019)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-48851364

The baby son of a heavily pregnant woman who was stabbed to death in south London has died.

Kelly Mary Fauvrelle, 26, who was eight months pregnant, died at a house in Raymead Avenue, Croydon, on Saturday.

Her baby - named Riley by Ms Fauvrelle's family - was delivered by paramedics at the scene but died in the early hours of Wednesday.

The news comes as the Metropolitan Police released footage of a man seen running away from the house that night.

Det Ch Insp Mick Norman said the "tragic development makes it even more important that anyone with information comes forward as a matter of urgency".

The CCTV released by Scotland Yard earlier shows a figure walking towards Ms Fauvrelle's home at about 03:15 BST on Saturday, then running away just over 10 minutes later.

Ms Fauvrelle died at the scene but Riley was delivered by paramedics and was initially said to be in a critical condition.

Police were called on Saturday to the house in Thornton Heath over reports of a woman in cardiac arrest.

The Met said it was an "extremely challenging investigation".

Det Ch Insp Norman said officers needed "to identify the man shown in the footage urgently, even if only to eliminate him from our inquiries"

He added that police were aware of "speculation about whether Kelly's attacker was known to her" but said detectives were "not in a position to say and we must retain an open mind".

"One of the key aims of my investigation is to build a complete picture of Kelly's life and the people with whom she was in contact, but I also need to consider other possible scenarios," he said.

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

A 37-year-old man has been released with no further action while a 29-year-old man was bailed until a date in August.

(3rd July 2019)


JUNE 2019


LONDON MURDERS - FOUR KILLED INCLUDING HEAVILY PREGNANT WOMAN IN 24 HOURS OF BLOODSHED ON CAPITALS STREETS
(London Evening Standard, dated 1st July 2019 authors Stephanie Cockcroft and Asher McShane)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/london-violence-four-killed-including-heavily-pregnant-woman-in-24hour-bloodbath-on-the-capitals-a4178836.html

Four people have died in the space of just over 24 hours in a series of violent attacks across London.

A heavily pregnant woman was stabbed to death in the small hours of Saturday morning. Her baby is in critical condition after an emergency procedure at the scene of the stabbing in Croydon.

Around 15 hours later, a man was injured during a fight in Coldharbour lane in Brixton, and died hours later. Just after 11pm last night another man was stabbed to death in a street in Newham.

Then, in the small hours of Sunday morning, an 18-year-old died after a stabbing in Southwark.

Another man is critically injured after a stabbing when an out-of-control rave at a north London housing estate turned violent , with riot police deployed to disperse hundreds of people who had gathered at the scene.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote online today: "The City Hall funded Violent Crime Task Force, a specialist force of @MetPoliceUK officers, have made over 5000 arrests, and removed over 1500 dangerous weapons from our streets in the last year."

After the "horrific" killing of pregnant mother Kelly Mary Fauvrelle, 26, in Croydon, Mr Khan said: "Violence against women has no place in our city, and horrific murders in the home like this show the scale of the problem we face.

"My heart goes out to this innocent child, and to the mother they have so tragically lost. @MetPoliceUK are investigating - please help if you can."

The first incident took place in the early hours of Saturday when Ms Fauvrelle, 26, who was eight months' pregnant, was stabbed to death in Thornton Heath, Croydon .

Scotland Yard officers were called to reports of a woman in cardiac arrest at the house just after 3.30am, where they found Kelly Mary with stab injuries.

She died at the scene. Her child was delivered after the stabbing and is said to be in a critical condition today.

Police said a 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody.

A 37-year-old man who was also arrested has been released under investigation.

Later that day, just before 6pm, police were called to Coldharbour Lane in Brixton to reports of a fight.

Officers found a 54-year-old man injured at the scene.

He was taken to a south London hospital where he was pronounced dead just after 10pm.

The man has not been formally identified, but his next of kin have been informed. A post-mortem examination will be scheduled in due course.

Two arrests have been made in connection with this incident.

Police also said the Directorate of Professional Standards and the Independent Office for Police Conduct had been notified as the man was arrested prior to being taken to hospital.

Later on Saturday, a man thought be in his late 20s was stabbed to death in a street in east London .

Police were called to the junction of Ron Leighton Way and Wakefield Street, Newham, at 11.07pm where they found the man suffering from stab wounds.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. His next of kin have been notified.

A post-mortem examination and formal identification of the victim will take place in due course, Scotland Yard said, adding that a murder investigation had been launched.

In another incident, an 18-year-old man was stabbed to death in Southwark in the small hours of Sunday morning .

Police, who have made three arrests, said they were called to a fight on Sutherland Walk, off the Walworth Road.

They could not trace the victim but he presented himself in hospital with stab injuries, where he later died.

Riot police were also deployed on the streets of London last night to disperse a huge crowd that gathered for an "out of control" rave on a north London housing estate.

When police arrived they were pelted with bottles and other missiles. Officers found a man and woman stabbed at the scene.

The man was rushed to hospital in critical condition. The woman's injuries were said to be non-life threatening.

Police said the NPAS helicopter was deployed along with police dogs. One arrest was made.

The incidents come amid a spate of knife attacks in the capital, with teenager Yusuf Mohamed stabbed to death while trying take cover in a Shepherd's Bush convenience store on Wednesday evening.

Anyone with information should contact police on 101.

(1st July 2019)


THE £19.99 ZOMBIE KNIFE BOUGHT WITH POCKET MONEY TO KILL INNOCENT TEEN
(Mirror, dated 23rd June 2019 authors Helen William and Andy Rudd)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/1999-zombie-knife-bought-pocket-16894972

A 17-year-old boy was stabbed to death with a 15 inch hunting knife which is still available to buy online for just £19.99.

Malcolm Mide-Madariola was murdered outside Clapham South tube station in November

Shockingly 19-year-old Treynae Campbell who supplied the brutal blade to Malcolm's 17-year-old killer had amassed an armoury of 15 weapons bought from the controversial Knife Warehouse website linked to at least one other slaying, the Mail on Sunday reports.

Campbell was last month jailed for 28 months for possessing the weapon but was cleared of murder.

Despite insisting knives can be used for dozens of legitimate purposes and that age checks are in place a previous investigation saw a journalist buy five weapons from the website without needing any ID.

While the Met Police confiscated 30 weapons made by the same manufacturer, Anglo Arms, in just one month.

Malcolm's father Olumide Wole-Madariola, who moved his family to London from Nigeria for a safer life, said: "If this site did not exist, then my son may still be alive today.

"How does [buying 15 knives] not raise a red flag? Why does an inner-city kid from London need all those knives?

"I think the site should be closed down and the man responsible should face the consequences. He shares responsibility for my son's murder. I don't know how he sleeps at night."

But that man, 36-year-old father-of-two Joe Wheeler, defended his website saying he was "extremely careful" with age checks and all products were legal in the UK.

Mr Wole-Madariola, 52, said he was shocked by the indifference of the two youths involved as he smirked at each other through their Old Bailey trial.

He was abroad doing research for a degree when his church-going and football-loving son was killed. His family have moved from the home they shared with Malcolm in Dulwich, south London, to Dartford, Kent, since the killing.

He called for tough sentences on people who are involved in knife crime, and said the parents of youngsters who end up in trouble must also take responsibility for what is happening.

Jurors were told how the killing came two days after an incident at the south London sixth form college where Malcolm was a student.

On November 2, the youth killer looked for Malcolm's friend, claiming he had threatened him with a knife.

A few hours later, there was a confrontation with the victim's group after college outside the tube entrance.

After an exchange of words, the youth drew a long curved blade and stabbed the victim three times before running off and discarding the weapon in a bin, jurors heard.

He is due to be sentenced in July.

(1st July 2019)


KNIFE CRIME - CALL FOR CHURCHES TO PROVIDE SAFE HAVENS
(BBC News, dated 22nd June 2019)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-48731034

Churches should provide safe havens for young people to avoid violence on the street, a south London priest has said.

Reverend Canon Dr Rosemarie Mallett called for churches to open their doors between 15:00 and 18:00 BST "to have a space where young people can come".

The Brixton-based priest said there was "more and more need for spaces in the community" at a time when there is "less and less wrap-around care".

The plan is to be debated at the Church of England's General Synod next month.

More than 100 people have been fatally stabbed in the UK so far this year, with the youngest aged 14 years old.

Dr Mallett, who is a prominent anti-knife crime campaigner, told the BBC churches should be "part of the solution to what is a multi-faceted problem which needs a multi-agency response".

"For secondary school pupils there is a need to provide a safe haven and we're calling on churches to provide that," she said.

Dr Mallett has also called for knife amnesty bins to be placed in churches.

The idea will be discussed at the church's Synod - the national assembly of the Church of England - which will meet at the University of York between 5 and 9 July.

(1st July 2019)


NHS TO SEND SURGEONS INTO SCHOOLS TO COMBAT KNIFE CRIME EPIDEMIC
(Telegraph, dated 19th June 2019 author Laura Donnelly)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/19/nhs-send-surgeons-schools-combat-knife-crime-epidemic/

Surgeons will be sent into schools under NHS plans to combat Britain's epidemic of knife crime.

The health service has appointed its first "violence reduction" tsar in a bid to cut levels of violence, by educating children about the consequences of stabbings.

The radical schemes will also see youth workers helping victims of gang crime while they are still being treated in hospital to help break the cycle of violence 

Simon Stevens, head of the NHS, said hospitals needed to have a "wider role" acting on major issues affecting society, such as knife crime.

The number of teenagers admitted to hospital as a result of stabbings has risen by 55 per cent in six years, with almost 5,000 such admissions last year in England among all age groups.

There were 136 murders in the capital in 2018 - a 38 per cent rise since 2014.

Mr Stevens told a conference in Manchester that the NHS needed to do far more to tackle the "horrific" problems seen in many parts of the country, which have seen children paid to carry out stabbings.

The NHS has appointed Martin Griffiths, a surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust in London, as clinical director for violence reduction in London, with plans to expand the schemes across the country over the next year.

Mr Griffiths has spent the past decade visiting schools to lecture on the dangers of carrying weapons, with youth workers brought into wards to counsel victims of crime, and help them escape gang culture.

In six years, this has reduced the number of young people returning to the hospital with further injuries from 45 per cent to less than 1 per cent.

The surgeon set up the schemes after operating on young knife victims admitted in their school uniforms.

Mr Stevens said other sectors also needed to act to tackle the scourge of knife crime.

He told the NHS Confederation conference: "It's not just the NHS that needs to take action, it is far too easy for young people to buy a knife - zombie knives or kitchen knives. In some cases it is easier to buy a knife than beer. Retailers are going to have to step up."

Mr Griffiths said: "Every day I see the wasted opportunities of young people stuck on hospital wards with life-changing injuries.

"We do everything we can for these patients but don't just want to patch them up and send them back out to be injured again. And by working together across the NHS there is more we can do to prevent these attacks happening in the first place."

Mr Stevens said: "Violent crime destroys lives and as a society we need to do far more to reduce violent crime.

"Martin's commitment to patients doesn't end when they leave hospital and his inspiring work at The Royal London, and in classrooms in the capital, has helped reduce the number of patients who recover only to return again with another gun or knife injury.

"Martin's new role will help us do even more to break the cycle of violence and keep people - particularly young people - safe."

(1st July 2019)


DEADLY KNIFE CRIME - HOW DOES LONDON COMPARE TO NEW YORK ?
(EuroNews, dated 19th June 2019 author Alastair Jamieson)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.euronews.com/2019/06/18/deadly-knife-crime-how-does-london-compare-to-new-york

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked London Mayor Sadiq Khan over knife crime in the British capital, most recently calling him "a disaster" only days after visiting.

The president tweeted that Khan was a "national disgrace" after two teenagers were killed within ten minutes of each other last weekend.

But how does London compare to US cities, and is Trump right to criticise? What data is available to put the president's remarks into context?

Knives vs guns

Trump has made his remarks about knife crime while defending America's gun laws despite mass shootings.

He appeared as a guest at the NRA annual convention in 2018 and spoke about London's tight controls on gun ownership.

"That's right, they don't have guns, they have knives," Trump said, telling his audience of blood-soaked hospital wards. "Knives, knives, knives," he said, making a stabbing motion.

His most recent outburst came with a retweet of a notorious right-wing commentator who previously branded migrants "cockroaches" and who described the British capital as "Stab-City" and "Khan's Londonistan".

But while official statistics show a clear increase in knife crime in London, they also confirm that the murder rate is well below most US cities.

And despite the recent uptick in fatal stabbings, which Khan last week described as "sickening", London's knife murder rate is lower than in Trump's hometown city, New York.

What information is available?

From multiple agencies, including annual census data and population projections, it is possible to obtain a comparable figure for crimes per 100,000 people.

The FBI compiles murder data from across America, while the Office for National Statistics in England and Wales and the Scottish Government compile similar numbers for Britain.

But while the US figures can be broken down by state or administrative region, they do not always correspondent exactly to urban boundaries and the FBI notes that some counties do not report all the information. British figures are also not directly comparable as they are sorted by financial year instead of calendar year as in the US The most recent geographical FBI data is from 2017, while individual police forces have figures as recent as early 2019.

New York Police Department keeps a searchable database of murders by category. London's Metropolitan Police also provides data on knife crime and murders but does not provide a specific tally of knife-murders. Instead, third parties such as website Murdermap collate numbers based on individual deaths.

Other potential flaws in comparisons include annual fluctuations caused by major terror attacks and geographical anomalies.

In New York, the wider metropolitan area is larger bigger than the five boroughs covered by the NYPD - although the city's official population is very similar to London's. In London, Metropolitan Police crime data also excludes the City of London, the small historical administration of the mostly financial district which has its own police force.

The FBI notesthat rankings of crime by city and county "provide no insight into the numerous variables" affecting local crime and lead to "simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents."

Since aggregated murder data also includes non-negligent manslaughter, homicide rates can also be affected year-to-year by court judgements and the rulings of public inquiries into disasters.

What is the most recent US-UK picture?

There were 17,284 homicides in the US in 2017, giving a rate of 5.3 per 100,000. In Britain, there were 785 in financial year 2017/18 - the nearest equivalent time period - giving a rate of 1.8 per 100,000, some three times lower.

Within this, there were 285 knife murders in England and Wales in 2017/18 - the highest number since the Second World War - and 34 in Scotland, giving a combined British rate of 0.48 per 100,000. In the US, the number for 2017 was 1,591, giving an almost identical rate of 0.49. So even amid a spike in British knife crime, Americans as a whole are at least as likely as to die from a stabbing.

What is the most recent New York-London picture?

More recent police data is available for both cities, including a direct comparison for the calendar year 2018. The official estimated population of New York was 8,398,748 at July 1, 2018, and 9,006,352 for London.

The NYPD murder total for the year was 295 - less than half the figure for 2001 and a fraction of 2,200 victims counted in 1990 - giving a rate of 3.5 per 100,000. In London, there were 136, giving a rate of 1.5, so New York remains twice as deadly despite a successful decades-long crime crackdown.

Within this, there were 76 homicides attributed to cutting or stabbing in New York - the exact same number as in London, according to data from Murdermap. But New York's rate is slightly higher, at 0.9 compared to 0.8 in London. It means the Big Apple is still deadlier for knife attacks, but the pattern of recent years suggests that could be reversed very soon.

(1st July 2019)


FIRST NHS VIOLENCE REDUCTION CHIEF IS LEADING LONDON SURGEON WHO SAVES STABBING VICTIMS
(London Evening Standard, dated 19th June 2019 author Ross Lydall)

Full Article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/london/top-surgeon-named-as-first-violence-reduction-chief-to-help-tackle-stabbings-and-shootings-in-london-a4171151.html

A top surgeon has been appointed the NHS's first clinical director for violence reduction in a bid to tackle London's epidemic of stabbings and shootings.

Martin Griffiths, a consultant trauma surgeon at the Royal London hospital, has spent a decade going into schools to warn pupils of the dangers of knife crime after the fatal stabbing of a family member.

At the Royal London in Whitechapel, one of the capital's four major trauma centres, he and colleagues perform life-saving operations, some on victims arriving in their school uniforms.

Today's announcement is part of a wider "public health" approach to tackling violence in London by identifying the root causes of crime and intervening early to prevent its spread. Mr Griffiths said: "Every day I see the wasted opportunities of young people stuck on hospital wards with life-changing injuries.

"We do everything we can for these patients but don't just want to patch them up and send them back out to be injured again. By working across the NHS there is more we can do to prevent these attacks happening in the first place.

"I want to build a network that will empower communities across London to challenge the attitudes and behaviours that result in violence."

He will work part-time to enable him to remain on the NHS frontline.

Almost 5,000 people were admitted to the Royal  London in 2018/19 after being attacked with a  knife or sharp object, up almost a third on 2012/13. Teenagers accounted for 1,012 admissions last year, compared with 656 six years ago. 

The Royal London has pioneered a scheme, involving emergency department staff and the St Giles Trust charity, to intervene while young victims are in hospital.

In the past six years, the number returning with further injuries has fallen from 45 per cent to less than one per cent.

Last year Mr Griffiths challenged Donald Trump when the US president said the Royal London was like a "war zone" with "blood all over the floors"  due to the number of knife victims.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens praised Mr Griffiths for his "inspiring work".

He added: "If this initiative works we would like to see it rolled out in all regions."

(1st July 2019)


POLICE STOP AND SEARCH IS WORKING IN LONDON, SAYS ANTI-VIOLENCE CHIEF
(Guardian, dated 18th June 2019 author Libby Brooks)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jun/18/police-stop-and-search-working-london-anti-violence-chief-lib-peck

The head of London's newly formed violence reduction unit has said Londoners feel powerless about levels of street crime but insisted that increased use of stop and search powers had been successful.

Lib Peck, the former leader of Lambeth council who was appointed to the role in January, made the comments while on a two-day fact-finding trip to Glasgow, visiting some of the Scottish unit's key projects and meeting senior officials.

Set up in 2005, Glasgow's VRU famously treated violence as a public health issue and reduced stabbing deaths while unravelling the deeply rooted gang culture in a city which at the time had the second highest murder rate in western Europe.

Responding to the recent wave of violence that left four people dead in the capital, Peck said: "It does mean people feel a bit hopeless about the situation that we're in and feel incredibly sad and powerless. But what we also know is that we've got to do things differently. To that extent the London VRU is copying some of the work that the Glasgow VRU is doing and looking at things in a much longer term perspective."

Peck said new stop and search powers have been successful after a five-fold increase in their use over the past year.

At the beginning of June, the Metropolitan police deputy commissioner, Sir Steve House, told the London assembly police and crime committee that the number of stop and searches under section 60 powers, which allow the police to search people in a designated area without suspicion, had increased from 1,836 in 2017-18 to 9,599 in 2018-19.

House faced criticism in his previous role at head of Police Scotland in 2015, when figures emerged showing excessive use of informal powers to search people, including tens of thousands of children, without any evidence they had committed a crime.

Independent monitoring has found that stop and search powers disproportionately target black people.

Peck said: "There's a combination of enforcement as well as long term prevention work that has to go hand in hand. Stop and search has been successful in terms of the numbers of weapons it has revealed, and it is worth noting that violence has started to come down in London not that there's any complacency around that."

She added: "I do think there is something around making sure you've got the trust of communities who are absolutely critical to successful violence prevention work. And you've got to be very aware of the impact of stop and search on those communities".

The co-founders of Scotland's VRU have previously described the benefits of their arms-length relationship with politicians, and of being able to start their work away from the media glare.

Accepting that the intensity of public, political and media scrutiny around knife crime in London makes her role very different, Peck said: "It makes it more difficult but I do think it's all about building confidence in what we're trying to do. There are huge number of organisations across London doing schemes which are making a positive difference. There is a huge appetite from the public not to see violence become the norm, as there is across the whole of England, it's not just a London phenomenon."

Peck's visit took place as the home secretary, Sajid Javid, announced he was giving £35m from the £100m serious violence fund announced by the government in March to police and crime commissioners in 18 local areas to set up their own local violence reduction units.

Niven Rennie, director of Scotland's VRU acknowledged that stop and search was "an emotive issue" in London and emphasised the need for local engagement to avoid the situation where "people think they are being searched for the sake of it because they happen to be black".

He added that a key element of the VRU's early work in Glasgow was "you can't have enforcement without search".

"What I say to Lib and her colleagues is that you have to stop people dying before you can start making improvements, and then prevention comes after that."

While Scotland's VRU has no official affiliation with the London unit, its team regularly hosts visits from other parts of the UK and beyond.

Rennie said: "When I go down south I get all the time 'it's different down here, it's drugs and race, but if you raise it up to strategic level it's poverty and exclusion. All the social factors that you associate with city present in violence. If we get tied up with the differences, we won't make much progress."

QUICK GUIDE - Knife crime in the UK

What is the scale of the problem?

Police chiefs have described the recent spate of knife crime as 'a national emergency'. In the first two months of 2019 there were 17 homicides in London alone, where 35% of all knife crimes are committed.

The number of NHS England admissions among people aged 10-19 with knife wounds has risen 60% in five years, surpassing 1,000 last year.

The number of knife and offensive weapon offences in England and Wales have risen to their highest level for nearly a decade, with the number of cases dealt with by the criminal justice system up by more than a third since 2015.

Figures on sentences handed out for such crimes, published by the Ministry of Justice, showed there were 22,041 knife and weapon offences formally dealt with by the criminal justice system in the year ending March 2019. This is the highest rate since 2010, when the number was 23,667.

What happens to people caught with knives?


In the year ending March 2019, 37% of knife and offensive weapon offences resulted in an immediate custodial sentence, compared with 22% in 2009, when the data was first published. The average length of the custodial sentences rose to the longest in a decade, from 5.5 months to 8.1 months.

Are younger people more at risk of being involved in knife crime?


The MoJ figures revealed that the number of juvenile offenders convicted or cautioned for possession or threats using a knife or offensive weapon increased by almost half (48%) between the year ending March 2015 and the year ending March 2019.

The increase in adult offenders over the same period was smaller, at 31%. However, adult offenders still accounted for 74% of the total increase in cautions and convictions received for those offences in that period.

What are the government doing about knife crime?

In March 2019 chancellor, Philip Hammond, handed an extra £100m to police forces in England and Wales after a spate of fatal stabbings led to a renewed focus on rising knife crime and police resources.

In the same month more than 10,000 knives were seized and 1,372 suspects arrested during a week-long national knife crime crackdown. Officers carried out 3,771 weapons searches, during which 342 knives were found. Another 10,215 were handed in as part of amnesties.

A new Offensive Weapons Act was passed in May 2019, making it illegal to possess dangerous weapons including knuckledusters, zombie knives and death star knives. It also made it a criminal offence to dispatch bladed products sold online without verifying the buyer is over 18.

(1st July 2019)


LIVERPOOL TEENAGERS "PAID MONEY TO STAB OTHER YOUTHS"
(BBC News, dated 17th June 2019 authors Matthew Price and Lyla Wright)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-48647788

eenagers are being offered up to £1,000 by gang leaders in Liverpool to stab other youngsters, the BBC has learned.

Bounties are being paid by "elders" who want to avoid carrying out the attacks themselves, young people have told the BBC Beyond Today podcast.

The claims have been linked to at least one recent stabbing.

Merseyside Police said it was aware organised crime groups used violence to settle disputes.

In a statement the force did not directly address the teenagers' claims.

But it said gangs were known to exploit "young and vulnerable people to sell... drugs and even to use violence".

The teenagers, who wish to remain anonymous because they fear reprisals, said: "Young kids are getting money put on their heads."

One boy told the BBC that his best friend was the target of a £1,000 bounty.

He said a group attacked the victim, who then needed treatment in hospital. Two teenagers then split the bounty.

He said people would go to watch "straighteners" - a fight arranged to resolve a dispute - where people were "getting stabbed".

He added that senior gang members have said: "Here's five ton [£500] each - go and do it."

"And they'll go and do it because they'll think, if I do this, then I'll get more money and I'll get more respect from the elders."

Last year, Merseyside Police had one of the biggest increases in recorded knife offences with a 35% rise, according to official statistics.

The force recorded 1,231 offences involving a knife in 2018.

Alan Walsh, a youth worker who runs the city-wide campaign Real Men Don't Carry Knives, said he was "still shocked" at the bounty claims.

Other gang members in Liverpool have recently confirmed to him there have been other similar cases.

"Has it got to that stage where it's like going back to gladiators," he said. "The arena is the streets and we're putting a bounty up?"

Former probation officer James Riley, who has worked in Liverpool for 18 years and teaches children about the risks of getting involved in gangs, said the bounty issue had traditionally only ever been linked to gun crime in the city.

But there had been a recent shift towards rewards for a person who uses and attacks with a knife, he added.

One of the main reasons for the bounties is so senior gang members can avoid punishments, Mr Riley said.

"The 'elders' want to distance themselves - they want to avoid arrest.

"They don't want to get their hands dirty - they know there's this continuous stream of young people out there who they can exploit."

'Still gobsmacked'

Last week, figures showed that 22,041 knife or weapon offences were recorded in England and Wales in the past year - the highest number since 2010.

One in five of those convicted or cautioned were aged between 10 and 17, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Mr Walsh, who works in Anfield, said: "I'm still gobsmacked that they have this thing where, at that tender age, they'll put a bounty on other kids' heads.

"I hope to God it's not a trend that takes off."

(1st July 2019)


137 CHILDREN AGED 10 AND 11 HAVE BEEN CAUGHT WITH KNIVES IN LONDON SCHOOLS
(London Evening Standard, dated 10th June 2019 author Anthony France and Scott Hesketh)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/137-children-aged-10-and-11-caught-with-knives-in-london-schools-a4163551.html

More than 130 children aged 10 and 11 have been caught with knives or used them to commit violence in London schools in the past four years, the  Standard can reveal.

Fourteen of the 137 were girls found with weapons on primary or secondary school premises, in new evidence of the capital's knife crime epidemic.

Between January 2015 and April this year, 26 boys and three girls aged 10 were suspects in "weapon-based" crimes. A further 97 boys and 11 girls aged 11 were identified as offenders over the same period, according to Scotland Yard figures released under a Freedom of Information request.

In total, there were 1,562 suspects aged 10 to 16, with offending peaking at 14 for boys and girls.

Met data shows 1,576 crimes involving weapons at schools in the capital, ranging from possession of a knife to wounding. Thirteen involved possessing a firearm and there was one allegation of attempted murder. The vast majority of suspects were aged under 17.

Police charged 208 with offences including attempted murder, possessing weapons and firearms and wounding. Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT union, warned that the statistics showed schools must adopt a "zero tolerance" approach to blades. She said: "Pupils and staff must be  protected from weapons being brought into schools. Schools should send out strong messages to pupils and the community that they operate a zero-tolerance approach to this and will report all incidents to the police.

"It must be remembered that tackling the problems of violence and knife crime cannot be left to schools alone, they are issues which have their roots in wider society."

Scotland Yard chief Cressida Dick has said knife crime fuelled by drugs is at its worst level in her 35-year career.

To highlight the problem, police released images of blades seized from children under 16 in just two months. Last year 135 people were murdered or unlawfully killed in London - the highest total since 2008. So far in 2019, there have been more than 50 killings.

Theresa May and Home Secretary Sajid Javid faced a backlash in April over plans to make schools, hospitals and police forces accountable for preventing and tackling violence. Under the proposals, they would be required by law to report children feared to have been caught up in violence.

Scotland Yard said: "We are working hard to tackle crime in schools. Our Safer Schools Officers work with schools to build good relationships between the police, children, staff and parents." The Met said schools are offered knife arches to deter blade- carrying, and over the past 18 months City Hall has funded 300 knife wands.

Pupils concerned about knife crime who feel unable to speak to police can give information to Crimestoppers' anonymous website, fearless.org.

Anti-knife crime campaigner Dr Mark Prince set up the Kiyan Prince Foundation after his 15-year-old son, a talented footballer with QPR's youth academy, was murdered outside his school in Edgware in May 2006.

Mr Prince OBE said: "These figures will be shocking to a lot of people. But the education system we currently have creates more criminality. Behind every statistic is a young person's life. Many caught with knives will be expelled, then sent to pupil referral units where they are groomed by gang members. After that, the road leads straight to Feltham young offenders institution. These youngsters need leadership."

Class Violence

Suspects aged 10 to 16 in "weapon-based" crime at London schools (January 2015 to April 2019)

Boys : (n), Girls : [n]

Age

10 : (26) [3]
11 : (97) [11]
12 : (174) [37]
13 : (195) [52]
14 : (306) [104]
15 : (298) [44]
16 : (180) [35]

(1st July 2019)


CHILDREN ARE TO GET EXTRA LESSONS TO STEER THEM AWAY FROM KNIFE CRIME
(Daily Mail, dated 6th June 2019 author Sophie Borland)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7110003/Children-extra-lessons-steer-away-knife-crime-gang-culture.html?ito=rss-flipboard

School pupils are to be given extra lessons on knife crime ahead of a possible surge in violence over the summer holidays.

Children aged 11 to 16 will be taught the importance of having good role models instead of being influenced by gang leaders.

The lesson plans which were sent out to 20,000 teachers yesterday are the latest Home Office initiative to curb the youth knife crisis.

Knife crime is at record levels and with a total of 40,829 offences reported by police last year, a 6 per cent increase on 2017.

Separate hospital data has shown that 347 under-16s were taken to A&E with stab wounds in 2017/18, up from 180 in 2012-13.

Yet lessons on knife crime were first rolled out by the Home Office last summer, before the violence peaked, and appear to have had limited impact.

These new lessons will contain new content on the importance of having good role models, for example youth workers or sports coaches.

The Government is preparing for another surge in violence over the summer holidays with gangs of teenagers roaming the streets with little to do.

Victoria Atkins, Home Office minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability said: 'Early intervention is a key part of our Serious Violence Strategy and it's vital that we give young people the tools and resilience to keep themselves safe over the summer holidays.

'I'm pleased that our current lessons on knife crime have proved successful and that we are able to strengthen them even further, and I'd like to thank every teacher who has taken the time to deliver them.'

Jonathan Baggaley, chief executive of the Personal, Social, Health and Economic Association, the national body for personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education which has helped draw up the lesson plans, said: 'These new materials are designed to challenge inaccurate perceptions about knife crime, help young people develop the confidence to resist pressure to carry knives, and to recognise positive role models. We encourage all schools to download and deliver these free materials.'

(1st July 2019)


SCHOOLS IN ENGLAND TO GIVE EXTRA LESSONS ON DANGERS OF KNIVES
(Guardian, dated 5th June 2019 author Sally Weale)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/education/2019/jun/05/schools-in-england-to-give-extra-lessons-on-dangers-of-knives

Pupils in schools in England are to be given additional lessons before the summer holidays warning them of the dangers of carrying knives.

Children at risk of knife crime are known to be vulnerable during the long summer break, especially if they have time on their hands and, with the schools shut, have no safe space. Campaigners say that, due to government cuts to youth services, there is also a shortage of activities for young people during the six-week holiday.

The new hour-long sessions, intended for pupils aged from 11 to 16, will attempt to challenge the myths surrounding knife possession. Real-life case studies will be used to help youngsters resist the pressure to carry a weapon. such as the story of Dean, a teenager who was arrested for carrying a knife but then turned his life around after getting help from a local support centre.

The lessons, which have been drawn up by the Home Office in collaboration with teachers and the Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Association, build on existing school curriculum information on knife crime, which was first introduced last year.

Pressure has been mounting on schools to help tackle the recent rise in knife crime among young people. Between March 2017 and March 2018, there were 285 killings using a knife or sharp instrument in England and Wales - the highest number since Home Office records began in 1946. The number has risen four years in a row after a long-term decline.

Victoria Atkins, minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, said: "Early intervention is a key part of our serious violence strategy, and it's vital that we give young people the tools and resilience to keep themselves safe over the summer holidays."

The St Giles Trust SOS project works with young people exposed to, or at risk of, violence and exploitation by gangs. One of its members, Pablo, said the summer holiday period was a particularly risky time for vulnerable youngsters.

He added: "If you've got a lot more time on your hands and a lack of direction, that can make a young person more vulnerable. In the summer holidays young people will be outside, they will be exposed to a lot more influences from older gang members who are looking for the most vulnerable people to groom, recruit and exploit."

He said young people needed signposting to positive alternative activities to keep them engaged and in a safe space during the long summer break, but because of austerity cuts there were fewer activities available to keep them out of trouble.

Last month, the all-party parliamentary group on knife crime revealed data from more than 100 councils showing cuts to youth services of up to 91%, and claimed that areas that had seen the larger increases in knife crime had suffered the largest cuts to spending on young people.

Jonathan Baggaley, chief executive of the PSHE Association, said: "These new materials are designed to challenge inaccurate perceptions about knife crime, help young people develop the confidence to resist pressure to carry knives, and recognise positive role models."

The lessons have been sent to 20,000 PSHE teachers. The existing teaching materials, which were first introduced in July last year, were downloaded more than 14,000 times by schools.

(1st July 2019)


STOP AND SEARCHES IN LONDON UP FIVEFOLD UNDER CONTROVERSIAL POWERS
(Guardian, dated 4th June 2019 author Simon Murphy)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/law/2019/jun/04/stop-and-searches-in-london-soar-after-police-powers-widened

Scotland Yard's attempt to tackle violent crime in London has prompted a five-fold increase in the number of stop and searches under controversial powers, figures reveal.

Searches under section 60 had increased in the capital from 1,836 in 2017-18 to 9,599 in 2018-19, the Metropolitan police deputy commissioner, Sir Steve House, told the London assembly police and crime committee on Tuesday.

The number of authorised section 60 orders - which allow police to search anyone in an area if they anticipate serious violence - went up by 219% in the same period.

House told the committee: "I think we use it far more assertively than before, but I think it is an appropriate use. They are authorised either in anticipation of serious violence or immediately after serious violence."

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, enhanced section 60 powers earlier this year, giving police more power to stop and search people without "reasonable suspicion" in an attempt to combat knife crime.

Critics say stop-and-search powers disproportionately target black people and undermine community relations. Katrina Ffrench, the chief executive of StopWatch, which campaigns for fair and effective policing, told the Guardian the figures were concerning.

"Black men are eight or nine times more likely, nationally, to be stopped than their white counterparts, so there's a racial unfairness in not everyone being treated equally.

"What that then does is foster tension and frustration that you're viewed with such suspicion. While most people who aren't impacted by stop and search think it's just a five-minute stop, actually it can be up to 40 minutes and mean you're late for work."

Gracie Bradley, the policy and campaigns manager at Liberty, said: "Race discrimination in stop and search is rising, and is at its worst under suspicionless powers. Research shows there is no significant link between ethnicity and knife crime and that prohibited items are found across all ethnicities at similar rates.

"Stop and search without suspicion is a recipe for state abuse of power and does untold damage to communities' trust in fair policing. It is the antithesis of the targeted, considered and accountable policy interventions that we really need to address complex problems such as youth violence over the long term."

The enhanced powers, announced by the Home Office on March 31, reduced the authorisation required for a section 60 from a senior officer to inspector. They also lowered the degree of certainty required by police officers; they must believe only that serious violence "may", rather than "will", occur.

Asked if he thought the current powers were sufficient, House told the committee: "I think we are seeing, due to the use of stop and search, a greater awareness among people who might be likely to carry knives, that they might be stopped and searched and therefore I do hope they would leave the knife at home and stop carrying knives.

"That's the motive behind stop and search. I believe we have what we need at the moment."

Homicides were down about 30% year-on-year and knife crime injuries for under-25-year-olds were down nearly 20%, although knife crime as a whole remained flat, he told the committee.

(1st July 2019)


MORE THAN 10,000 KNIVES SEIZED IN A WEEK IN NATIONAL KNIFE CRIME CRACKDOWN
(Wales Online, dated 30th May 2019 authors Margaret Davis and Kirsty Bosley)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.walesonline.co.uk/news/uk-news/more-10000-knives-seized-week-16349899

More than 10,000 knives were seized and 1,372 suspects arrested during a week-long national knife crime crackdown.

All police forces in England and Wales joined Operation Sceptre for seven days of activity including weapons sweeps, knife amnesties and targeted stop-and-search between March 11 and 17.

Officers carried out 3,771 weapons searches, during which 342 knives were found. Another 10,215 were handed in as part of amnesties.

During the week 1,926 stop and searches were carried out, leading to 136 knife-related arrests.

Of the total 1,372 suspects detained, 516 were for knife crimes.

Test purchases were also carried out at 689 shops, with 130 (19%) failing and selling a knife to someone under-18.

All 43 police forces in England and Wales as well as British Transport Police took part in the crackdown.

National Police Chiefs' Council Lead for Knife Crime, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Duncan Ball, said: "Operation Sceptre brought together all 44 police forces in England and Wales in a co-ordinated effort to take knives off our streets and bring those intent on using them for violence to justice.

"The increase in knife crime in recent months and years is very concerning and as a society we have a responsibility to act.

"Police officers work incredibly hard all year round to make our communities safer but this operation sends a clear message that there are consequences for carrying a knife or selling one illegally to a child.

"Police officers will work with other agencies to consider what support those arrested need to prevent them picking up a knife again.

"Police cannot tackle violence alone and this week of intensification involved work with schools, charities, the health service, Trading Standards and communities to eradicate knife crime and keep people safe."

The number of knife crime offences recorded by police is at its highest since 2011, and rose by 6% last year.

Victoria Atkins, Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, said £220million is being invested in projects to steer young people away from crime.

(1st June 2019)


THE VIOLENT TERMS PEOPLE ARE SEARCHING FOR ONLINE
(BBC News, dated 26th May 2019 author Danny Shaw)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48398641

That was the claim in the Home Office's serious violence strategy, published in April 2018.

The document says threats of violence, gang recruitment and drug dealing are glamorised and promoted, particularly in videos.

But how serious is the problem?

A social enterprise specialising in countering violent extremism has monitored search engine queries and online video content relating to violence.

Anonymised search traffic data was gathered from people in England, Scotland and Wales between 27 April and 12 May.

The results provide a fascinating, but disturbing, insight into how the internet and social media may be shaping and fuelling young people's interest in knives, gangs and guns.

Zombie knife

According to the findings, there were 22,169 searches indicating "engagement with or vulnerability to serious violence".

Among the most searched-for terms were "stab vest", "bulletproof vest" and "zombie knife", with London and the West Midlands logging the most searches as a proportion of the population.

Terms being searched for online (Source : Moonshot CVE)

Number of searches in anonymised data (27th April - 12th May)

Stab vest/s : 9,267
Bulletproof vest : 4,013
Zombie knife : 3,066
Hidden knife : 1,814
Rambo knife : 1,177
Credit card knife : 691
Stabbing video/s : 422
Gang life : 230
Knife gloves : 192
Stabproof clothing : 109
Knife defence : 81
Buy acid : 79
Covert stab vest : 75
Die from stabbing : 64
Stabproof jacket : 62
Join a gang : 58
Gang initiation : 58
Surviving at stabbing : 55
Concealed knife : 51
Where to stab : 45

Researchers placed the searches in different categories.

More than 13,600 were classed as "crisis" with search terms such as "I have been stabbed", "how to survive being stabbed" and "first-aid for stab wound".

Some 7,500 searches were in the grouping, "violent intent". They included "best knife to fight", "where to stab" and "buy machete".

More than 900 concerned "engagement", with people wanting to find out about gangs. A small number, just 110, were in the "diversion" category, which indicated an interest in getting out of gangs.

Analysts explained to me the technique they'd used to collect the data but asked to keep it confidential so as to avoid skewing future surveys and research.

Stabbing victims in 2019

One hundred people have been fatally stabbed in the UK so far this year. The motives and circumstances behind the killings have varied - as have the age and gender of the victims.

Catriona Scholes, who led the project for Moonshot CVE, says although some searches over the 16-day period were likely to be "false positives", with people looking up information for legitimate purposes, the conclusions are invaluable.

"We can use this data to better inform police and civil society when engaging with this issue in their local area," she says.

"We can also use it to produce reactive counter-content that engages with the narratives that are leading people into violence."

The study also analysed a sample of 20 videos uploaded to YouTube between January 2018 and May 2019 which, analysts say, either "incite or encourage" violence.

The videos received 2.5 million views and 20,500 comments, likes or shares.

More than three-quarters of the films depicted people being provoked into violence. Half showed threats of violence with a named target and in a third there were "criminal acts".

What videos are at-risk audience watching ? (Source : Moonshot CVE)

- Verbal altercation : 25%
- Threats of violence : 50%
- Provocation of violence : 79%
- Humiliation of another : 29%
- Criminal acts : 33%
- Acts of violence : 17%

According to the research, the vast majority of those watching the videos were male, with two-thirds under 25.

"We found that the people who post this footage typically post the original live video on Snapchat and Instagram before later re-uploading it to YouTube, thereby maximising the lifespan and reach of their content," says Scholes, a former Metropolitan Police officer.

"It demonstrates clear intent not merely to share a post with friends, but to encourage a culture of violence among as many people as possible," she adds.

Moonshot says the findings should spark a nationwide campaign with targeted messaging and online advertising services to provide search engines with alternative, credible content to challenge "harmful" narratives.

It's also calling for off-line help to be made available for those who may be at risk, bringing "social work into the online space".

Online searches for violent content
(Source : Moonshot CVE)
Regional breakdown of search volume weighted by population

Searches per capita : 1=Low, 6=High

- East of England : 4
- London : 6
- Midlands (East) : 4
- Midlands (West) : 5
- North East : 2
- North West : 4
- Scotland : 3
- South East : 4
- South West : 4
- Wales : 3
- Yorkshire : 3

The research is well-timed.

The government is half-way through a consultation period on proposals for what it hopes will be a "world-leading package of online safety measures", one of which involves ensuring users exposed to violent material are directed to support.

There are also plans for a statutory duty of care to make technology companies and social media providers take more responsibility for online safety, with the measures enforced by an independent regulator.

It'll be months, probably a year or two, before such a system is in place.

The results of this study suggest it can't come soon enough.

(1st June 2019)


SCORE WARS - KNIFE GANGS KEEPING  "SCOREBOARD" OF VIOLENCE WITH 50 POINTS FOR STABBING IN THE HEAD
(The Sun, dated 23rd May 2019 author Holly Christodoulou_

Full article [Option 1]:

www.thesun.co.uk/news/9137332/knife-gangs-scoring-system-stabbings/

GANGS are keeping a gruesome "scoreboard" system to reward each other for knifing rivals to death - with a maximum 50 points for stabbing in the head.

Thugs can also get lower points for slashing someone in the chest or stomach in the grisly game, which gang members brag about in drill music videos.

At least two deaths have been linked to gangs who boast about using the sick scoring system but many more are feared to have fallen victim to the dangerous game.

It comes after The Sun exclusively revealed how teens were using the system to earn credit among gangs as knife crime continues to spiral out of control in the UK.

The Tally Up challenge is already being linked to attacks - with a stabbing to the head scoring 50 points, the chest 30 points and the stomach 20 points, with ten awarded for a leg wound and five for an arm.

The craze is spreading through Snapchat and Instagram as well as being referenced in drill rap videos.

Bloody evidence of Tally Up was seen last month in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, where a victim was stabbed in the head, chest and arms. A police source said: "This was a points score for the game.

"The head is the most points you can get which is why it was targeted but the fear is it will lead to more lives than ever being lost."

VICTIMS OF GRUESOME GAME

Now a Sky News probe has found 17-year-old Rhyhiem Barton, who was shot dead in Kennington in May last year, had previously rapped about "the scoreboard" in a music video for the Moscow 17 gang.

The teen had appeared in a music video that included the lyrics "check the scoreboard" with repeated references to people getting "splashed" - street slang for stabbed.

He was gunned down and killed by thugs armed with a shotgun in one of five tit-for-tat shootings in London that weekend.

His distraught mum, who had previously sent Rhyhiem to live with relatives in Jamaica following an earlier stabbing, had to wash his blood from the pavement.

A month later, Tavis Spencer-Aitkens was knifed to death in Ipswich after his killers rapped about the system in a video posted online.

The 17-year-old was friends with a gang known as The Three and was attacked by rivals J-Block, who knifed him 15 times.

KNIFE CRIME EPIDEMIC

Five members of the violent gang have now been caged for a total of more than 100 years after it emerged some of the killers had appeared in YouTube rap video which referred to "scoring points".

The Sun found references to "Tally Up" and "Scores" in drill raps with videos of street violence shared online.

One lyric, relating to a shooting, said: "Bang, bang, I made the street messy. Bang, bang and I don't feel sorry for his mum.

"Gang sh** Still drillin' - check the scores. Tally Up."

Another rap about a stabbing goes: "We up five, matter fact boy we up six. Scoring up not a sh**. Ni**as no. Shellin, sh** den, splash the streets for scores."

Knife crime has continued to spiral out of control in Britain with at least 100 people stabbed to death in the UK so far this year.

The chilling figures reveal there has been one fatal stabbing every 1.45 days so far this year in England and Wales.

And knife crime rose by an average of 45.7 per cent in 34 English and Welsh counties between 2010 and 2018.

(1st June 2019)


YVETTE COOPER ACCUSES GOVERNMENT OF FAILING TO "GRIP" SCALE OF COUNTRY'S KNIFE CRIME CRISIS
(Yorkshire Evening Post, dated 8th May 2019 author Grace Hammond)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/crime/yorkshire-mp-yvette-cooper-accuses-government-of-failing-to-grip-scale-of-country-s-knife-crime-crisis-1-9756697

A West Yorkshire MP has accused the Government of failing to "grip" the scale of the knife crime crisis.

Yvette Cooper, who chairs the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said she was "baffled" that the Home Office did not appear to have a "basic" assessment of the number of young people at risk.

The Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford flagged up her concerns during an evidence session with the minister for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, Victoria Atkins, and a senior Government official.

Ms Cooper told them: "I'm baffled that when you have something as serious as this ... that you don't have a basic assessment of the number of young people who are at risk.

"The biggest challenge to you is not that individual things you are doing might not be worthwhile, it's that you just have no grip on the scale of the problem."

Ms Atkins told the committee that her department does use data, such as to pinpoint where resources for tackling knife crime should be allocated.

She said: "There are different measures and my officials spend a great deal of time looking at those measures to see what's happening on the ground and what's being done locally."

Ministers and police have come under sustained pressure over the response to serious violence.

Earlier this year, there were warnings of a "national emergency" following a spate of killings.

Figures published last month showed police in England and Wales recorded 40,829 offences involving knives or sharp objects in 2018, the highest number since comparable data started in 2010/11.

The number of homicides last year, 732, was the highest for any calendar year since 2007.

The Government says it is boosting police funding by more than £1bn, including council tax and money specifically earmarked for tackling serious violence.

Ms Atkins also noted that forces have financial reserves.

She told the committee: "Yes of course you've got to keep a buffer for emergencies, but if the taxpayer has given you money to spend on policing, please spend it."

The Government today announced that the final part of a £100m fund to combat serious violence has been allocated.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said £12.4m will be distributed to 18 forces dealing with high levels of violent crime.

He said: "This money means forces can take urgent action, including more officers on duty in the worst affected areas.

"It takes a collective effort to tackle violent crime and I'll continue to work closely with police and partners to end this senseless bloodshed."

The announcement came as a new ministerial taskforce on serious youth violence, chaired by the Prime Minister, held its first meeting.

According to recent research, knife crime across Yorkshire and the Humber increased by 45 per cent between 2008 and 2018.

West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire are among seven police force areas where officers were recently granted new powers to increase stop-and-search activity as part of the fight against the problem.

(1st June 2019)


THUG LET OFF 21 TIMES FOR CARRYING A KNIFE BEFORE BEING JAILED
Mail on Sunday, 24th March 2019 author Martin Beckford)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6843495/Thug-let-21-times-carrying-knife-one-arrested-17-separate-assaults-police.html

Criminals are being spared jail despite committing dozens of offences involving violence or weapons, according to shock new figures.

One dangerous offender was convicted 21 times for possession of a knife without being sent to prison. Another committed 33 assaults before being jailed for his 34th.

The disturbing examples of 'soft justice' come amid fears that the approach is fuelling Britain's epidemic of violence and knife crime.

Last night, a senior police representative said the figures showed criminals were 'laughing at the justice system'. Other critics predicted that the scandal would only worsen under Government plans to axe short jail sentences.

The statistics were published by the Ministry of Justice last week in response to questions by Tory backbench MP Philip Davies. He asked 'what the highest number of total previous offences' was for a range of offences committed by individuals before they were given immediate custodial sentences across England and Wales in the past three years.

The results taken from the Police National Computer show that one offender put behind bars last year had 21 previous convictions for 'possession of a blade or point' while another had four previous convictions for possession of an offensive weapon.

One thug had acquired 17 convictions for assaulting police officers before finally being jailed last year for an 18th.

Career criminals with 15 previous cautions and convictions for burglary and robbery were eventually jailed after reoffending in 2018, and a sex predator accumulated eight previous convictions for sexual assault before a jail term.

The biggest number of let-offs was accrued by a shoplifter who had an astonishing 70 previous cautions and convictions for theft before being jailed in 2016. Last year, another career criminal totted up 65 previous convictions for theft before being locked up.

Another offender committed 30 drug crimes before his 31st saw him put away, while a fraudster was convicted of 53 separate scams before finally being imprisoned for yet another.

Mr Davies said: 'This lays bare how soft our justice system is, and how criminals can carry on committing crimes with impunity. It also shows how idiotic the Government proposals are to abolish short sentences. These figures show we don't send enough people to prison.'

And John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation 'union' for frontline officers, said: 'A non-custodial route takes the pressure off a prison system which is struggling to cope. But all that means is that these people are laughing at the judicial system. There are too many slaps on the wrist and not enough adequate justice. For some, the only answer is to be locked up.

'Inappropriate sentences help to fuel further drug, knife and gun crime. For officers - working against a backdrop of severe cuts in numbers and a dire lack of funding across the service - all it does is make their jobs harder.'

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said last night: 'We are clear that sentencing must match the severity of a crime. However, sentences should also rehabilitate. There is persuasive evidence showing community sentences, in certain circumstances, are more effective than short custodial sentences in reducing reoffending.'

The Repeat Offenders' rap sheet


Figures for last year showing number of offences committed by a single criminal without being a prison sentence.

Possession of a blade or point : 21
Assaulting a police officer : 17
Common Assault : 33
Sexual Assault : 8
Theft : 65
Robbery : 15
Burglary : 15
Drugs : 30
Fraud : 53

(1st June 2019)


PRISON INCREASE YOUTH KNIFE-CRIME REOFFENDING, SAYS POLICE REPORT
(Guardian, dated 27th April 2019 author Vikram Dodd)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/apr/27/prison-increases-youth-knife-crime-reoffending-says-police-report

Prison does not work for young knife-crime offenders, and while stop and search has a short-term benefit, it risks alienating key sections of society, a police study has found.

The study by the College of Policing, the government-backed body aiming to improve law enforcement, has been sent to all forces in England and Wales as they grapple with rising knife crime. It reviewed research on causes and effective strategies.

It found that the peak age for carrying a knife was 15, and said focused "tough" action by police, such as intelligence-led stop and search, can suppress rises in stabbings only in the short term.

The report found that a "public health" approach tackling the root causes was the only long-term hope, involving many other agencies as well as the police.

In an apparent rejection of knee-jerk calls for action, it said gangs were responsible for as little as 5% of stabbings and that tougher sentences and prison did not appear to tackle reoffending.

The report said: "For juveniles (10-18 years), prison alone has been found to significantly increase reoffending, compared to non-custodial sanctions such as community supervision with victim reparation, and community surveillance and aftercare."

It also said first-time offenders made up the majority - 72% - of those found guilty of knife and offensive weapons offences in the year ending March 2018.

Figures released on Thursday showed that there were 40,829 knife offences across England and Wales last year, up nearly 17,000 since 2013/14.

The study pointed out that young males were the most likely to use knives and that nationwide, "there is no statistically significant relationship between ethnicity and weapon carrying". But, separately from the study, racial differences have been found across the English regions, with victims and perpetrators in London being more likely to be from African-Caribbean communities. Police in north-west England say they have noted no racial differences.

In London, where one-third of all knife offences took place, African-Caribbeans were more likely to be subjected to stop and search than their white counterparts, to such an extent that more black people were stopped last year than white, despite being a fraction of the population size.

Police have said they carry out stop and searches with respect, but the study warned that the searches can leave people feeling as if they cannot rely on the police to protect them: "While intelligence helps the targeting of stop and search, people's willingness to provide information is likely to be affected by how fair they perceive the police to be in their use of this power.

"Young people, the economically disadvantaged, and people from some minority ethnic groups are significantly more likely to be stopped, and to be dissatisfied with police treatment during a stop.

"If contact with officers is felt to be unfair, analysis also suggests it can undermine young people's perception that the police are 'on their side', reducing their willingness to comply with the law, and is associated with increased risk that they consider violence to be an option in achieving certain goals."

Dave Tucker, head of crime for the College of Policing, said: "If you feel you are already at risk and then the police stop and search you and treat you badly, you then feel over-policed and under-protected. You might then decide you will protect yourself because the organs of the state are not doing so."

The police study said the reasons youngsters carried knives were to protect themselves, especially if they have suffered crime, for "street credibility" and "respect", and also to carry out crimes such as "theft, sexual assault, injury and serious harm".

Key risk factors included adverse childhood experiences, such as abuse, neglect, criminality or drug and alcohol abuse by parents, and being in care. Other risk factors include poor school performance and exclusions.

The study said intervention with children typically starts around age 13, and that may be too late. Encouraging results have been achieved by teaching children "social and emotional skills, problem solving and anger management", better support for parents and after-school activities.

The study concluded: "Public health approaches, involving multiple agencies to develop a range of interventions, including prevention work for at-risk groups, as well as law enforcement activity directed at offenders, have been shown to have a positive impact."

(1st May 2019)


GOVERNMENT SHOULD INTRODUCE "RED BOOK" FOR PARENTS OF TEENAGERS TO COMBAT GANGS AND KNIFE CRIME
(Telegraph, dated 27th April 2019 author Camilla Turner)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/04/27/government-should-introduce-red-book-parents-teenagers-combat/

The Government should introduce a "red book" for parents of teenagers to stem the tide of knife crime and gangs, the head of the UK's oldest children's charity has said.

Many parents are ill-equipped to deal with the challenges of adolescence and do not understand the importance of setting rules and boundaries, according to Dr Carol Homden, chief executive of Coram.

Teenagers are more vulnerable to being groomed by gangs if they come from unstable home environments and are left "searching for attention and belonging", Dr Homden said.

Earlier this month, the Home Secretary announced a series of new measures designed to crack down on violent crime.

Under a statutory "public health duty", police, hospitals, schools and other public bodies would be required to report those at risk of being drawn into knife crime.

Staff would have to alert other agencies if they thought a young person was in danger - such as turning up at A&E with a suspicious injury, absenteeism or worrying behaviour at school or problems at home.

But as well as empowering various public agencies to combat knife crime, ministers should also give better guidance and advice for parents, Dr Homden said.

"As a parent, we all love our red book for infants," she told The Telegraph.

"What the red books says is what is supposed to be happening for our child at that point.

"Are they supposed to be sitting up and smiling? Am I supposed to be taking them for a hearing test? Are they supposed to be having an MMR jab? If your child doesn't crawl within a certain [time frame], you would go and get help. Where is the equivalent for parents to understand the developmental curve for our child in adolescence?"

Parents are given a Personal Child Health Record - known as the "red book"  - when their child is born, which serves as a manual for their baby's development.

Dr Homden, who was awarded a CBE in 2013 for services to children and families, said that parents of teenagers need guidance so they know when to intervene and when to seek help over their child's behaviour.

"We would have parents saying to us is it normal for my adolescent to never come out of their bedroom and to behave in these ways? When do I need to be concerned? This is parents who are on the case," she said.

A red book for teenagers could include advice on how much sleep adolescents need, as well as the importance of setting routines, structures and boundaries, Dr Homden explained.

It could also explain to parents that they should take an interest in their child's education, go along to parents evenings and encourage them to do their homework.

While there are public information campaigns aimed at parents of infants, ministers have been reticent about doing the same for those responsible for adolescents, Dr Homden said.

"There was, rightly, a great deal of emphasis on learning readiness for school and there is a focus at the moment by government on speech and language acquisition," she said.

But concern about the perceptions of the "long arm of the state" has held the Government back from taking a more proactive stance on advice for parenting teenagers.

Ministers will launch a public information campaign later this year urging parents to "Chat, Play, Read" with their children before they start school.

The Education Secretary has promised to tackle the "last taboo" in education by highlighting the fact that many mothers and fathers are failing to teach their children how to talk.

(1st May 2019)


SCHOOL PUPILS AS YOUNG AS EIGHT CARRYING KNIVES - WITH NUMBER CAUGHT ROCKETING
(Mirror, dated 26th April 2019 authors Tom Pettifor and Scott Hesketh)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/school-pupils-young-eight-carrying-14576751

The number of children caught with knives in schools has rocketed by 71 per cent in three years.

Pupils as young as eight were found with blades during that period, with two weapons a day seized on average.

Birmingham and Manchester were among the areas with the biggest rises - both have scrapped a scheme that assigned police officers to schools.

A total of 795 children were caught with knives in school last year, up from 463 in 2015, Freedom of Information figures obtained by the Mirror reveal.

But the true figure is likely to be ­significantly higher as 20 of the 43 police forces did not respond.

It comes as knife crime rates have hit a record high. There were 285 fatal stabbings in the past year - the highest number since records began in 1946.

One in five of those convicted of carrying a blade is aged under 18.

Theresa Cave, whose 17-year-old son Chris was knifed to death in 2003, now runs the Point7 campaign to warn schools about the issue. She said: "We've been warning teachers for years.

"Kids are bringing knives in under their noses and many are using them."

Our probe shows school knife possession in Manchester rose from 38 in 2015 to 90 last year - a 136% increase.

The number increased from 39 to 63 in the West Midlands. Three teenagers were stabbed to death in Birmingham in February, resulting in police declaring a city-wide "crisis" on knife crime.

South Yorkshire Police also recorded a huge rise in school blade seizures - up from 13 in 2015 to 50 last year.

Numbers for Avon and Somerset rose from seven to 30. And Cambridgeshire Police said a boy of eight was found with a knife in school in 2017.

Both Manchester and Birmingham have axed the Safer Schools Partnership. In 2002 Labour introduced the scheme to tackle youth violence by assigning police officers to schools.

It was national policy for all forces to take part, until the Tories axed this requirement in 2010.

Supt Andy ­Sidebotham, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "We have been working closely with parents, teachers and young people by going into schools to advise on the dangers of knives and importance of reporting any concerns."

And Supt Ian Parnell, of West Midlands Police, said: "We're working hard to encourage schools to report knife crime so we've seen an increase in reports of knives in schools. We also take a proactive stance in developing initiatives such as knife arches at schools, weapon screening and searching school premises."

In London, where there has been a surge in violent crime among young people, the number of pupils caught with blades rose by 50% from 236 to 374.

Met Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons said the force has made a "major ­investment" in recruiting new officers to place in schools around London.

It now has about 420 police in schools, up from around 280 a year ago.

(1st May 2019)


LONDON STABBINGS FUEL UK's WORST EVER YEAR FOR KNIFE CRIME AS BLADE OFFENCES REACH ALL-TIME HIGH
(London Evening Standard, dated 25th April 2019 author Martin Bentham)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/london-stabbings-fuel-uks-worst-ever-year-for-knife-crime-as-blade-offences-reach-alltime-high-a4126081.html

London's knife crime "disease" has helped to propel the number of blade offences nationwide to an all-time high, official figures revealed today.

The Office for National Statistics said that 14,725 knife crimes, including 74 homicides, were committed in the capital during 2018 after a one per cent rise in offending over the year.

The total is one of the highest on record for London and only a fraction below the peak of 14,987 recorded in comparable annual statistics published six months ago.

The bleak figures suggest that the Met's intensive efforts to combat the problem are having only limited impact. Statistics for England and Wales showed knife offending at the highest level ever recorded, with more than 40,000 such offences in 2018.

It means London accounts for a third of all knife crime and has played a key role in taking the national total to its new peak.

There was also more bad news for the capital in other ONS figures published today that showed a 10 per rise in vehicle offences, a six per cent rise in robberies and an eight per cent jump in burglaries.

Separate statistics also published today showed that nationwide only nine per cent of violent offences during 2018 have so far led to a person being charged - two per cent lower than the previous year's figure.

The bleak picture will provide renewed ammunition for politicians and others who argue that the police are under-resourced and struggling to cope with the scale of the demand they face.

Record levels of knife crime - which in London included 169 rapes or sexual assaults and 8,513 robberies carried out with a blade - are likely to remain the focus of concerns.

There were 75 offences of attempted murder using a blade, 749 threats to kill with a knife, and 5,145 knife crimes which either resulted in injury or involved an attempt to inflict serious harm on the victim.

A timeline produced today by the statisticians also showed how knife crime has been rising in London, with the overall total of 14,725 blade offences in 2018 representing a 50 per cent increase on the 9,752 recorded in the 12 months to March 2016.

The Met, which has stepped up its use of stop and search, weapons sweeps and other tactics, will draw some comfort from the fall in knife homicides, which dropped to 74 last year compared with the tally of 110 in the year to March 2018 and 91 for 2017.

Knife killings still remain high in comparison with previous years, however. The annual total in much of the past decade has fluctuated around the 50 mark until the recent surge.

Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the Commons home affairs select committee, expressed dismay at today's figures, adding: "The police are completely overstretched and crime prevention work is far too limited. The Home Office and government response on knife crime and other rising crimes is still far too weak and just doesn't match the scale of the problem."

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the figures were "deeply troubling". Home Secretary Sajid Javid recently expressed his determination to step up efforts against knife crime, describing it as a "virulent disease".

(1st May 2019)


KNIFE CRIME RISES TO RECORD LEVELS BUT AS FEW AS A FIFTH OF OFFENDERS ARE CAUGHT
(Telegraph, dated 25th April 2019 author Charles Hymas)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/04/25/knife-crime-rises-record-levels-england-wales-homicides-hit/

Knife crime has risen to record levels in England and Wales but as few as a fifth of offenders are being charged, official figures have revealed.

The number of knife offences rose by six per cent last year to 40,829, equivalent to more than 110 a day and the highest level since records began in 2008/09.

Homicides were also up by 6.1 per cent to 732, equivalent to more than two a day and their highest level for a decade. Four in ten of these killings involved a knife or sharp instrument.

However, the number of offenders prosecuted for knife possession has plummeted with just four in 10 (40.4 per cent) of such crimes resulting in a charge. That is down from over six in 10 in 2015/16.

In Greater Manchester, the rate has halved in four years with just 22.3 per cent of blade possession offences resulting in a charge, down from 44 per cent just four years ago. Sussex, British Transport Police and South Yorkshire are all below 30 per cent.

This week Ian Hopkins, the force's chief constable, admitted at least four in ten of all crimes were not being fully investigated because of a lack of resources.

Simon Kempton, operational policing lead for the Police Federation, said shortages of officers meant police were less likely to get to a crime scene or report of knife possession within the critical "golden hour" when the chances of solving it were highest.

"Particularly during peak hours, night time, we are less able to get enough people to these places as we would like, so end up losing witnesses, physical or forensic evidence," he said.

The continued rise in knife crime comes as police chiefs have given an extra £100 million by the Government to mount a surge to reverse the trend in seven of the worst hit areas including Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire.

Theresa May and Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, held a Downing Street summit earlier to launch plans for a "public health" approach to the crisis with a legal duty on doctors, teachers and police to report children at risk of being drawn into knife crime.

Yesterday Mr Javid said he was "very concerned" about the "huge rise" in serious violence including knife crime, adding: "I wish there was one single thing that could be done that would bring it down dramatically.But there's not one thing, I think we need action on many fronts."

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed three quarters of the police forces in England and Wales - 31 out of 43 - saw a rise in knife crime in the year to December 2018.

The biggest rise was in Merseyside where knife offences increased by 35 per cent to 1,231 followed by Dyfed-Powys (28 per cent), South Wales (23 per cent), Derbyshire (22 per cent), North Wales and North Yorkshire (21 per cent each), and West Yorkshire, Kent and Gwent all on 20 per cent.

Knife or sharp instrument offences tended to be concentrated in metropolitan areas with 33 per cent of all such crimes in England and Wales accounted for by London's 14,660 offences, a rate of 167 per 100,000 of the population.

It was followed by Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, and West Midlands (with 129 ,118 and 111 offences per 100,000 population respectively). This compares with an average of  76 offences per 100,000 population in England and Wales.

One positive sign was a slowing in the rate of increase, from 13 per cent to nine per cent in the latest quarter. In London, where there have been big increases in police stop and searches, there was just a one per cent rise in the latest quarter, down from 15 per cent and eight per cent in previous quarters.

Violent crime in England and Wales was, however, up by 19.1 per cent from 1.35 million offences to 1.6m, its highest rate for more than a decade.

Robberies recorded by police were up by 11.3 per cent to 82,600, the highest level since 2008, while overall police recorded crime increased by seven per cent to 5.8m offences, its highest since 2004.

Fewer criminals are, however, being caught, with only 7.8 per cent of offences leading to charges, down from 9.1 per cent in 2017.

Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service, Nick Hurd, said: "Today's statistics show that your chance of being a victim of crime remains low, and the Metropolitan Police's more recent figures suggest that action to tackle violent crime is having an impact.

"Yet too many people are still falling victim to serious violence, which is why we will continue our urgent and unprecedented action to reverse this terrible trend.

"We have given police forces additional powers and have this year put more than £1billion extra into policing, including council tax and £100million specifically for those areas worst affected by violent crime.

"But law enforcement alone is not the answer which is why our Serious Violence Strategy puts a greater focus on prevention, including by consulting on a proposed new duty to underpin a public health approach to serious violence and investing over £220million in projects to steer young people away from crime."

Yvette Cooper MP, chairwoman of the Commons home affairs select committee, said: "Knife crime is now at record levels and this is a very disturbing increase in violent crime at the same time as the number of arrests is continuing to fall.

"The police are completely overstretched and crime prevention work is far too limited. The Home Office and government response on knife crime and other rising crimes is still far too weak and just doesn't match the scale of the problem."

Alex Mayes, a spokesman for Victim Support, said: "It's deeply concerning to see homicides continue to rise and we know from working with those bereaved by murder and manslaughter through our national homicide service just how devastating the impact is on family and friends, witnesses to the crime and the wider community."

Knife Crime offences per police force in last year


n = Offences 2017, (n) = Offences 2018, [n] = Percentage change {n} = Per 100,000

Merseyside : 910 (1231) [35] {87}
Dyfed-Powys : 152 (195) [28] {38}
South Wales : 591 (724) [23] {55}
Derbyshire  : 478 (581)    [22] {55}
North Wales : 247 (298) [21] {43}
North Yorkshire : 230 (279) [21] {34}
West Yorkshire : 2259 (2715) [20] {118}
Kent : 771 (925) [20] {50}
Gwent : 113 (136) [20] {23}
Thames Valley : 1242 (1483) [19] {62}
Leicestershire : 697 (824) [18] {76}
Surrey : 51 (60) [18] {5}
West Midlands : 4097 (4666) [17] {111}
Lincolnshire : 225 (259) [15] {34}
Devon and Cornwall : 386 (440) [14] {25}
Gloucestershire : 274 (310) [13] {49}
Cheshire : 336 (377) [12] {36}
West Mercia : 445 (495) [11] {39}
Lancashire : 942 (1038) [10] {70}
Nottinghamshire : 812 (889) [9] {78}
Humberside : 566 (609) [8] {65}
Warwickshire : 238 (257) [8] {46}
Avon and Somerset : 550 (596) [8] {35}
Suffolk : 192 (208) [8] {27}
Staffordshire : 663 (704) [6] {63}
Northamptonshire : 468 (487) [4] {66}
Northumbria : 850 (887) [4] {61}
Metropolitan Police : 14504 (14660) [1] {166}
Wiltshire : 278 (280) [1] {39}
Norfolk : 288 (286) [-1] {32}
Cumbria : 155 (153) [-1] {31}
Dorset     : 242 (240) [-1] {31}
South Yorkshire : 1027 (994) [-3] {71}
Sussex : 310 (301) [-3] {18}
Hampshire : 864 (822) [-5] {42}
Bedfordshire : 479 (451) [-6] {68}
Cleveland : 461 (415) [-10] {73}
Hertfordshire : 564 (490) [-13] {41}
Durham : 246 (201) [-18] {32}
Cambridgeshire : 516 (383) [-26] {45}
Essex : 1026 (677) [-34] {37}
City of London : 17 (65) [-] {-}
Greater Manchester : 1484 (3614) [-] {129}

Includes selected knife crime offences from the ONS: Attempted murder, threats to kill, assault with injury and assault with intent to cause serious harm, robbery, rape and sexual assault, and homicide SOURCE: ONS

(1st May 2019)


TEENS WHO PUT DOWN KNIVES TELL THEIR STORY ON SCREENS IN UK's CHICKEN SHOPS
(London Evening Standard, dated 21st April 2019 author Bonnie Christian)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/london/teens-who-put-down-knives-tell-their-story-on-screens-in-uks-chicken-shops-a4120846.html

When 15-year-old Jay Hughes was stabbed to death outside a Morley's chicken shop in south London last year, the chain's managing director felt he could no longer stay quiet on bloodshed in the capital.

"From a community standpoint it had a big impact and a sad impact," Shan Selvendran said.

Jay, also known as Jai Sewell, was stabbed in the heart outside Mr Selvendran's chicken shop in Bellingham on November 1.

The teenager, who was just 100 yards from his home, went inside the store for help but died in hospital three hours later.

"Its just scary and its just sad, the boy was just a little kid and he passed away, but there's other kids and there are all these other crimes going on, someone has got to do something," Mr Selvendran said.

Shortly after Jay was killed, Mr Selvendran approached All City Media Solutions to find out how to promote an anti-knife crime message in his shops.

In April, the #knifefree campaign was launched with the Home Office across digital screens in 13 Morley's stores, and in Chicken Cottage stores in Manchester, as well as on the inside of the shops' burger boxes.

The lids of the boxes features the stories of two young boys who have turned their lives around.

One of the boxes reads:

-----------------------

Sean's true story:

Where I grew up there weren't a lot of opportunities. I had a big group of friends and we had trouble with people from other estates. Eventually I did start carrying a knife because I thought it would protect me.

"One day the older lads had a massive fight with this group from another estate. Someone was stabbed and killed and I knew I need to stop this now.

I used to be into boxing. So I thought right, I'll go back to boxing.

Looking up to the older lads at the gym, knowing they've been in the same shoes and still set goals and achieved them, that was a big thing for me.

Boxing's taught me discipline and to focus on what's in front of me - training, school work, friends, family. It's completely changed my whole future."

-------------------------

Mr Selvendren said that while he knows the campaign on its own is not going to fix knife crime, it is a small step towards promoting a positive community message.

"There are a large number of youngsters that come to our stores and buy our food," he said.

"Some of our locations are based in quiet residential areas as well as high streets so naturally we're very ingrained into the community."

He added: "I know a chicken box isn't going to change anything but the more people that jump on it and more people that want to get involved can only be a good thing.

"Again its a collective thing, its not one person or one entity doing one thing.

"If we can change one persons perspective, not saying that's a complete success but its something isn't it."

At least 26 people have been killed by knives in London so far this year.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has called the rise in street violence a "national emergency" that needs to be tackled in new ways, including a public-health approach.

Note - the boxes also contain a link

"Find out how you can go knife free at knifefree.co.uk "

(1st May 2019)


DOZENS OF ANTI-KNFE PROTESTERS BLOCK WESTMINSTER BRIDGE
(Metro, dated 17th April 2019 author Jimmy Nsubuga)

Full article [Option 1]:

https://metro.co.uk/2019/04/17/dozens-anti-knife-protesters-block-westminster-bridge-9239798/

Bereaved families have demanded more action is taken to tackle knife crime.

They made their point by blocking Westminster Bridge earlier today after they had marched from Downing Street.

Lucy Martindale, whose cousin was fatally stabbed, took part in the Operation Shutdown demonstration, and hoped to convince the Government to schedule an emergency Cobra meeting.

She said: 'If there is a terrorist attack and one person is killed there is a Cobra.

'Several people daily are being killed on our streets, why is this not being treated as the national emergency that it is?'

She was joined by parents including Tracey Hanson, whose 21-year-old son Josh was murdered at a bar in west London in 2015.

The protest, which took place on the same day as an environmental demonstration, also involved a minute's silence for near the Houses of Parliament in memory of PC Keith Palmer, who was murdered by a terrorist while on duty in 2017.

Operation Shutdown organisers added in a statement: 'We are taking this extreme form of civil disobedience as Her Majesty's Government are yet to give this crisis enough care, or the proportionate attention it deserves, or allocate substantial measures and funding to effectively tackle this head-on, as a matter of emergency - hence we demand a Cobra now.'

They also demanded an independent investigation into school exclusions, full terms served for those convicted of manslaughter and better rehabilitation of prisoners.

Operation Shutdown also criticised an anti-knife crime summit held by the Government earlier this month.

It accused Number 10 of passing the buck to 'already under pressure nurses, teachers, police and charity front line workers'.

The Government has pledged an extra £100 million for police in the areas worst affected by knife violence as well as giving officers beefed-up stop and search powers.

(1st May 2019)


SAJID JAVID, THE ANSWER TO YOUTH KNIFE CRIME LIES IN HOSPITALS - AND ITS BEEN PROVEN
(Guardian, dated 15th April 2019 author John Poyton)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/15/sajid-javid-youth-knife-crime-cardiff-model

In Sajid Javid's first major speech on crime today, marking one year since the launch of the serious violence strategy, the home secretary said the government will look at using data from multiple sectors to improve understanding of the causes of serious youth violence.

This year so far 20 young people have been killed by knife assaults, and thousands of knife crime victims were treated in our hospitals in 2018. But with only half of all NHS trusts currently recording data for weapon assaults on 11- to 25-year-olds, we can't fully diagnose the size and shape of the problem we seek to prevent.

Just as the spread of a 19th-century cholera epidemic was interrupted by mapping deaths from the outbreak, the youth violence that has engulfed our cities can be treated specifically by hospitals collecting data on serious assault injuries.

Research released by the all-party parliamentary group on knife crime - of which the youth charity Redthread is the co-secretariat - has revealed gaps in the recording of youth violence in hospitals. The 58% of NHS trusts that did respond showed that in 2018 more than 4,500 young people - 12 per day - attended an emergency department or urgent care centre following assault by a knife or other weapon.

NHS Digital, which gathers national admissions data on injuries with a knife or sharp objects, reported earlier this year that admissions had increased by nearly 30% since 2012-13, from 3,888 to 4,986 last year. However, this data only captures those who are admitted and misses out the thousands of young people who are victims of weapon assault but have their medical needs met without spending a night on a ward.

The government says it is committed to adopting a public health approach to treat violence as a disease. Evidence shows that violence spreads from person to person through witnessing violence in formative years or in their community. So we have to use the available data to diagnose the causes of youth violence, look at what works to treat the symptoms, and use the data to develop solutions.

Prof Jonathan Shepherd, who raised the question of hospital data collection during Javid's speech, developed the Cardiff model of data sharing more than 20 years ago which helped fill gaps in police knowledge by anonymously gathering information from victims in hospitals regarding method of injury, time and location of incident. Crucially all data is anonymised, meaning it does not require NHS staff to break patient confidentiality. Hospital admissions due to violence in Cardiff halved between 2002-2013.

With the government announcing a public health duty consultation, it is crucial there is widespread adoption of this model of data collection across the NHS. A fully funded programme of robust data collection of hospital attendances for violence is needed for it be rolled out nationwide.

Similarly, the support that is available to victims of violence is a lottery. Some hospitals host charities such as Redthread, which I lead, and which runs hospital-based violence intervention programmes, providing youth work support to victims at bedside. We meet many of these young people in what we call the "teachable moment". It's a unique time in which young people attending due to violent injuries become more aware of their vulnerability, and are more open to conversations around change. During the decade I spent as a youth worker in south London's hospitals and GP surgeries, I was regularly witness to this moment.

As youth violence continues to rise, professionals from all sectors must see these access points as "teachable moments" for ourselves; an insight into the lives of society's most vulnerable, those transitioning between childhood and adulthood, and an opportunity to learn what we could be doing better to support them.

During the 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak, John Snow identified the source of the disease as the contaminated public water pump by speaking to local people and mapping those who had died. He realised that they were mostly people whose nearest access to water was the Broad Street pump. His theory and studies of the pattern of the disease were enough to persuade the council to disable the pump. It was later discovered that the water for the pump was contaminated.

To truly adopt a public health approach, the government needs to ensure we collect the data when victims arrive in hospital, and meet and support them when they are discharged to stop them from coming back.

Note : John Poyton is chief executive of Redthread youth charity

(1st May 2019)


DETECTIVE DEVELOPS SYSTEM HE HOPES WILL "FORECAST" LONDON KNIFE CRIMES
(London Evening Standard, dated 15th April 2019 author Harriet Brewis)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/detective-develops-system-he-hopes-will-forecast-london-knife-crimes-a4117836.html

A Scotland Yard detective has developed a system he believes can predict where fatal stabbings are likely to take place.

Murder detective John Massey manually trawled through London knife assault records over a 12-month period and found a link with deadly knife attacks the following year.

Det Ch Insp Massey uncovered 3,506 incidents where people were stabbed or cut but survived in 2016-17, and compared these to the locations of the 97 London homicides that occurred in 2017-18.

More than two-thirds of the killings happened in neighbourhoods which had seen non-fatal knife attacks the year before.

The research, published in the Cambridge Journal of Evidence-Based Policing, is considered one of the first to show such a clear correlation.

"If assault data forecasts that a neighbourhood is more likely to experience knife homicide, police commanders might consider everything from closer monitoring of school exclusions to localised use of stop-and-search," said study co-author Prof Lawrence Sherman from the University of Cambridge.

"Better data is needed to fight knife homicide.

"The current definition of knife crime is too broad to be useful, and lumps together knife-enabled injuries with knife threats or even arrests for carrying knives."

Current crime statistics do not differentiate between incidents without injury - such as the showing of knives during robberies - and those where knives have caused bodily harm.

"We need to transform police IT from electronic filing cabinets into a daily crime forecasting tool," Prof Sherman added.

The stabbings took place in 2,048 of London's 4,835 local census areas - neighbourhoods smaller than council wards, which have a population of about 1,700.

Of the 41 neighbourhoods that had six or more injuries from knife assaults in the first year, 15% went on to suffer a homicide the following year.

While Prof Sherman suggested the use of data to focus on assault hotspots could "enhance the effectiveness of scarce resources" when combined with intelligence-gathering on the streets, the study warned that such crime-forecasts were not a "panacea".

The study also found that 21% of the 590 fatal stabbings in London in the 10 years up to 2018 were flagged by police as involving gangs.
Sajid Javid addresses knife crime in the Commons

The researchers said the figures "contradict a widespread view that knife-enabled homicides are primarily gang-related". Although in 2017-18 the proportion rose to 29%.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is due deliver as peech on Monday morning, outlining his plans for tackling violent crime.

 Mr Javid is expected to call for a "shift" in mindset within the government to address the issue - and argue for the use of data to ensure better understanding of the causes of crime.

He will further re-emphasise his support for a "public health" approach to violent offending, and insist it should be treated like the "outbreak of some virulent disease".

(1st May 2019)


TRUANCY "WORSE" THAN EXPULSIONS FOR KNIFE CRIME
(The Times, dated 11th April 2019 author Nicola Woolcock)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/truancy-worse-than-expulsions-for-knife-crime-says-education-secretary-cq8ht3qbg

Truancy is a bigger worry than school exclusions in tackling knife crime, the education secretary said yesterday.

Damian Hinds was responding to an MP who said that councils should scrutinise the exclusion rates at schools in an effort to reduce the risk of young people being lured into gangs.

Robert Halfon, chairman of the education select committee, wrote to Mr Hinds saying that schools needed help to be more inclusive, and to have better resources and training for teachers to cope with bad behaviour and challenges that could lead to knife crime.

He also called for the turnover of police officers at schools to be addressed, saying that it was important for them to build a rapport with pupils and gain their trust.

Some pupil referral units were turning away teenagers with criminal convictions, he said. Witnesses are a recent committee session "underlined the importance of ensuring that pupils are not cast adrift because they have a conviction". He added: " We urge the department to consider what it can do to mitigate the risk that excluded pupils end up with no education at all."

Mr Hinds said that high standards were needed at alternative provision schools, so excluded children could have a fresh start. "I am clear that it is crucial we get underneath all the reasons for why knife crime is rising," he said. "This issue is far more complex than one of exclusion alon and I welcome the committee stating its wishes to consider the range of potential, and sometimes overlapping causes.

"The figures show that 3 per cent of knife crime attacks are perpetrated by someone who had been permanently excluded in the past year, four in five knife crime offences are carried out by adults, and the increase in knife crime is occurring across all age groups. Reviews of the evidence to date have found no casual link between a child being excluded and then going on to commit or be a victim of knife crime".

Mr Hind said that the power to exclude a pupil was an important one for head teachers and that teachers did not enter education with the intention of excluding children.

He added: "We should recognise that children not in mainstream schools are more likely to become a victim or a perpetrator of crime or violence. A bigger concern [than excluded pupils] is those children who are persistently absent.

"Four in five knife crime offenders under 18 have been persistently absent in at least one of the last five years. Children being in school is absolutely crucial, not only for those at risk of harm, exploitation and knife crime but for all our children."

Mr Hinds said that schools, the police, social services, health workers and local authorities needed to work together to help families experiencing problems with mental health, domestic violence or substance abuse.

(1st May 2019)


40 KNIFE OFFENCES EACH DAY IN LONDON OVER TWO YEARS, SHOCK FIGURES SHOW
(London Evening Standard, dated 6th April 2019 author Olivia Tobin)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/40-knife-offences-each-day-in-london-over-two-years-shock-figures-show-a4110686.html

The shocking extent of London's knife crime problem was revealed today as figures showed that 40 knife offences a day were reported to police over a two-year period.

A person was knifed to death on average every four days in London in 2017 and 2018, figures revealed, following a Freedom of Information request by the Standard.

The figures reveal the total number of knife offences including those involving stabbings and deaths caused by a blade for the calendar years of 2017 and 2018. Met Police dealt with 29,232 knife offences in a two years.

On average this is about 40 offences a day in London.

The total number of homicides and stabbings fell across the two-year period however. In 2018, the number of knife attacks fell by over 500. In 2017, there was 4,784 stabbings and in 2018 there was 4,246. The number of homicides also fell by 12.

Official statistics for 2019 have not been made available just yet buy Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the decrease is encouraging.

Although the number is still "too high", Mr Khan praised London communities and the Met for their work in reducing crime.

A spokesman from the Ben Kinsella Trust, which tackles knife crime through education and campaigning, said the small reduction is not a victory yet.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said officers are working "day and night" to identify and pursue knife criminals.

The majority of the crimes detailed in the figures were committed in Southwark with 1,594 offences occuring in that London borough

The borough also had the highest number of knife-related homicides with 17 people being stabbed to death in two years.

Bexley was the only borough of 33 to not have any deaths resulting from a knife in the two years.

Mr Khan said: "Thanks to London's communities and the hard work of the Met Police, who have been targeting offenders and removing dangerous weapons from our streets, we are seeing some knife crime offences starting to fall, but it still remains too high.

"We still desperately need the Government to reverse its damaging cuts to the police and preventative services."

He added the level of knife crime "across the country" was still "unacceptably high".

The Ben Kinsella Trust said: "It is encouraging to see that knife crime deaths and injuries fell slightly in 2018 compared to the previous year. However we need to put these figures into context. Knife crime remains at a level unseen for a over a decade.

"These small reductions are not a cause for celebration and they will provide little or no comfort for those who have lost loved one or being affected by this heinous crime.

"The few months of 2019 has shown that knife crime continues to blight our society and we must do all we can to take knives off the streets and educate young people about the dangers of carry a knife."

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police said the force is due to release its official financial year-end figures soon.

She said: "While London saw increases in violence between 2017 and 2018, we are beginning to see a decrease in key areas.

"For example this year, between Jan 1 to April 1 the homicide rate was 32, a 30 per cent decrease compared to the same time frame in 2018, when it stood at 47. Official financial year-end figures will be released at a later date.

"Bearing down on violent crime and knife crime on the streets of London continues to be a top priority for the Met.

"We are working tirelessly - day and night - to identify and pursue offenders, help bring perpetrators to justice, take weapons off the street, support victims, engage and reassure the public, and keep our communities safe."

(1st May 2019)


WITNESSES TO VIOLENT CRIME AND KNIFE ATTACKS TO BE OFFERED THE SAME COUNSELLING AS VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES
(Telegraph, dated 4th April 2019 author Charles Hymas)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/04/04/witnesses-violent-crime-knife-attacks-offered-counselling-victims/

Witnesses to knife murders and serious violence are to be offered the same free specialist support as victims following the killing of a 23-year-old in front of children as young as three, the Ministry of Justice has announced.

David Gauke, the Justice Secretary, said there was increasing evidence that witnesses could suffer severe psychological trauma or retribution and should have access to the same specialist support as victims of crime.

From now, witnesses to killings will be able to get support from the Government-funded National Homicide Service, which ranges from counselling to legal advice.

Unlike current support witness schemes offered by police, it will be open to those who are not directly involved in police investigations and prosecutions.

It follows cases like the death of Glendon Spence, 23, who was stabbed in Brixton youth club in front of boys aged three who had been watching a football training session involved children aged five to eight.

Parents of the three year olds later complained that the children had not been offered any support despite being traumatised by the "terrifying" experience.

David Gauke, the Justice Secretary, who chaired the fourth day of the Downing Street summit on knife crime, said: "Serious violence devastates families and communities, however they encounter it, and can fuel a continued cycle of brutal offending if the consequences are not fully addressed.

"By improving the treatment of witnesses, through enhanced support from the National Homicide Service and more proactive interventions with vulnerable young people, all those affected by serious violence can have confidence that the justice system will stand by them and ensure criminals are brought to justice."

The new service will be trialled in London with murder victims before it will be considered for a nationwide roll-out and an extension to victims of violent crime.

Diana Fawcett, chief officer at Victim Support, which provides the specialist Government-funded support for bereaved families, welcomed the move.

 "As well as the devastating toll that murder and manslaughter can take on the victim's loved ones, those who witness these tragedies can be left traumatised and in need of support," she said.

(1st May 2019)


UK KNIFE CRIME EPIDEMIC - STABBINGS IN THREE MONTHS OF YEAR DOUBLED SINCE 2015
(Mirror, dated 4th April 2019 author Matthew Young)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/uk-knife-crime-epidemic-stabbings-14238017

Stabbing in the year's first quarter have almost doubled since 2015, figures reveal.

Reported blade attacks totalled 662, a rise of 95%, with 66 victims killed.

Campaigners Anti-Knife UK told the Mirror, which wants Government action to halt the scourge: "Our figures are the tip of the iceberg, as many stabbings go unreported."

Knifings reported in January to March rose steadily from 340 in 2015 to 482 last year, said the charity - but soared 37% over the last three months compared with 2018.

Anti-Knife UK chief Danny O'Brien said: "Stabbing fatalities are down but incidents are up significantly.

Number of UK knife crimes during January, February and March over last 5 years

n = number of fatal stabbings [n]= number of reported stabbings

2015 : 49 [340]
2016 : 72 [380]
2017 : 84 [398]
2018 : 93 [482]
2019 : 66 [662]

"To see a rise of almost 200 attacks over the period in one year is shocking.

"Surgeons are at the front line of this UK-wide epidemic and must take credit for the work they do."

The Mirror demands the Tories tackle rising knife crime by boosting police numbers and powers.

"We want social services cuts reversed, schools' awareness raised and pupil referral units improved.

Bereaved Sally Holder said the Government has done "nothing significant" to halt the crisis since son Rob Knox, 18, was stabbed to death at Sidcup, south-east London, in 2008.

The Harry Potter actor's murderer was jailed for life and Sally, 61, now runs the Rob Knox Foundation to raise awareness of knife crime.

"Things have not changed since my son's killing," she said. " Theresa May claimed police cuts are not linked. I think she's deluded."

Sally said pupil referral units did not work, insisting they are "finishing schools" for youngsters destined for crime.

"This is about prevention," she added. "We need to get in early with primary pupils to affect change.

Knife deaths this year include Jodie Chesney, 17, in Romford, Essex; Yousef Makki, 17, in Hale Barns, Manchester; Jaden Moodie, 14, in Leyton, London; and Hazrat Umar, 18, in Birmingham.

(1st May 2019)


KNIFE CRIME CRISIS - HOSPITAL TREATING ONE STABBED YOUNG PERSON EVERY HOUR
(Daily Star, dated 4th April 2019 author Antony Thrower)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/769903/knife-crime-crisis-epidemic-hospitals-britain-home-office

At least 4,502 victims aged between 11 and 25 attended casualty with stab wounds in the last year.

But the figure could be far higher as only 60% of hospitals gave information to MPs on the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime.

John Poyton, from charity the Redthread, which works to deter young people from violence, warned: "These figures are just the tip of the iceberg."

The shocking statistics came as a man was charged with the knife murder of a cousin of Good Morning Britain weatherman Alex Beresford.

Nathaniel Armstrong, 29, died last month on Gowan Avenue, the road in Fulham, south-west London, where TV's Jill Dando was shot dead in 1999.

Lovel Bailey, 29, appeared before Westminster magistrates yesterday. He entered no plea to a count of murder.

The public gallery was packed with relatives of Mr Armstrong.

One man left saying: "I'm leaving, I'm leaving. I just wanted to see his face."

District Judge Michael Snow remanded Bailey, of Birmingham, in custody to appear at the Old Bailey tomorrow.

(1st May 2019)


POLICE HAIL TESCO IN EDMONTON FOR LOCKING KNIVES AWAY IN GLASS CABINETS
(London Evening Standard, dated 2nd April 2019 author Jacob Jarvis)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/police-hail-tesco-in-edmonton-for-locking-knives-away-in-glass-cabinets-as-other-stores-in-the-area-a4107491.html

Police and campaigners have praised a Tesco store in north London for locking knives in secure cabinets to stop them being stolen and used in attacks.

The supermarket giant has implemented the measure in its store in Edmonton amid a period of violent crime in the capital.

Police have now urged other supermarkets to follow suit as they step up patrols in the area, which has been blighted by five serious stabbings in recent days.

A man, in his 30s, was left in a critical condition after suffering life-threatening injuries when he was stabbed in Fairfield Road, Edmonton, at around 5am on Tuesday.

Investigators believe the latest stabbing is linked to four others that took place over the weekend.

MPS Southbury posted images of the see-through cabinet with a metal combination lock and said kitchen knives are frequently used in attacks during the current "epidemic" in the capital.

The force also shared a letter that has been circulated to stores in the local area that read: "London is in the middle of a knife crime epidemic which is making national news. Enfield is having its fair share of knife crimes were people are being seriously injured or killed.

"Many of these knife crimes are as a result of kitchen knives being used. The police are doing their best to combat this threat but as you know we are extremely stretched with numbers and are facing an uphill battle."

The letter went on to praise the cabinets, writing that the store had experienced "several shopliftings of their knives from youths who we all know won't be using them for cooking".

However, since the installation of the screen around the blades they have had no thefts and police are now suggesting other stores follow suit.

Patrick Green, the CEO of anti-knife crime charity The Ben Kinsella Trust, told the Standard the prevention method was a positive step and he hoped others would copy it.

"We know that in terms of young people getting knives from shops that these young people will tend to shoplift them rather than buying them," he said.

"They [knives] should be in a place where you have to ask for them rather than them being on the shelves. We have seen too many deaths in recent years and we know some of these have been stolen knives."

He said that taking knives away from easy access points is a "great step".

"You don't know how happy this makes me feel, we've been campaigning for this for quite some time," said Mr Green.

Tesco said the cabinet in Edmonton is a trial and is a one off at the moment.

A spokesman did not confirm if it would be implemented permanently.

He said: "At Tesco we take the safety of our customers, colleagues and the communities we serve very seriously.

"We continue to introduce new ways to strengthen how we sell knives responsibly, including exploring more stringent security measures in-store."

MPS Southbury has said B&Q, Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Dunelm stores in its area have said they will consider similar tactics.

Replying to one person who expressed scepticism over the plans, an MPS Southbury officer wrote on Twitter: "We agree that the vast majority of kitchen knives will be taken from kitchen drawers. The fact is however that youths are stealing knives from these stores. To quote a large superstore soundbite 'every little helps'."

(1st May 2019)


POLICE GIVEN MORE STOP AND SEARCH POWERS TO TACKLE KNIFE CRIME
(Guardian, dated 31 March 2019 author Matthew Taylor)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/mar/31/police-given-more-stop-and-search-powers-to-tackle-knife

Police in England and Wales are being given more power to stop and search people without "reasonable suspicion" in an attempt to tackle knife crime.

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, has announced he is making it easier for officers to impose a section 60 order, which allows them to search anyone in an area if serious violence is anticipated.

Critics argue that stop and search powers are frequently misused, disproportionately targeting black people, undermining community relations and are ultimately ineffective at reducing crime.

However, Javid defended the move, saying: "The police are on the frontline in the battle against serious violence and it's vital we give them the right tools to do their jobs."

He said stop and search was a "hugely effective power when it comes to disrupting crime, taking weapons off our streets and keeping us safe".

"That's why we are making it simpler for police in areas particularly affected by serious violence to use section 60 and increasing the number of officers who can authorise the power."

Between March 2017 and 2018, 285 killings were carried out with a knife or sharp instrument, the highest since Home Office records began in 1946. The rates, recorded by police, marked the fourth consecutive annual rise in the number of homicides after a long-term decline.

According to analysis by the Guardian, the Metropolitan police had already increased its use of stop and search last year, with a 19% rise in searches carried out among London's minority black population, which was targeted more than the white population.

The research also revealed that searches of black people were less likely to detect crime than those conducted on white people, and most stops found no wrongdoing.

Stop and search has been linked by academics and some in policing to outbreaks of disorder, while others have linked its use to a drop in crime.

Section 60 is often enforced after an incident of serious violence when police anticipate reprisals, or at major public events. The power was deployed last year at London's Notting Hill carnival, and during an operation outside Stratford station in east London.

In 2017-18, police in England and Wales carried out 2,501 stops and searches under section 60, up from 631 in the previous year. Overall, police stop and search activity has fallen sharply in recent years.

Theresa May, when home secretary, warned police about the damage such disproportionality caused and pressed for change, resulting in a drop in the overall level.

May, who will host a summit on serious youth violence on Monday, said stop and search was an "important tool" in the fight against knife crime. "These changes will support police officers tackling serious violence in the worst affected areas," she said in a statement.

"Stop and search powers are an important tool in the fight against knife crime, and we will continue to drive tough law enforcement to protect the public. As a whole society, we also need to take a hard look at the root causes of these crimes so we can intervene earlier and stop young people from being drawn into violence in the first place."

The Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson, Ed Davey, dismissed the initiative, accusing the government of trying to tackle knife crime "on the cheap".

"It won't work. More random, suspicion-less stop and searches, carried out disproportionately on people from BAME communities, are not the answer," said Davey.

"They will not only consume police time and erode trust in the police, but have little impact in actually preventing people carrying knives. What we really need is more community police officers to build trust, turn young people away from crime, and target stop and searches on those who do carry knives."

(1st May 2019)


KNIFE CRIME - POLICE AND SCHOOLS REQUIRED TO REPORT POTENTIAL OFFENDERS
(Telegraph, dated 1st April 2019 author Charles Hymas)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/03/31/police-schools-required-report-potential-knife-offenders/

Knife offenders will be treated like would-be jihadists under measures announced on Monday by Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, to crack down on violent crime.

Under a statutory "public health duty", police, hospitals, schools and other public bodies would be required to report those at risk of being drawn into knife crime.

Staff would have to alert other agencies if they thought a young person was in danger - such as turning up at A&E with a suspicious injury, absenteeism or worrying behaviour at school or problems at home.

Children would be offered support to stop them going on to commit serious violence or being groomed by gangs, similar to the way the Government's Prevent programme identifies and targets children at risk of being drawn into extremism.

The multi-agency "public health duty" is designed to hold public bodies accountable for preventing as well as tackling serious and violent crime and will be subject to inspections, with those failing named and shamed.

Writing in the Daily Mail the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary have said that knife crime must me treated like an infectious disease that is killing our children.

In a joint statement Theresa May and Sajid Javid wrote: "We must and will use every tool and tactic at our disposal to deter young people from carrying knives. We must treat the threat which knives pose to our society like a disease.

They go on to say the crisis cannot be dealt with by the criminal justice system alone, adding: "We cannot try to simply arrest our way out of this situation, dealing with people only after they have broken the law.

After all, were it an infectious disease killing our children, you would not expect the authorities to just focus on treating the symptoms - you would rightly demand that we also do everything possible to prevent people getting ill at all."

It comes after four random attacks, thought to have been carried out in north London on Saturday night by a lone  male suspect, and on the eve of a Downing Street summit on knife crime.

The Prime Minster said: "To bring about lasting change and protect young people from the tragic violence we have seen on our streets, we need to work across society to intervene early and stop them from being drawn into crime."

The duty is modelled on a scheme in Scotland that saw homicides halve in 10 years.

(1st May 2019)


KNIFE CRIME IS NOW A DISEASE, SAYS MAY
(Daily Mail, dated 1st April 2019 authors Sophie Borland and Jason Groves)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6870871/Theresa-reveals-public-health-approach-tackle-violence-thug-stabs-four-random-people.html?ito=rss-flipboard

Knife crime must be treated like an infectious disease killing our children, Theresa May and Sajid Javid say today.

Unveiling a radical shift in policy, the Prime Minister and Home Secretary will hand hospitals, schools and social services a legal duty to protect youngsters.

Casualty staff and GPs will be obliged to flag up knife wounds or other suspicious injuries so children can be referred to 'violence reduction units'. Mentoring and education will be used to stop them being dragged into crime and the gang culture.

Teachers and social workers will also be obliged to report danger signs such as truancy and serious misbehaviour. The aim is to intervene 'long before' young people ever pick up a weapon.

The move comes amid intense public concern over knife crime. Ten separate stabbing incidents have been reported in the past few days, including one in which a hooded attacker knifed four victims at random during a 12-hour rampage in London.

Today, the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary will host a major Downing Street youth violence summit with experts, police chiefs and victims' families.

In a joint article for the Mail, they say that the loss of lives is horrific, senseless and destructive.

'This cannot be allowed to continue,' they write. 'We must and will use every tool and tactic at our disposal to deter young people from carrying knives. We must treat the threat which knives pose to our society like a disease.'

The new 'public health' approach will see Mr Javid launch a consultation today that would impose legal duties on public bodies such as schools and hospitals. It would be very similar to the system in Glasgow, formerly the knife crime capital of Europe, where stab wounds have halved in 12 years.

It also mirrors the anti-terrorism Prevent strategy, set up in 2006, which is used to identify youngsters at risk of being sucked into extremism.

Under the Glasgow model, gang members and those at risk of joining gangs are referred to violence reduction units. There, they are offered mentoring by someone with similar experiences of violence or given opportunities to further their education.

Doctors are invited into schools to show graphic images of knife wounds and pupils are also taught about the tough sentences for violent crimes.

A consultation on the new strategy will run for eight weeks and establish exactly how the system should work in England.

It will decide how doctors, teachers and social workers would report at-risk pupils and how to impose a legal duty on them to do so.

Violence reduction units already operate in London and the West Midlands but are expected to be expanded there and elsewhere.

In their article for the Mail. the Prime Minister and Home Secretary insist the new approach isn't about 'making excuses for criminals' and anyone caught with a knife will be punished.

But they say the crisis cannot be dealt with by the criminal justice system alone: 'We cannot try to simply arrest our way out of this situation, dealing with people only after they have broken the law.

'After all, were it an infectious disease killing our children, you would not expect the authorities to just focus on treating the symptoms - you would rightly demand that we also do everything possible to prevent people getting ill at all.

'The families of those who have lost loved ones - many of whom will be at the summit today - deserve no less.

'The loss of a life to knife crime is horrific. It is senseless, destructive and a tragedy for the families, friends and communities of the victims.

'It is a terrible truth that, disproportionately, it is young people whose lives are being lost in this way.'

Today's serious youth violence summit will be attended by more than 100 experts including Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, the head of the NHS Simon Stevens and Baroness Newlove, the Victims' Commissioner for England and Wales.

Her husband Garry was beaten to death by a gang vandalising his car in 2007.

Figures last month showed that the number of under-16s taken to A&E with stab wounds had doubled in five years, to 347 admissions in 2017/18 up from 180 in 2012/13.

As part of the new strategy, Mr Javid this weekend announced that police would be given new stop and search powers to tackle the rise in knife crime.

Officers in seven force areas including London and the West Midlands will be allowed to carry out checks without needing to prove they have reasonable grounds.

Mr Javid added: 'Violent crime is like a disease rotting our society and it's essential that all public bodies work together to treat the root causes.'

Figures obtained by Channel 4's Dispatches last month showed that the number of child knife killers had risen 77 per cent in two years with teenage knife robberies up by 50 per cent.

How one city halved the toll of knife attacks

The new 'public health' strategy will closely model the example set by Glasgow where serious knife wounds have more than halved in 12 years.

Its success has been attributed to a violence reduction unit set up by Strathclyde Police in 2005.

Doctors, nurses, teachers and social workers are expected to refer youngsters who they suspect are involved in gangs - or at risk of falling into gangs.

They are told to be alert to suspicious behaviour, such as truanting, as well as to knife injuries.

The unit tries to divert children and teenagers away from gangs by pairing them up with mentors who have experience of violence themselves.

They are encouraged to stay in school or enrol in college if they have already dropped out of education.

One former gang member, who was arrested aged 15 for carrying a machete, is now studying for a masters degree in community youth work.

Kevin Martin, 24, was referred to the unit after his arrest. He is one of a number of former gang members who are helping to mentor youngsters in similar situations.

The Glasgow strategy also sees doctors going into schools to shock children with graphic images of knife crime injury. The city - which used to be the knife crime capital of Europe - has seen hospital admissions for knife injuries fall by 65 per cent since 2005.

Pupils of 12 'most likely to be caught with weapons'

Children aged just 12 are the most likely to be caught taking knives into school amid an 'epidemic' of weapon smuggling.

Figures from Britain's largest police force show a 35 per cent rise in pupils caught with knives over the past three years, with the most prolific being pre-teens.

The Metropolitan Police figures cover Greater London and account for just under half of all such incidents across the country.

Separate data from police forces elsewhere in England and Wales also shows a sharp rise - with a doubling of weapon confiscations in schools.

Head teacher Katharine Birbalsingh said the findings were shocking, adding: 'It is an epidemic. If you are an inner-city teacher, you are used to knives.'

Miss Birbalsingh, who leads the Michaela Community School in Wembley, added: 'There's too much of a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to the raising of children.

'For children who are not focused on their futures, life becomes cheap and carrying a knife is all that matters.'

The figures for London's schools were contained obtained by the Daily Mail under the Freedom of Information Act.

They showed that 350 youngsters aged between ten and 18 were charged by police for having knives in school over the past three years. Of these, 73 were 12 years old.

--------------------------

We need a new way to treat the sickness of knife violence
by Theresa May and Sajid Javid

The loss of a life to knife crime is horrific. It is senseless, destructive and a tragedy for the families, friends and communities of the victims.

It is a terrible truth that, disproportionately, it is young people whose lives are being lost in this way.

This cannot be allowed to continue. We must and will use every tool and tactic at our disposal to deter young people from carrying knives.

We must treat the threat which knives pose to our society like a disease.

So this week we are bringing together experts from many different disciplines for a serious youth violence summit at 10 Downing Street.

The aim is to get people from right across society - not just politicians and police officers, but figures from education, healthcare and social work, religious and community leaders, youth workers and more - working side by side to spot young people at risk, flag their concerns, and make targeted interventions to steer them away from crime.

Rather than having a complex web of different agencies and organisations working independently on different parts of the problem, we want to see everyone working together in what has been called a public health approach.

Because youth violence is an issue that affects us all, and the only way to beat it is for us all to work together.

Not just dealing with the tragic aftermath when someone has been stabbed, but intervening long before.

Responding to the early signs of worrying behaviour or problems at home, or stopping teenagers being groomed by ruthless gangs, so that a young person doesn't pick up a knife in the first place.

We are today launching a consultation into a legal duty that will underpin the multi-agency, public health approach, an approach that builds on work we are already doing to stop crime before it happens. For example, we're putting an extra £100million into law enforcement in the worst-affected areas, getting more police on the frontline and setting up Violence Reduction Units. And our new £200million Youth Endowment Fund will provide long-term investment for programmes that steer young people away from becoming involved in violent crime or reoffending.

This approach is not making excuses for criminals. Responsibility for knife crime lies with the perpetrators, and anyone even considering arming themselves with a blade should be under no illusions: if you carry a knife you will be caught, and you will be punished.

The police are already catching and prosecuting more people who carry a knife - and the courts are sending more of those convicted to prison for longer.

Yesterday, we announced that we will be piloting changes to stop and search, which will initially apply in areas particularly affected by violent crime: London, the West Midlands, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Wales and Greater Manchester.

Our new Offensive Weapons Bill will make it harder for criminals to arm themselves. And almost £1billion of extra police funding is being made available this year, so that local forces have the resources they need.

But while strong, effective law enforcement has an obvious and vital role to play, we cannot try to simply arrest our way out of this situation, dealing with people only after they have broken the law.

After all, were it an infectious disease killing our children, Mail readers would not expect the authorities to just focus on treating the symptoms - you would rightly demand that we also do everything possible to prevent people getting ill at all. The families of those who have lost loved ones - many of whom will be at the summit today - deserve no less.

Of course, nothing we say or do this week will bring back the children who were so cruelly taken from them.

But we can promise that we will do whatever it takes to confront and defeat the scourge of youth violence.

And that we will do everything in our power to stop more families suffering as they have suffered.

(1st May 2019)


HOME OFFICE SET TO PLACE LEGAL DUTY ON DOCTORS, TEACHERS AND SOCIAL WORKERS TO SPOT SIGNS OF KNIFE CRIME INVOLVEMENT
(Independent, dated 1st April 2019 author May Bulman)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/knife-crime-youth-violence-home-office-legal-duty-public-bodies-teachers-doctors-a8848101.html

The Home Office is planning to place a legal duty on doctors, teachers and other public sector workers to identify and raise concerns about children at risk of being involved in knife crime.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has launched an eight-week consultation into a public health approach to tackling youth knife violence. It will entail a multi-agency public health duty intended to help spot the warning signs that a young person could be in danger, such as presenting in A&E with a suspicious injury, worrying behaviour at school or issues at home.

Campaigners welcomed the idea, but warned that if it was not underpinned by significant funding, it would fail to make a difference.

The Home Office said the joined-up approach would be backed up by legislation to ensure that professionals in health, education, police, social services, housing and the voluntary sector worked together and were held accountable for preventing and tackling serious violence.

Similar approaches have been used in Scotland and Wales, and are designed to ensure all parts of the system works together to support young people and make targeted interventions before they commit violence or are groomed by gangs, the department said.

The announcement comes as the prime minister is set to host a summit to tackle knife crime, which will introduce this multi-agency response to violent crime and will bring together participants from a diverse range of backgrounds including law enforcement, health, the voluntary sector and education.

Young people with experience of living in communities impacted by serious violence will also attend the conference to share their insights.

Knife and weapon offences are at the highest level for nine years in England and Wales, with almost 21,500 crimes dealt with by the criminal justice system last year - the highest number since 2009. The proportion of victims aged 25 to 34 rose by 23 per cent in the year to March 2018.

Ahead of the Summit, Theresa May said: "To bring about lasting change and protect young people from the tragic violence we have seen on our streets, we need to work across society to intervene early and stop them from being drawn into crime.

"Strong law enforcement plays an important role, and the police will continue to have our support on the front line, but we all need to look at what we can do in our communities, and in every part of the system, to safeguard young people."

Rhammel Afflick, a youth campaigner who works closely with young people in some of London's most deprived areas, said the proposal sounded great but that if was not underpinned by significant funding, it would not make a difference.

"The government have a habit of suggesting partnership work just magically happens without significant framework and infrastructure which is funded," he said.

"Without adequate funding, this will just place more pressures on already stretched public services."

Gary Trowsdale, senior advisor to the Youth Violence Commission and the former chief executive of the Damilola Taylor Trust, echoed mr Afflick's concerns, and described the government's response to knife crime as shambolic.

"The public health approach is the way forward, but it needs significant investment to rebuild the social structures in our most challenged communities broken or decayed after years of neglect," he said.

"It also requires trauma-informed policing which is an issue certainly in London treated more as the elephant in the room than a workable solution."

Mr Javid described violent crime as being like a disease rotting society, and said it was essential that all public bodies worked together to treat the root causes.

"The public health, multi-agency approach has a proven track record and I'm confident it will help stop this senseless violence and create long-term change. I'm committed to ending this scourge and will use all the tools at my disposal to do so," he said.

(1st May 2019)


PROFESSIONALS MAY HAVE TO REPORT CHILDREN FEARED INJURED BY KNIVES
(Guardian, dated 1st April 2019 author Jamie Grierson and Robert Booth)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/apr/01/professionals-may-have-to-report-children-feared-injured-by-knives

Doctors, nurses and teachers would be required by law to report children feared to have been caught up in a life of violence - and held accountable if they failed to do so - under proposals put forward by the government to tackle the knife crime crisis.

Young people turning up at A&E with suspicious injuries or displaying worrying behaviour at school are among some of the warning signs that public sector staff would be expected to flag under the proposed multi-agency "public health duty".

Home Office officials said the requirement would be backed up by legislation to make sure professionals in health, education, the police, social services and housing, as well as charities, are held accountable for preventing and tackling serious violence.

The proposals, which are to be put out to consultation, were unveiled after the Home Office said it was handing more power to to police to stop and search people without "reasonable suspicion" in an attempt to tackle knife crime.

Ahead of a summit at Downing Street on serious youth violence, the prime minister, Theresa May, said: "To bring about lasting change and protect young people from the tragic violence we have seen on our streets, we need to work across society to intervene early and stop them from being drawn into crime.

"Strong law enforcement plays an important role, and the police will continue to have our support on the front line, but we all need to look at what we can do in our communities, and in every part of the system, to safeguard young people.

"That is why our plans to introduce a whole community - or 'public health' - approach are designed to identify more young people at risk."

It comes amid evidence from south London, one of the areas worst affected by knife crime, that attackers have been increasingly targeting faces, heads and necks with weapons including kitchen knives, samurai swords, machetes and even nail guns.

Similar approaches to the proposed public health duty have been used in Scotland and Wales. The proposals include organisations jointly funding early intervention services. The consultation opens on Monday to the public and professionals across the UK.

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, said: "Violent crime is like a disease rotting our society and it's essential that all public bodies work together to treat the root causes.

"The public health, multi-agency approach has a proven track record and I'm confident it will help stop this senseless violence and create long-term change."

On Sunday, Javid said he will reduce the level of authorisation required to impose the controversial Section 60 stop and search tactic from chief superintendent to inspector, meaning 3,000 more officers will be able to deploy the power. Section 60 orders allow officers to search anyone in a designated area if serious violence is anticipated.

In addition, the degree of certainty required by the authorising officer is to be reduced so they must reasonably believe an incident involving serious violence "may", rather than "will", occur.

The changes apply to seven police forces and will run for up to a year, including a review after six months.

The move is politically sensitive as it is Javid's predecessor, the now prime minister, who forced through a reduction in the use of stop and search powers in the face of evidence from the police professional standards body that increasing the tactic was unlikely to reduce crime.

The College of Policing said in 2016 that stop and search is only likely to be effective when "it is used in a targeted and intelligence-led way against active offenders and when officers' grounds for suspicion are strong".

The college's guidance also states that "evidence suggests that stop and search also tends to be less productive the more the power is used".

However, May put her name to the most recent changes, saying: "These changes will support police officers tackling serious violence in the worst-affected areas.

"Stop and search powers are an important tool in the fight against knife crime, and we will continue to drive tough law enforcement to protect the public."

According to data from King's College hospital in south London, the number of stab wounds to the face and head and neck areas of victims increased by 50% between 2015 and 2017. Over the same period the number of stab wounds of all kinds seen by the hospital increased by about a quarter to 478 - equivalent to more than nine a week and nearly three times the rate in 2010. Young males made up the vast majority of patients, but there were a growing number of young women.

James Olding, a maxillofacial surgeon at the unit who gathered the data after noticing the trend, said: "When there are efforts to maim, people start to learn where they can [stab to] cause the most disability without killing people. There was a period of stabbing in the buttocks and now the face is going through that."

He added: "Traumatic injuries to the face are particularly devastating, both physically and psychologically. The face is socially the most important and visible part of the body."

The average age of all the stab victims the hospital treated in 2016-17 was 25, but the youngest was 13. Olding said the numbers were likely to be an underestimate because he sometimes treated people for knife wounds to the head or neck, but they weren't added to the main count.

"The victims often appear to be unfazed by the incident, especially if they have friends around," he said.

Between March 2017 and 2018, 285 killings were carried out with a knife or sharp instrument, the highest since Home Office records began in 1946. The rates, recorded by police, marked the fourth consecutive annual rise in the number of homicides after a long-term decline.

According to analysis by the Guardian, the Metropolitan police had already increased its use of stop and search last year, with a 19% rise in searches carried out among London's minority black population, which was targeted more than the white population.

Government ministers from across Whitehall will chair a series of meetings throughout the week with more than 100 experts, including the children's commissioner, Anne Longfield, the Met commissioner, Cressida Dick, charity leaders and the chair of the Youth Justice Board, Charlie Taylor.

May will also meet privately with the families of a number of victims of knife crime to listen to their first-hand experiences.

(7th April 2019)


HIGH TECH NEW DETECTORS TO BE DEVELOPED THAT CAN SPOT WHO IS CARRYING A KNIFE
(London Evening Standard, dated 1st April 2019 author Martin Bentham)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/high-tech-detectors-to-be-developed-that-can-tell-who-is-carrying-a-knife-a4105786.html

High tech detectors that will allow blades to be spotted as knife carriers walk in crowded places are to be developed with new government funding announced today.
The detectors will use radar, electromagnetic or acoustic sensors to identify blades remotely and alert police.

The aim is that they will operate without requiring people to walk through conventional scanner arches so that large numbers can be checked without interfering with their daily activities.

The blueprints for them will be created by six companies which were today awarded funding of just under £500,000 for "proof of concept" planning.

The announcement came as Prime Minister Theresa May and Home Secretary Sajid Javid met law enforcers, experts from health, education and other sectors, young people, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan for a knife crime summit at Downing Street.

The summit was prompted by a surge in violent crime which has led to a succession of fatal stabbings and serious injuries in London and other parts of Britain and follow the unveiling of a series of other reforms designed to combat the problem.

They include testing a relaxation of the rules governing "Section 60" stop and search powers - which allow random checks for a limited period in a knife risk area - and a new "public health" duty requiring teachers, health staff, and other public officials to raise the alarm over children thought to at risk of being drawn into knife crime.

The aim of that change, which echoes the methods used to identify potential extremists, is to allow early intervention that will divert such youngsters away from blade offending before they either commit crimes or become victims.

But to ensure that those who continue to carry blades can be detected more easily, ministers have also asked the government's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory to find companies and academics to develop new high tech scanners.

Six, including the transport and industrial firm Thales and a team from Loughborough University, will now be commissioned to draw up initial plans by the summer with the aim of further development taking place after that.

Announcing the new technology, Home Office minister Victoria Atkins said that ministers were determined to prevent further "senseless killings" and added: "New technology must play a role in this, together with effective early intervention and strong law enforcement.

"I'm pleased the government has been able to support these innovative projects which have the potential to rid our streets of dangerous weapons."

Meanwhile, the new "public health" duty to report youngsters at risk of knife crime is intended to make it a legal requirement for teachers, NHS staff and others to raise the alarm when children display warning signs.

These could include disappearing from school or home for significant periods or appearing at accident and emergency departments with blade injuries.

Ministers believe that a similar approach worked well in Scotland, where the introduction of a public health approach reduced knife crime dramatically, and has also helped in diverting significant numbers of people away from extremism.

Mr Javid added: "Violent crime is like a disease rotting our society and it's essential that all public bodies work together to treat the root causes.

"The public health, multi-agency approach has a proven track record and I'm confident it will help create long-term change."

Today's Downing Street summit will be followed by a series of other meetings this week chaired by other ministers. Those attending will include Met Commissioner Cressida Dick and the Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield.

In a blow to ministers, however, the new head of the National Police Chiefs' Council, Martin Hewitt, warned that the £970 million funding increase made available to forces this year to help tackle knife crime was not enough because of the rising demands faced by officers.

(7th April 2019)


£600,000 BOOST FOR OUR NEW WAY TO TACKLE CRIME
(London Evening Standard, dated 28th March 2019 author David Cohen)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/london/600000-boost-for-evening-standards-save-london-lives-fund-a4103066.html

The Evening Standard's campaign to tackle surging youth violence using the "public health" approach has today been given a £600,000 boost, taking the total raised to £1.6 million.

Our Save London Lives fund received the £600,000 donation from the L&Q Foundation, the charitable arm of the social housing landlord, making them the largest single donor to our fund.

The funds will be used to back hyper-local groups with demonstrable experience in tackling youth violence by making available grants to cover their core costs with up to £30,000 payable over three years.

It follows our special investigation, Violent London, last year in which we backed the public health model as the best way to halt the surge of knife and gun killings, which are at a 10-year high and continue unabated with 29 fatalities already recorded in the capital this year.

The model, used to dramatically reduce the murder rate in Glasgow, deploys a range of holistic services -including youth work, education, mental health, charities and police - to divert young people from gangs, rather than just the police-led enforcement approach that has failed in the past.

David Montague, chief executive of L&Q, which has a stock of 100,000 properties in the pan-London area, said: "London's gang violence epidemic is a tragedy that affects entire communities. There is no easy solution but we believe that empowering grassroots organisations is key. By giving these organisations the resources to get on with their work and share expertise with one another, we aim to help them reach people who may feel society has given up on them. That is why we are proud to support the Evening Standard in backing these projects."

The grants will be administered by The London Community Foundation, the charity that manages Save London Lives and the Dispossessed Fund. So far, 41 charities have been supported in the first two rounds of grant giving.

Kelly Rust, director of grants and impact for LCF, said: "Our aim in launching this programme was to help build a resilient grassroots response to youth violence. That's why we are focused on providing core funding and building the capacity of small charities to tackle this complex issue."

Save London lives fund: how to apply

What's new? We are announcing  a third grant round, funded by the  L&Q Foundation, to support charities tackling serious youth violence in London.

Who can apply? Groups responding to youth violence by offering trauma support, family support, in-school support or employability support may apply for funding of core costs of up to £30,000 each, spread over three years, and equating to a maximum £10,000 per year. Organisations with income of less than £500,000 may be prioritized, as will groups operating in boroughs that received less support in rounds one and two, namely: Bexley, Brent, Camden, Enfield, Greenwich, Kensington and Chelsea, Lewisham, Newham and Waltham Forest. Charities already funded in rounds one and two are ineligible for this round.

Deadline May 1, 2019

How to apply You can apply online at londoncf.org.uk

(7th April 2019)


POLICE OFFICERS IN SCHOOLS TO DOUBLE IN RESPONSE TO KNIFE CRIME EPIDEMIC, MET CHIEF SAYS
(Telegraph, dated 27th March 2019 author Camilla Turner)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2019/03/27/police-officers-schools-double-response-knife-crime-epidemic/

Police officers in schools are to double in response to the knife crime epidemic, a senior Scotland Yard officer has revealed.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons said that the Met Police has made a "major investment" in hiring and training new officers to place in schools around London.

The force now has around 420 officers in schools, up from around 280 a year to 18 months ago, he said, adding that a recruitment drive is now underway to get this number up to "just under 600".

"In the Met, we are investing heavily in more officers in schools," Mr Simmons told the education select committee. 

"We need young people to see police officers not just as the person who stops them in the street and searches them -  even though that may be an absolutely proportionate, legitimate thing for them to do - but someone who can become familiar to them, that can be approachable, that can engage with them day to day within the school. It's a really important part of our approach and a major investment for us."

Mr Simmons was responding to a question about whether pupils should be stopped and searched if they are suspected to be carrying knives.

He acknowledged that it is an "intrusive" power that can "alienate" people, and said it must be conducted in the right way and balanced with community engagement.

Meanwhile, Will Linden, deputy director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit - which is credited with having helped halve the city's murder rate - told MPs that "campus officers" can transform children's attitudes towards police.

 "One of the biggest changes we saw in a single school is the first time we put a campus officer in the school," he said.

"And the campus officer role wasn't to police, it was to engage, it was to mentor, it was to build and break down bonds between gangs, between the individuals and policing."

Mr Linden described how having full-time officers based in schools can have a secondary effect of encouraging youngsters to see policing as a career option.

"That school in the space of one year had never had a single applicant to then Strathclyde police to become a police officer," he said. 

"In the space of one year they had I think eight applications from the school to the police. We saw a change in attitude."

The education select committee, chaired by the Tory MP Robert Halfon, was holding a one-off evidence session to explore whether there is a link between the rise in exclusions and increase in knife crime.

Earlier this month, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and seven Police and Crime Commissioners wrote a letter to the Prime Minister warning that a "broken" school exclusion system is exacerbating the recent surge in violence.

There has also been a sharp rise in the number of police-recorded knife crime offences since 2013, across every force area.

(7th April 2019)


TORY MP SUGGESTS YOUNG PEOPLE LEARN MARTIAL ARTS TO DEFEND THEMSELVES AGAINST KNIFE ATTACKERS
(Telegraph, dated 26th March 2019 author Martin Evans)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/03/26/tory-mp-suggests-young-people-learn-martial-arts-defend-against/

A senior police officer has said the best way to deal with a knife attacker is to "run away as fast you can", after a Tory MP suggested youngsters should learn Martial Arts to defend themselves.

Sir Christopher Chope said youngsters who got fit and learnt Judo or Tae Kwon Do would be better able to deal with a knife attack.

But Dave Thompson, the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police warned against relying on unarmed combat, and insisted that the best advice was always to run away.

Mr Thompson was appearing at the Home Affairs Select Committee, alongside Met Commissioner, Cressida Dick, to answer questions from MPs on serious violent crime.

They both said the current knife crime epidemic was the worst it had been in their long careers.

Sir Christopher, who is a member of the committee, said: "One of the ways in which people can be prepared is by doing Judo or Tae Kwon Do, being physically able and taught how to deal with a situation when you are threatened with a knife."

Mr Thompson replied: "The best knife prevention technique is to run away as fast as you can...I would probably not advocate a strategy of increasing combat readiness through martial arts of young people generally, but there is some attraction in those sports, they are hugely popular and they take young men off the streets."

Earlier this month, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond announced an extra £100 million to help tackle knife crime.

But Ms Dick said while welcome the extra funds were not enough and she urged ministers to "step up" and treat the issue as more of a priority.

Ms Dick insisted that tackling horrific levels of violence was the number one priority for everyone working in the Met.

But she said there was too little coordination and not enough focus by government departments and said the £100 million announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond earlier this month as a "relatively small" amount.

Ms Dick said: "If you look at the stabbings of young people, I think this is a new and worrying and tragic phenomenon. The last couple of years have seen the highest and most worrying levels [of knife crime] in my service."

She went on: "There has been a massive amount of attention from the media and undoubtedly some really tragic cases and everyone in the country is more focused on this.

"The Home Secretary has shown a considerable amount of leadership around it. However what we are not seeing yet is real cross government actions and that being delivered in a meaningful way on the ground in our communities."

Ms Dick said while government departments were stretched and were focussed on other issues such as Brexit, it was vital they "stepped up" and came together to help drive down the scourge of serious violence.

She said: "It needs to be a higher priority and then there needs to be more real coordination and delivery of the things we know work, and will work, and of course potentially some further resourcing of these, which is something else I would ask for."

Asked about the recent cash injection from the Government, Ms Dick said: "It is very welcome but when you compare it with all the things we know we could do and all the savings and reductions across the relevant sectors, not least policing at a time of increasing complexity, expectation and demand, £100 million is a small amount of money relatively, absolutely."

(7th April 2019)


MORE THAN 200 KNIVES TAKEN OFF STREETS DURING OPERATION SCEPTRE
(Daily Echo, dated 25th March 2019 author Sarah Cartlidge)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/17524291.more-than-200-knives-taken-off-streets-during-operation-sceptre/

HAMPSHIRE police have taken more than 200 knives off the street as part of Operation Sceptre.

In total, 140 knives were recovered and seized, and 97 were discarded in surrender bins across the county last week as police stepped up action against knife crime Officers carried out test purchases of knives from retailers, as well as high visibility patrols, local-engagement activity, weapon sweeps and use of surrender bins as part of the action against knife crime.

Knife crime lead for Hampshire Constabulary, temporary superintendent Claire Taylor, said: "Even though levels of knife crime in Hampshire and Isle of Wight are low, there is a continuing concern nationally around knife crime, which has seen an increase following a downward trend.

"In our week of action operation we targeted habitual offenders in crime hotspots, resulting in arrests and weapons seized.

"We also worked with Trading Standards to identify retailers who are failing to meet their responsibilities under the law on selling.

"We have been supporting the Knife Free campaign led by the Home Office, encouraging under-18s to not carry weapons."

Over the course of the week, Hampshire police recovered 26 knives from 55 weapon sweeps, and six retail premises failed test purchases from the 25 tested.

The force also carried 50 engagement and education events.

Ms Taylor added: "We take knife crime very seriously, and as part of my role sitting on the National Working Group, we will be working with our partners to look at best practice across the country to reduce access to and the use of knives in crime.

"This will be considered to identify opportunities to tackle knife related criminal activity occurring in Hampshire.

"Our primary focus is on those vulnerable people living within our communities who could be targeted by others connected with drug and knife-related crime, which can have a devastating impact."

Michael Lane, Hampshire police and crime commissioner, said: "This week of action by the force is important and it is encouraging to see some significant and far reaching results, not only in terms of knives seized and arrests, but also in terms of engagement with partners and local communities."

(7th April 2019)


BRITAIN'S KNIFE CRIME EPIDEMIC IS BEING FUELLED BY SICK GANGLAND GAME
(Daily Mail, dated 25th March 2019 author Harry Howard)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6846033/Knife-crime-epidemic-fuelled-sick-game-awards-points-wounding-different-body-parts.html?ito=rss-flipboard

Sick gangland game where points are awarded for wounding different parts of the body - with top marks for a blade in the head.

The knife crime epidemic that has gripped Britain is being fuelled by a sick game in which points are awarded for wounding different parts of the body.

The so-called Tally Up challenge awards points for every wound which gang members inflict on various body parts.

A stabbing in the head scores 50 points, the chest 30 points and 20 points for the stomach, with ten awarded for a leg wound and five for an arm, the Sun reported.

Evidence of Tally Up was seen last month in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, where a victim was stabbed in the head, chest and arms.

A police source confirmed that the victim, who was stabbed in the head, had been targeted as part of the game, and added that it could lead to more lives being lost. 

The craze is also referenced in drill rap videos and has appeared on both Snapchat and Instagram.

Former gang member Sheldon Thomas, who has gone on to set up support group Gangsline, said the game is spreading at a 'scary rate'.

'This points scoring game was just in London and has been around for about six months or so,' he said.

'But it's now spreading at a scary rate and is now getting everywhere and is potentially more lethal than ever.'

References were also found to 'Tally Up' and 'Scores' in drill raps, with one lyric saying: 'Gang sh** Still drillin' - check the scores. Tally Up.'

Another said: 'splash the street for scores.'

The number of homicides in London has risen to 29 this year, with the latest victim - a 54-year-old man - dying during a robbery at a newsagent's in north-west London yesterday.

(7th April 2019)


FAMILIES CALL FOR KNIFE ANGEL TO COME TO SOUTH YORKSHIRE
(Your Hallam FM, dated 25th March 2019 author Astrid Quinn)

Full article [Option 1]:

https://planetradio.co.uk/hallam/local/news/families-call-for-knife-angel-to-come-to-south-yorkshire/

Families in South Yorkshire are calling for the iconic 'Knife Angel' to be brought to Sheffield.

The statue is 27 feet tall and has been created from a massive 100,000 weapons collected from police forces across the country, including South Yorkshire.

The sculpture is a tribute to the lives lost to knife crime across the UK.

It's currently on display in Coventry and has already made its way through Liverpool and Hull.

The statue took five years to build and produced by the British Ironwork Center, in a bid to raise awareness of the growing issue.

Many of the blades making up the body of the Knife Angel have been engraved with the names of victims, who's lives have been claimed by knife crime. 19-year-old Jamie Stuart from Sheffield is just one of them.

His Grandmother Anne Gray had a loving message inscribed on one of the blades after he was stabbed to death back in 2011 when walking home from a party.

Grandmother Anne and mum Dawn have been campaigning ever since to try and get the sculpture to come to the city to try and make other people realise the consequences of knife crime.

They've both written to the council to try and urge them to host the statue in the city.

Jamie's Mother Dawn Gray Said:

"It'll never sink in that it happened to us. Still every day I wake up and think about Jamie. It's just, every day is just a nightmare.

"Bring the knife angel here and they can see what devastating things have happened to people and I want other parents to go look at the knife angel and just think, look at their own kids.

"Check, make sure they don't have any knives, talk to them about knife crime. When you see it and you know there's peoples names on it what's been killed, they might just start thinking.

"It'd make a lot of difference if just one person decided not to take a knife out. Then he'll talk to his friends and then say, I'm not taking a knife out tonight.

"That could save somebody's life and save somebody going to prison for a long time as well, because it impacts on their family."

(7th April 2019)


DAMIAN HINDS SAYS TRUANCY IS "BIGGER CONCERN" THAN EXPULSIONS
(Independent, dated 21st March 2019 author Staff Reporter)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/knife-crime-stabbings-truancy-school-expulsions-education-secretary-damian-hinds-a8832781.html

The Education Secretary has defended the school exclusions system and suggested that truancy could be a better indicator for knife crime.

Damian Hinds said a "much bigger concern" than expulsions are those who are "persistently absent", which includes pupils who skip school or are long-term sick.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan and seven police and crime commissioners had written to the Prime Minister warning that a "broken" exclusion system was contributing to the issue.

But Mr Hinds, writing in The Daily Telegraph, said "the reality is more complex", with only about 3 per cent of knife attacks perpetrated by someone excluded in the previous year.

One study suggested four fifths of young knife offenders were persistently absent in one of the five years leading up to the offence, he added.

"They may be disillusioned, disengaged or ultimately coming from a home where going to school is not the top of the priority list," the minister said. "It is these children, children from homes where parents have experienced one or more of the trio of mental health problems, domestic violence and substance abuse, that are most at risk of harm or criminal exploitation."

Permanent exclusions in England increased by 56 per cent between 2013-14 and 2016-17.

Ofsted head Amanda Spielman has said the issues leading up to a pupil's exclusion, rather than the exclusion itself, were more likely to explain violence.

Mr Khan and the police leaders earlier this month wrote to Theresa May, saying: "It cannot be right that so many of those who have committed offences have been excluded from school or were outside of mainstream education."

(7th April 2019)


SUSSEX POLICE TALK ABOUT KNIFE CRIME
(Heart, dated 21st March 2019)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.heart.co.uk/sussex/news/local/sussex-police-talk-about-knife-crime/

Police say tens of thousands of people joined in the conversation about knife crime across Sussex during a week-long national campaign last week.

Operation Sceptre, which ran between March 11 and 17, saw officers out across the county talking to people about knives and the impact knife crime has on communities.

Thirty-eight schools, college and youth events were visited during the week to speak to young people about how to act if they feel pressure to carry a knife, and what to do if they feel in danger.

During the climate march in Brighton, officers had the chance to speak to thousands of students and used the Crimestoppers van as a place to chat to them at the Level, where the march ended.

Test purchases were also carried out across the whole county. Police cadets worked with officers and Trading Standards colleagues to try and buy a knife in shops when they were clearly under 18. Out of the 47 shops tested, 12 failed. They were all given warnings and will be tested again. If they fail again, they will be named and either fined or prosecuted.

Across the force knife amnesty bins were in place in police stations and knives were handed in and will now be destroyed.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick May said: "Operation Sceptre gives us a good opportunity to talk about knife crime in an open and honest way, and it's been good to hear about all the activity which took place during the week.

"It was reassuring to hear about young people really getting involved in the conversation on knives and the impact it had on them. The week also gave us useful intelligence on why people carry knives and we are doing further on developing this information."

"However this isn't just one week of action, these patrols and conversations are all part of everyday policing. We always have amnesty bins in police stations and you can always drop off your dangerous and unwanted blades. We will continue working with other agencies to take positive action when knife crimes occur, focusing on engagement and prevention."

If you need to talk to someone anonymously, Crimestoppers can be reached on 0800 555 111. As always, you can report crime online, or via 101. In an emergency, always call 999.

(7th April 2019)


MORE THAN 100 SHOP STAFF ATTACKED DAILY, AS KNIVES BECOMES "SIGNIFICANT CONCERN" FOR RETAILERS
(Sky News, dated 21st March 2019 author Sanya Burgess)

Full article [Option 1]:

https://news.sky.com/story/more-than-100-shop-staff-attacked-daily-as-knives-becomes-significant-concern-for-retailers-11671151

Knife crime is a "significant concern" retail businesses say, as it is revealed that 115 shop employees are attacked at work every day.

The British Retail Consortium's (BRC) annual Retail Crime Survey found that knives "are seen as the most significant type of weapon" used in these attacks.

The survey recorded more than 42,000 violent incidents involving retail workers, noting that weapons are being used for both high and low value thefts.

Racially aggravated attacks and gang-related incidents also rose, the report found.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British retail consortium, writes in the foreword of the report: "Violence against employees is one of the most pressing issues retailers face, and yet again we have seen in increase in the overall number of incidents… incidents are becoming more severe, with weapons, particularly knives, posting a more significant threat than before."

The report states the total cost of crime and crime prevention for retailers was £1.9bn last year, up 12% from the previous year (£1.7bn). This figure is equivalent to around 20% of the estimated profits of the entire retail industry.

Investment in preventing crime made up £1bn of this figure, while £900m is lost as a direct cost of retail crime.

Ms Dickinson has called on the police to do more to tackle violence against retail employees and for Parliament to "play it's part".

She said: "No one should go to work fearing threats and abuse... We hope this report will act as a catalyst for police and crime commissioners around the country to take action.

"Retail crime should be explicitly addressed by police and crime plans.

"Furthermore, parliament must play its part in stemming this tide of crime by creating a specific criminal offence to protect retail employees from assault at work, as has been done for emergency workers."

Paddy Lillis, general secretary for the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, said: "It is time for the government to act by providing stiffer penalties for those who assault workers."

Additionally, the report found nearly 80% of the retailers surveyed have seen an increase in the number of cyber attacks.

The BRC Retail Crime Survey covers the period from 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2018 and includes the responses of surveys who collectively control 11,000 stores and £103 billion of turnover, equivalent to just under one-third of the retail market.

(7th April 2019)


SUSSEX POLICE FAILS TO RECORD HALF OF KNIFE CRIME
(BBC News, dated 20th March 2019)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-47644663

A police force failed to report more than half of knife crimes committed, it has admitted.

Between 2016 and 2018, there were 1,322 knife crimes not recorded as such, Sussex Police's figures show.

A "semi-hidden" box on the crime recording system has been blamed for the omissions, which the force said was being "put right".

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said the recording of knife crimes was "under close scrutiny."

In 2016, 296 crimes involving blades were recorded by the force when the real number was 665.

By 2018 there were 827 knife crimes committed, but only 298 were recorded as having involved blades.

'Safe place'

The information was shared by Deputy Chief Constable Jo Shiner during a meeting with the police and crime commissioner, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Ms Shiner said: "When there is a crime which is a knife-enabled crime, then there is a box officers need to tick in order to positively say a knife was involved."

She said the box was "almost semi hidden" and had been missed by officers.

"We're putting that right," she added.

She said knife crime in Sussex was still "relatively unusual" and it was "still a very safe place to live".

Ms Bourne said she was keeping the recording of knife crime "under very close scrutiny".

(7th April 2019)


SUFFOLK KNIFE AMNESTY 2019 SEES HUNDREDS OF BLADES HANDED IN
(Ipswich Star, dated 20th March 2019 author Jake Foxford)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/ipswich-knife-crime-amnesty-bins-after-operation-sceptre-1-5949160

Meat cleavers and ornamental daggers were among the weapons anonymously handed in to police during a Suffolk-wide knife amnesty, pictures show.

Suffolk Constabulary took park in the nationwide campaign against knife crime, Operation Sceptre, in a bid to curb the rise of stabbings in the county.

Knife amnesty bins were placed in six Suffolk towns - and the preliminary results of the campaign suggest that hundreds of blades are now off of the county's streets.

Both Lowestoft police and Mildenhall police discovered more than 100 knives deposited in their amnesty bins in just seven days.

There were also bins in Haverhill, Stowmarket, Bury St Edmunds and three in Ipswich.

Superintendent Kerry Cutler, who is leading the campaign at Suffolk Constabulary, said: "Young people face all sorts of pressures and therefore family, friends and role models are an important influence in their lives.

"Having a conversation with them about the dangers of carrying a knife may be difficult but talking and listening is critical to finding a solution to the growing problem we have seen nationally around knife crime.

"Simply listening and giving time to a young person can encourage them to think about their decisions and behaviour. "

Knife crime has had tragic consequences across Suffolk in the past nine months.

There were three stabbings in Ipswich in June 2018, including the murder of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens.

Another man was also stabbed in Haverhill later in the month.

Lowestoft man Scott Tarrant died of stab wounds in July and three more stabbings occurred in December, including the death of Daniel Saunders in Turin Street, Ipswich.

And on March 12, a 17-year-old boy was stabbed in Marlow Road and had to call 999 for his own ambulance.

Tim Passmore, police and crime commissioner for Suffolk, said: "Knife crime is a growing problem here in Suffolk and it's got to stop.

"Carrying a knife just doesn't make you safe and sadly, as we all know, it can lead to dreadful consequences."

The number of knives across Suffolk, including those handed in in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, are due to be released by police before March 22.

(7th April 2019)


26 WEAPONS RECOVERED IN KNIFE CRIME OP
(Heart, dated 20th March 2019)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.heart.co.uk/kent/news/local/26-weapons-recovered-in-knife-crime-op/

Kent police say they arrested 62 people and recovered more than 26 weapons during a national week of action targeting knife crime.

Knives, blades, a chainsaw and a baseball bat were all either seized or handed in as part of Operation Sceptre which also saw 150 people were stopped, 83 people searched and ten search warrants executed.

Officers seized more than £97,000 in cash, suspected to have been gained through criminal activity, and more than 350 wraps of class A drugs, believed to be cocaine and heroin.

Districts such as Canterbury, Dartford and Tunbridge Wells saw proactive weapon sweeps and community engagement events at key locations such as train stations, shopping centres and high streets in partnership with local councils and the British Transport Police (BTP).

Following the successes of Op Sceptre in the county, Kent Police will continue its level of enforcement action targeting those who think it is acceptable to carry knives.

Kent Police Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said: "Knife crime is not just about injuring another person - it can include offences without causing injury such as possession and criminal damage.

"In tackling knife crime officers will without doubt address associated offences such as drug dealing and domestic abuse.

"Our message is simple; knife crime in Kent will not be tolerated."

(7th April 2019)


HOME SECRETARY DEMANDS £300m TO TACKLE KNIFE CRIME EPIDEMIC IN BRITAIN'S BIGGEST CITIES
(The SUN, dated 7th March 2019 author Steve Hawkes)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.thesun.co.uk/news/8587238/knife-crime-home-secretary-police-cash-boost/

SAJID JAVID has asked for £300 million to tackle knife crime in Britain's biggest cities, The Sun can reveal.

Amid a bitter Cabinet rift on police funding, the Home Secretary has demanded the top-up cash in a formal request to No.10.

He also wants police to track knife crime and a Cabinet sub-committee set up to tackle the blood-letting in "hot spots".

The money would be spread over three years and ring-fenced for knife crime. One insider said: "Extra money is needed and it has to be a serious amount to make a difference."

Last night Government sources said the Chancellor was "minded" to help in the short-term.

But the size of the demand sets up another bitter Cabinet row. And it jars with police chiefs who on Thursday said they wanted £15 million to fund a knife crime "surge" over the coming weeks.

The move came as Chancellor Philip Hammond sparked uproar by saying the overstretched police re-prioritise their existing resources to "nip" knife crime in the bud.

In an extraordinary radio interview the Chancellor said: "If your house is on fire then you stop painting it, you get a bucket and you put out the fire."

Tackle "Hot Spots"


He added that working more efficiently could free up man hours equivalent to hiring an extra 11,000 extra police officers.

He said: "We need police commissioners, chief constables, to look very carefully at what they're doing across a range of activities and say to themselves: 'What I need to do now is take people away from lower priority areas of policing activity and surge them into tackling knife crime on the streets."

Insiders hope the Chancellor will sign off extra money in next week's Spring Statement - given the huge pressure on No.10 over violent crime.

Police chiefs will have access to an extra £1 billion from next month under funding for the 2019-2020 financial year. But chief constables want an 'emergency grant' to fund a short-term offensive in knife crime 'hotspots'.

Sources on Thursday said police chiefs were drawing up a bid for at least £15 million. The knife crime crisis has triggered another big fallout between Sajid Javid and the Prime Minister.

The Home Secretary shamed Theresa May in Cabinet on Tuesday by demanding more cash and a radical review of Stop and Search.

The Sun yesterday revealed Downing Street are preparing to put knife thugs on a par with jihadis in a crackdown where public bodies would be urged to "flag up" potential problem kids.

-----------------------
HAMMOND CALL FOR POLICE TO PRIORITISE KNIFE CRIME IS INSULT, SAY OFFICERS
(Guardian, dated 7th March 2019 authors Jamie Grierson and Matthew Weaver)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/mar/07/hammond-rejects-javid-call-for-emergency-knife-fund

Rank-and-file police officers have reacted with fury to suggestions by the chancellor, Philip Hammond, that forces should move resources to prioritise tackling knife crime.

The row erupted after the second fatal stabbing in 24 hours in London, in which a teenage boy was attacked in West Kensington and later died in hospital. The death came after 26-year-old David Martinez died following an attack in Leyton on Wednesday.

Police chiefs have been seeking at least an extra £15m after the home secretary, Sajid Javid, said the government should listen to their demands.

Hammond had already rebuffed Javid's call for extra funds at a cabinet meeting on Monday and did so again in broadcast interviews on Thursday. Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he said the government had already agreed to almost £1bn in extra policing resources in the next financial year, and he urged forces to use existing money more efficiently.

"If all police forces operated at the level of the most efficient in terms of eliminating paperwork and the most modern ways of mobile working, we'd save enough police time to be the equivalent of about 11,000 additional officers a year," he said.

He also urged police forces to prioritise knife crime by redeploying officers from other areas. "Today we are focused on knife crime, and rightly so, but there are many other demands on available public spending. My job is to make sure that in dealing with an issue like this we use public resources in the most effective way.

"We know from polling that people consider tackling knife crime should be the number one priority. So I want to see police forces surging officers from other duties into dealing with knife crime, nipping this problem in the bud early and making sure we turn this spike around."

John Apter, the chair of the Police Federation, which represents tens of thousands of police officers, said: "It amazes me that the chancellor is still prioritising balancing his books over tackling this national emergency. Children are dying on our streets and he has the audacity to suggest that the police need to prioritise. Let me assure him, this is a priority.

"Across England and Wales, my members are the ones working flat out to prevent more young people being killed. They are often the ones on their knees in the street trying desperately to save the lives of these young victims, they are the ones who have to deliver the terrible news to families that their loved one will never be coming home again. And they are doing it with almost 22,000 fewer colleagues than when the Conservative government came to power.

"It is an insult to my dedicated and hardworking colleagues, and it shows a shocking lack of awareness or understanding of the reality of the crisis happening right now in towns and cities across the country."

David Jamieson, the police and crime commissioner for the West Midlands, said: "The reality is that knife and gun crime have risen sharply both here and across the country. After a decade of cuts the thin blue line is now thinner than ever.

"I would ask the chancellor what police operations he wants us to stop doing in order to tackle violent crime. Would he prefer West Midlands police to do less to tackle child sexual abuse, domestic violence or terrorism? I eagerly await his response.

"The chief constable has quite rightly prioritised the response to knife crime in our area, but that effort hasn't been without significant cost."

Police chiefs have warned school pupils they could face up to two years in jail if they continue gossiping online about the killing of the Manchester Grammar school pupil Yousef Makki.

Senior officers have circulated letters marked ''urgent'' to schools and colleges urging students not to post messages about the killing of 17-year old Yousef, and telling them their social media chatter could interfere with the murder trial.

It is believed the prime suspect's family has been subjected to abuse, and social media accounts belonging to the boy's mother and older sister have now been deactivated.

The 17-year-old boy accused of the murdering Yousef in a knife attack was given bail in a hearing at Manchester crown court on Thursday.

-----------------------
KNIFE CRIME : GOVERNMENT'S EXTRA £100m POLICE FUNDING IS A "SHORT TERM FIX"
(SKY News, dated 18th March 2019 author Mark White)

Full article [Option 1]:

https://news.sky.com/story/knife-crime-governments-extra-100m-police-funding-is-a-short-term-fix-11669745

The government's recent announcement of additional money to help fight knife crime is "nowhere near enough" and only a "short-term fix" according to the chairman of the Police Federation.

John Apter spoke to Sky News at the end of Operation Sceptre, the annual week-long national drive against knife criminals, which has seen many hundreds of weapons taken off the streets.

Last week, the chancellor announced an extra £100m emergency funding package to allow police to mount more operations against violent crime.

Mr Apter said: "Any extra money, and real extra money, not just slicing it from one budget and putting it in another, has got to be welcomed, but it's by nowhere near enough.

"This is a drop in the ocean when it comes to money that's not only been stripped from policing, but other budgets, the social services budget, the education budget, and this is dealing with a crisis so yes, it's going to help a little bit, but it's not enough."

Sky News was given access to Bedfordshire's Guns and Gangs unit to witness their efforts to tackle the surge in knife crime.

A team of plain clothes officers mounted a day-long operation in vehicles and on foot, identifying known gang members and carrying out targeted stop and searches.

Officers spotted a car they said was linked to one of Bedford's local gangs. As they tried to stop the silver Vauxhall, two young men ran from the car and were chased on foot, before being detained in nearby streets.

A teenager behind the wheel of the car also tried to drive away, but was caught in a traffic jam and arrested.

When officers searched the car, they found a large knife and a hammer in the glove compartment, along with a ski mask.

In the boot, they discovered a baseball bat and a large wooden pole.

Sergeant Luke Blackburn said that the force had been running its gangs unit countywide since January.

He said that it was producing very positive results in the battle against knife crime, but the unit has relied on poaching officers from other departments.

"It's no secret police numbers have dramatically reduced in recent years and that is having a real impact on officers that are on the ground, that are out there routinely stopping people," he said.

"We've been very fortunate in Bedfordshire to receive an emergency grant, I think it was just over the £4m mark and clearly that's helped to fund the team we have now and expand this unit. That's really a positive, good thing we're doing in Bedfordshire."

Sergeant Blackburn said Bedfordshire, like other forces, needs a more sustainable, longer term funding arrangement to ensure that violent crime is properly addressed.

"It does need to have that level of commitment from the government, in terms of funding, to give us the numbers to do the job properly.

"Because you've taken officers from other areas of policing to make this team work, their posts are often being backfield by new people coming into the service, who don't have the levels of experience that some of these guys have got."

John Apter believes that Theresa May, who as home secretary oversaw huge cuts to policing, now needs to take responsibility and acknowledge that funding is at the root of the surge in violent crime.

He said: "The government needs to demonstrate leadership, the prime minister has not done that in my view, and that's where the problems have started and where the devastating impacts of violent crime has ended up.

"We need a holistic view of what's gone wrong, how we can fix it, and the way we're going to fix it is by working together.

"It's going to cost money, it's going to cost a lot of money and the government needs to accept that."

-----------------------
(7th April 2019)


PERSONALLY SPEAKING : "KNIFE CRIME WAS ALWAYS BORN OUT OF DESPERATION"
(Stoke Sentinel, dated 17th March 2019 author Fred Hughes)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.stokesentinel.co.uk/news/news-opinion/personally-speaking-knife-crime-always-2655950

What on earth is happening to our young people? Hardly a day passes without the unpleasant news that some young person has been stabbed with a knife.

Can it be about too few patrolling police officers, too many excluded kids on the streets, or a reluctance in using the powers to stop and search?

Or is there something more sinister afoot - could it actually be natural and instinctive?

One data source shows that the number of knife-related homicides has risen each year from 186 deaths in 2015, to 285 killings in 2018 - the highest number since 1946.

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire is no exception, with knife crime consistently topping four figures.

The interesting date here is 1946. This was the year when Britain started to pick itself up from decades of austerity and poverty, and six years of war.

The years from 1946 to 1960 sandwiched a decade that exposed the DNA of teenage insurrection.

And yet I'd say the attendant vogue for violence goes back much further, back indeed to Victorian legislated class distinction, and the daily brutalities and low life expectancy of those it left behind.

Rationing, slum dwelling, and lack of social welfare until the mid-1950s opened doors for profiteers and spivs buying cheap and selling large to desperate consumers, gangsters who defended their patch using the violence of the knife.

Let's not forget - it is a fact that before 1953 it was not a crime to carry a weapon in a public place for any purpose unless it was a firearm or imitation firearm.

The national press kept such criminality local. Impromptu stabbings were put down to gangland issues to be sorted by local police and given second preference to salacious murders, like men dissolving women in bathtubs, and evil husbands burying bodies under floorboards.

By the early 1950s, the rage of the Teddy boys hijacked the headlines across the country as knife crime and ugly brutalities became a teenage fashion.

The 1953 Prevention of Crimes Act was introduced to restrict carrying all offensive weapons in public.

It was passed in response to the large rise in violent crime, with 4,445 convictions for malicious wounding in 1951 alone.

The presumption was that banning weapons in public places, regardless of their intention, would reduce violent crime, although no subsequent studies were carried out to ascertain what effect, if any, the act had on criminal use.

Back in the fifties, rundown districts of inner cities became the centres of immigrant communities. Those sober times also saw a steep rise in homophobic offences and open racial attacks on minority communities.

And the knife was again the favoured weapon of defence and assault, and the preferred weapon associated with fast growing drug-related offences.

Ultimately, the age of the Teddy boys evolved into the eras of mods and rockers, punks and hooded juvenile street gangs, and knife crime continued unabated.

The 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) was introduced to curb uncontrolled urban instability, giving police statutory powers to search a person or a vehicle without first making an arrest.

Home Office statistics, nonetheless, show that knife crime continued to rise slowly until 2006, before falling steadily to a low in 2014. Since then figures have zoomed to today's frightening level.

Dare I say a knife as a tool and a weapon is part of man's consciousness? Disguise and concealment is part of its appeal. But the really alarming trend is the increasing use openly and randomly, for no apparent reason other than as an expression of power.

Is legislation the answer? How far do you turn the screw to develop deterrence? An automatic prison sentence for possession, reinstating the death penalty perhaps - whip 'em hard, hang 'em high!

The root causes are sourced in social change, in community deprivation, in lack of opportunity and, it has to be said loudly, the feeling of hopelessness.

Now, how do you legislate for that?

(7th April 2019)


WORST KNIFE CRIME FIGURES FOR 10 YEARS FUELLED BY RISE IN REPEAT OFFENDERS
(London Evening Standard, dated 15th March 2019 author Martin Bentham)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/worst-knife-crime-figures-for-10-years-fuelled-by-repeat-offenders-a4091641.html

The number of knife criminals being dealt with by the justice system has risen to a 10-year high as more repeat blade offenders are taken to court, official figures revealed today.

The Ministry of Justice statistics show that 21,484 people - including 4,686 from London - were prosecuted or cautioned for knife offences in England and Wales in 2018. The figure is the highest since 2009.

It is also more than 2,000 up on the total two years previously and more than 5,000 higher than the tally for 2013. It is a sign of how significantly knife crime has risen in recent years.

A total of 4,430 of the 2018 offenders were juveniles aged 17 or under.

That was slightly down on the previous year's total but higher than any of the preceding years up to 2009 in a sign of the increased prevalence of knife use among children.

Today's statistics also show the number of repeat offenders is growing, with 28 per cent of adults and juvenile knife criminals last year being convicted or cautioned for a second or more blade offence. That represented 5,497 such offenders and is the highest proportion of repeat blade users since the statistics began being recorded in 2008.

Of those convicted last year, 37 per cent were given an immediate custodial sentence.

That compares with a figure of 20 per cent in 2008 and reflects a steady increase in recent years in the numbers being sent to jail for knife offences.

The average sentence length has also risen over the same period from 5.3 months a decade ago to 8.1 months  last year.

It still means, however, that most knife offenders avoid prison and that many of those who are jailed are released  back onto the streets after a relatively short time.

Concern over this among some parliamentarians will also be heightened by continued evidence of the mixed impact of the introduction in 2015 of a new "two strikes and you are out" rule under which the courts must give a custodial sentence to a repeat blade offender unless "it would not be in the interests of justice" to do so.

Today's figures show that the average sentence length passed on those jailed under this provision has risen from 7.1 months in 2016 to 7.8 months last year and that a greater proportion of repeat offenders are being imprisoned.

But 36 per cent still avoided immediate custody. Responding to the figures, justice minister Rory Stewart said that the government's ambition was to prevent offending by stopping people carrying knives but that tough sentences were being imposed.

He added: "Knife crime destroys lives and shatters communities, and this government is doing everything in  its power to tackle its devastating  consequences.

"Sentences for those carrying knives are getting tougher - they are more likely to be sent straight to prison and for longer - than at any time in the last decade."

Today's tally of 4,686 knife offenders brought to justice in London is slightly down on the figure for 2017, but is higher than for any other year before 2008, when 5,523 knife offenders were convicted or cautioned in the capital.

The figures come amid renewed concern about knife crime following a spate of fatal teenage stabbings this month.

Jodie Chesney, 17, was killed in an east London park as she played music with friends, and Yousef Ghaleb Makki, also 17, was stabbed to death in the village of Hale Barns, near Altrincham.

Earlier this month, police in London said they were carrying out nearly 1,000 stop and searches a day in an attempt to prevent more lethal stabbings.

Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty said the force was also deploying 400 extra officers on the ground and asking officers in its specialist Violent Crime Task Force to work extended shifts.

He said the aim was to put "as many feet on the streets as possible" as he spoke of the dismay he and his officers felt at the continuing violence.

Mr McNulty disclosed that the Met carried out 6,337 stop and searches during the first seven days of  this month.

He said the high rate, which comes on top of a 66 per cent increase in such checks in February, was likely to continue over the coming days.

Svenson Ong-a-kwie, 18, of Romford, was today appearing at Barkingside magistrates' court charged with Jodie's murder. Two other males have previously been charged with her killing.

(7th April 2019)


CHANCELLOR GIVES POLICE FORCES £100m TO FIGHT KNIFE CRIME
(Coventry Live, dated 15th March 2019 author James Rodger)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/spring-statement-knife-crime-money-15967544

Police are to get an extra £100million to fight knife crime, Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced.

The money it set to be shared between forces nationwide over 12 months "to pay for additional overtime targeted specifically on knife crime".

Mr Hammond said: "We must and we will stamp out this menace."

It is not yet known how much of the cash will come to the West Midlands Police, and in turn Coventry, as the region tackles a knife crime epidemic.

There have been at least 11 stabbing incidents in the city so far in 2019, with the most recent seeing a man injured after allegedly being stabbed with scissors in the city centre.

The incidents in Coventry were among 269 knife crimes recorded so far this year in the West Midlands.

The region's Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, last week announced that West Midlands Police is to add 200 more officers to its ranks by 2021, with the money coming from to "efficiency savings".

But it still means officer numbers will be significantly lower than they used to be. Data published by the House of Commons last year shows that West Midlands Police had 8,413 police officers in 2010, and 6,259 in 2018, a fall of 2,154.

Mr Jamieson has also joined forces with police bosses across the country to call for 10,000 new police officers and investment in youth services, to combat knife crime and youth violence.

Also backing the demand are London Mayor Sadiq Kahn and elected politicians responsible for policing in Greater Manchester, Humberside, West Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Cleveland, South Wales and Lancashire.

n a joint letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, also signed by Labour Shadow Policing Minister Louise Haigh, they said: "This is a national crisis, and it requires leadership from the top of government."

They urged the Government to:

- Convene the COBRA committee, a Government committee that meets in times of national emergency
- Put 10,000 police officers back on the streets, after years of cuts
- Rebuild Sure Start, the service for parents and children, and provide funding for youth services

(7th April 2019)


GANGS' POSTCODE RIVALRIES FORCE PROBATION WORKERS TO PROVIDE DUPLICATE SERVICES
(London Evening Standard, dated 14th March 2019 author Martin Bentham)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/gangs-postcode-rivalries-force-probation-workers-to-provide-duplicate-services-a4091721.html

Youth workers are running duplicate services in the same London borough to reach young people too scared to enter "rival" territory, it has been revealed today.

Chief Inspector of Probation, Dame Glenys Stacey, said staff trying to divert young offenders from crime in Wandsworth "must take account of territorialism when arranging appointments" because some "will not go into certain areas".

She praises staff for making provision to meet where juveniles "feel safe", adding: "On occasion, provision is duplicated in different areas, so all children and young people can access it."

No details were given about the specific appointments provided in duplicate, but youth offending teams' work includes supervisory meetings, as well as specific projects, from jobs with the homeless to working on allotments, to give young people a new focus.

Dame Glenys's disclosure comes in a largely positive report on the effectiveness of the youth offending team in Wandsworth. It is the capital's biggest inner London borough and contains about 60,000 under-18s, of whom 22 per cent are classed as living in poverty.

But the report will reinforce concerns about the way  "postcode" gang conflicts continue to blight London and the prospects of some of its young people. It also reveals that efforts are made to keep potential gang rivals apart at court and at other places where they might encounter each other.

The report praises the focus on maintaining effective working relationships with the children concerned and the use of schemes, from working with the homeless, arts and crafts, and working at a football club, to help turn young offenders's lives around.

Dame Glenys expresses concern about the varying approaches taken when young people bring knives to school, with some choosing not to call the police, while others do.

She says this "can result in a discriminatory process" for some young people and fails to "take account of the wider vulnerabilities" some might suffer.

Youth offending teams deal with children aged 10 to 18 who have been prosecuted or referred after coming into contact with police.

(7th April 2019)


KNIFE CRIME - NUMBER OF OFFENCES AT NINE YEAR HIGH
(BBC News, dated 14th March 2019)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47568054

The number of crimes related to knives and other offensive weapons dealt with by the criminal justice system reached a nine-year high in 2018, figures show.

The Ministry of Justice reported a total of 21,484 offences in England and Wales, the equivalent of 59 every single day.

Of all those convicted or cautioned, just over a fifth were under 18.

The figures show 37% of all offences led to an immediate jail sentence, compared with 23% in 2009.

- Cautions and fines are only half as likely to be used now as they were in 2009.
   
- The average length of custodial sentences classed as "immediate" - therefore not including suspended sentences - was 8.1 months last year. That is the longest average term since comparable records began in 2008.

The MoJ figures cover not just knives, but other offensive weapons such as deliberately broken bottles, sharpened screwdrivers, knuckle dusters and corrosive liquids.

The annual figures have been published following a spate of fatal stabbings, including the killings of three 17-year-olds in less than a week earlier this month.

And it is a day after police have been promised an extra £100m by the government to help them tackle a knife crime in England and Wales.

The government has said offenders are now more likely to go to jail for knife or offensive weapons crimes.

Justice Minister Rory Stewart said: "Knife crime destroys lives and shatters communities, and this government is doing everything in its power to tackle its devastating consequences.

"Sentences for those carrying knives are getting tougher - they are more likely to be sent straight to prison - and for longer - than at any time in the last decade."

How knife and weapon offences were dealt with (Figures are estimates for 2018)

Immediate custody : 7,943
Community Sentence : 5,098
Suspended sentence : 3,954
Caution : 2,410
Other disposal : 1,264
Fine : 524
Absolute / Conditional discharge : 291

Source : Ministry of Justice

Responding to the figures, Labour's shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: "Surely the Tories don't need any further evidence that not enough is being done to tackle knife crime?"

She called on the government to "stop talking" about its approach to fighting knife crime and said it should instead "properly" fund the police and youth services.

Custodial sentences rise for knife and offensive weapon offences (%)

n = Immediate Custody (n) = Caution

2008 : 20 (30)
2009 : 22 (22)
2010 : 22 (21)
2011 : 25 (20)
2012 : 27 (20)
2013 : 27 (17)
2014 : 30 (15)
2015 : 31 (14)
2016 : 34 (13)
2017 : 36 (12)
2018 : 37 (12.2) - figures are estimates

Source: Ministry of Justice's extract of the Police National Computer (PNC)

In Scotland, which has a separate legal system, the number of offences of handling offensive weapons recorded by Police Scotland between April and September 2017 was 4,060 - nearly double the figure measured for the same period four years earlier.

A separate report by the Scottish government last year said the proportion of convictions resulting in a custodial sentence had "generally fluctuated" between 30% and 40% between 2007-08 and 2016-17.

In Northern Ireland, the number of offences of handling offensive weapons recorded by Police Service Northern Ireland between February 2017 and February 2018 was 970 - a rise of 9% on the previous year's figures.

A separate government report published last year said 20% of all convictions in Northern Ireland in 2017 that were related to possession of weapons resulted in imprisonment.

(7th April 2019)


KNIFE AND WEAPON OFFENCES REACH HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE 2009
(Guardian, dated 14th March 2019 author Jamie Grierson)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/mar/14/knife-and-weapon-offences-reach-highest-level-since-2009

The criminal justice system dealt with the highest number of knife and offensive weapon offences in nearly a decade last year, official figures have shown.

In 2018, 21,484 knife and offensive weapon offences were recorded, the most dealt with since 2009, when 25,103 offences were registered, according to the Ministry of Justice.

The figures come after the chancellor, Philip Hammond, handed an extra £100m to police forces in England and Wales after a spate of fatal stabbings led to a renewed focus on the response to knife crime and fresh debate over police resources.

The justice minister, Rory Stewart, said: "Knife crime destroys lives and shatters communities, and this government is doing everything in its power to tackle its devastating consequences.

"Sentences for those carrying knives are getting tougher - they are more likely to be sent straight to prison, and for longer - than at any time in the last decade.

"But we are doing more - yesterday the government committed a further £100m to tackle knife crime, while our serious violence strategy works to prevent young people picking up a knife in the first place."

Total funding for forces in England and Wales fell by 19% in real terms from 2010-11 to 2018-19, according to the National Audit Office. Officer numbers have dropped by nearly 20,000 since 2010.

Elsewhere, the figures show offenders are now more likely to receive an immediate custodial sentence for a knife and offensive weapon offence.

In 2018, 37% of knife and offensive weapon offences ended in an immediate custodial sentence, compared with 20% in 2008.

The average length of the custodial sentences received also increased over the same period, from 5.3 months to 8.1 months.

For 72% of offenders it was their first knife or offensive weapon possession offence, a proportion that has been decreasing and is at its lowest level since the release of the statistics began in 2008, when it was 80%.

The Liberal Democrats' justice spokesperson, Wera Hobhouse, said: "Both the justice secretary and the prisons minister have admitted that short prison sentences don't work and actually increase the risk of reoffending. So why are so many young people still being sent to prison for a few months for carrying knives?

"These pointless sentences do nothing to deter young people and offer no chance of rehabilitating them. Instead, they cost millions and only worsen the crisis of overcrowding in our prisons.

"The Liberal Democrats demand better. The government must urgently bring forward legislation to end pointless short-term sentences and take real action to prevent knife crime: more police officers, more youth services and a proper public health approach."

According to the statistics, the criminal justice system dealt with 13,555 offences of possession of an article with a blade or point last year. In addition, there were 7,016 cases of an individual being found with an offensive weapon, and 913 in which a blade or weapon was used to make threats against others.

The combined total of 21,484 is the highest since 2009, when the figure was more than 25,000.

In 4,430 instances in 2018, 21% of the total, the offender was aged 10 to 17.

The report also shows that custodial sentences for knife or offensive weapons crimes are at the highest level since 2008.

In 2018, almost 8,000 (37%) offences resulted in immediate custody, compared with 5,734 (20%) in 2008.

The proportion of cases leading to a caution fell from 30% in 2008 to 11% last year.

Nearly 4,000 offences were dealt with by a suspended sentence, while just over 5,000 resulted in a community punishment.

The figures also showed repeat offenders were more likely to go to prison, although more than a third of those sentenced under a "two strikes" regime were spared immediate custody last year.

In 2015, minimum sentences were introduced for those aged 16 and over who were convicted of a second, or subsequent charge of possession of a knife or offensive weapon.

Diana Fawcett, the chief officer at the charity Victim Support, said: "It's horrifying to see knife crime offences at the highest levels in a decade, which is yet more evidence that violent crime is an increasing problem that must be tackled urgently.

"Families and communities are being devastated by knife crime and it is the responsibility of all agencies to come together to solve this."

In the 12 months to March last year, the number of fatal stabbings in England and Wales reached the highest level since records began more than 70 years ago.

(7th April 2019)


MINSTERS SET ASIDE EXTRA £100m FOR POLICE TO TACKLE KNIFE CRIME
(Guardian, dated 13th March 2019 author Jamie Grierson)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/mar/13/knife-crime-spring-statement-police

An extra £100m is to be made available to police forces in England and Wales over the course of the next year "to pay for additional overtime targeted specifically on knife crime", the chancellor has said.

Philip Hammond's announcement came after increased pressure from police chiefs as a spate of fatal stabbings led to renewed focus on the response to knife crime and fresh debate over police resources.

Total funding for forces in England and Wales fell by 19% in real terms from 2010-11 and 2018-19, according to the National Audit Office. Officer numbers have dropped by nearly 20,000 since 2010.

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, tweeted: "It's vital police have the resources they need to crack down on the rising levels of knife crime. I've listened and we will be giving £100m extra to forces, targeting the hardest-hit areas. I'll continue to give police the support they need."

The chairwoman of the National Police Chiefs' Council, Sara Thornton, said: "It will help police forces strengthen our immediate response to knife crime and serious violence.

"Bringing violence down is a police priority. We know what works to bring down violence and this additional funding will help us to increase the number of officers available to carry out targeted patrols in crime hotspots, increase our use of stop and search, and disrupt gangs and crime groups."

John Apter, the chairman of the Police Federation, which represents tens of thousands of rank-and-file officers and was among the most vocal critics of the government, welcomed the announcement but said it was a short-term solution.

"While the funding is welcome, it is, however, just a short-term fix as knife crime and violent crime continues to plague our towns and cities. We still urgently need additional resources to solve this issue in the long run," he said.

"The government must make a significant investment in the spending review to give police the long-term boost they need."

But the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, Ed Davey, said: "Faced with the current epidemic of knife crime claiming the lives of so many young people, the government's response today is shockingly inadequate.

"The Conservatives have cut £1bn from police budgets since 2015, and now they offer just £80m back. They have taken 5,000 police officers and 2,600 community support officers off the streets, and now they offer to fund some extra overtime.

"This is an insult to our hardworking police and an insult to the victims of knife crime and their families."

Earlier this year, it was disclosed that the number of fatal stabbings in England and Wales had risen to its highest level since records began more than 70 years ago.

(7th April 2019)


SCHOOLS ARE FAILING TO TEACH PUPIL ABOUT KNIFE CRIME FO FEAR OF "REPUTATIONAL" DAMAGE, OFSTED FINDS
(Telegraph, dated 12th March 2019 author Camilla Turner)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2019/03/12/schools-failing-teach-pupils-knife-crime-fear-reputational-damage/

Schools are failing to teach pupils about knife crime and removing metal detectors because they are afraid about the reputational damage it may cause, a report by Ofsted has found.

Headteachers also fear that their institution will be seen as a "problem school" if they educate children about the risks of grooming and exploitation by gangs, according the schools watchdog.

In a report, titled "Safeguarding children and young people in education from knife crime: Lessons from London", Ofsted described how one college had "abandoned the use of knife arches" as they believed it was "detrimental to the students and to the reputation of the college".

Ofsted inspectors conducted in depth interviews with headteachers at 29 schools in London about their approaches to keeping children safe from violence and gang culture.

Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools, said: "Many school and college leaders we spoke to were trying to educate children about the dangers of knife crime and the risks of grooming and exploitation by gangs.

"However, some are concerned that if they do this they will be seen as a 'problem school', and subsequently avoided by parents."

The report described how some schools were "wary" searching children for knives "in case it sent the wrong message to parents".

This was "particularly a concern for colleges, which felt that it would make them look less safe than competing schools in their area", it added.

However, Ofsted said that searches - if done sensitively and without bias - could be successful deterrent for knife crime.

The report also found that gangs are persuading pupils to take knives into school with the sole purpose of "triggering" an expulsion.

Once excluded, a pupil is more likely to drift into gang life without the familiarity and structure of school, it said.

Ms Spielman warned against the "harmful narrative" that exclusions lead children to join gangs and carry knives.  While there was a correlation, there was no evidence for causation, she said. 

(7th April 2019)


TAMWORTH HAS THIRD HIGHEST RATE OF KNIFE CRIME IN THE COUNTY
(Birmingham Live, dated 11th March 2019 author Helen Machin)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/tamworth-third-highest-rate-knife-15945180

Police are calling on parents, schools and wider Tamworth community to come together in support of a national operation to tackle knife crime.

It comes as the town was revealed as having the third highest rate of knife crime in Staffordshire.

Figures released by Staffordshire police show that there were 62 crimes involving knives in Tamworth in the last 12 months, second only to Stoke North and Stoke South.

This week (11-17 March), under Operation Sceptre, neighbourhood policing teams across the county will be visiting schools and colleges to educate young people on the dangers and consequences of carrying knives; setting up proactive knife operations in town centres to detect and deter habitual knife carriers, and organising knife sweeps in knife crime hotspots to discover any knives concealed in public areas. The force will also be continuing in its efforts to deter offenders through the use of stop and search.

There will also be a hard-hitting social media campaign aimed at those most likely to commit offences with a knife, showing the stark realities of knife crime and youth violence.

Superintendent Ricky Fields, strategic lead for knife crime at Staffordshire Police, said: "We continue to see increases in recorded crime involving the possession or use of knives alongside increases in overall violent crime. Knife crime is unfortunately a visible part of communities in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and not an issue we can tackle on our own.

"We are doing lots to tackle knife crime and we are actively pursuing those who intend to cause harm within Staffordshire's communities. We will do all we can to bring offenders to justice, however enforcement is just one element of the response needed. Knife crime cannot and must not be treated in isolation.

"The threat of knife crime increases when considered with street gangs or drugs activity. Our approach is not to criminalise young people but to safeguard them and protect them. With partners, parents and schools we need to understand why young people choose to carry knives, because we have seen a marked increase in recent years in Staffordshire."

Supt Fields added: "We must encourage young people, parents, schools and other public bodies to have conversations about knife crime. This week of targeted activity will hopefully help to raise the profile of this important topic and help us to prevent the terrible events that have been seen recently in other areas of the country."

Knife crime has increased in Staffordshire by five percent (32 crimes) over the past 12 months, with personal robbery where a knife is used having increased by 20 percent.

Statistics show that  15 percent of offenders are under 18 years of age and that 23 percent of knife crimes are domestic related - domestic related knife crime increased by five percent in the last 12 months.

Police said that the volume of knife crime committed by repeat offenders in Staffordshire over the last 12 months is relatively low and there are very few repeat victims and locations of significance.

Knife crime is defined as any offence involving assault with injury or intent, robbery, sexual assault, rape and murders where a knife or sharp instrument has been used in the commission of the offence.  It does not include other crime types including possession offences or lower level assault

There were a total of 719 knife crimes in Staffordshire between March 2018 to February 2019, compared with 687 in the previous year.

(7th April 2019)


POLICE CRACK DOWN ON KNIFE CRIME WITH EXTRA PATROLS AND UNDERCOVER PURCHASES
(Examiner Live, dated 11th March 2019 author Dave Himelfield)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.examinerlive.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/police-crack-down-knife-crime-15955765

Undercover under-18s have been trying to buy knives from shops across the county as West Yorkshire Police crack down on knife crime.

A week of action by West Yorkshire Police is taking place this week with officers working with young people about the dangers of knife crime on the way to and from schools.

Cadet volunteers - aged under 18 and supervised by officers - have already been trying to buy knives from various shops. It is an offence to sell a knife or certain articles with blades or points to anyone under 18.

The work will continue this week when officers will be warning the owners of shops which sold knives to the volunteers.

Meanwhile in Calderdale there will be extra night patrols, presentations in schools, information stalls in shopping centres and early intervention work with those at risk of knife crime.

Elsewhere in West Yorkshire there will be sweeps of antisocial behaviour hotspots and searches of people going into pubs and clubs.

The campaign aims to spread the message that carrying a knife is never the answer.

Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson, of West Yorkshire Police, said: "We are very concerned about knife crime - it can cause great harm to the communities we serve and there is no place for it in our society.

"It is something we take extremely seriously. Every single person who works for this force has a part to play in preventing it from happening and dealing with it when it does.

"Like in other areas of the country, knife crime has increased recently in West Yorkshire but the most recent statistics show a slight fall.

"We are absolutely committed to tackling all knife crime and initiatives like this week of action are very important for us to help to get the important message out there that carrying a knife is never the answer.

"No-one wants to see their loved ones caught up in the terrible consequences of knife crime.

"As an officer with many years' experience I have had to comfort the grieving families of victims and arrest those responsible for it. Knife crime has impacted terribly on them."

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, said: "We all know the devastating consequences that can result from carrying or misusing knives.

"It is ultimately only through early intervention and prevention work that we will be able to most effectively deal with the scourge of knife and violent crime in our communities and this is why I wholeheartedly support this very timely week of action to raise awareness of the dangers.

"This is an issue that can often blight our communities, and results on too many occasions in the tragic loss of life and all the consequences that follow for victims, families and offenders. The police and partner organisations are doing an extremely important job in protecting our communities and carrying out awareness raising, education and intervention work to ensure that people know and understand that carrying a knife is never the answer."

(7th April 2019)


OPERATION SCEPTRE LAUNCHED TO FIGHT KNIFE CRIME "CRISIS" ACROSS UK
(Metro, dated 11th March 2019 author Elisa Menendez)

Full article [Option 1]:

https://metro.co.uk/2019/03/11/operation-sceptre-launched-fight-knife-crime-crisis-across-uk-8883690/

A knife crime crackdown will be launched today by police forces across the country amid a 'national crisis' which has seen a series of fatal stabbings.

Operation Sceptre will see all police forces in England and Wales take part in the seven-day initiative starting from Monday.

Surrender bins, stop-and-searches and weapon sweeps will be carried out in a bid to target people who regularly carry blades.

The operation is in response to the recent rise in brutal stabbings across the UK, with mostly teenagers falling victim to the crime.

It comes after home secretary Sajid Javid recently held emergency talks with chief constables and vowed to 'do everything' he could to help police.

On Thursday 17-year-old Ayub Hassan was knifed in West Kensington, London, before being pronounced dead in hospital.

Jodie Chesney, also 17, was knifed an 'unprovoked attack' as she played music with friends near a children's playground in Harold Hill, east London, on March 1.

Only the next day Yousef Makki, 17, was stabbed to death in the village of Hale Barns, near Altrincham in Greater Manchester.

In Birmingham three teenagers died in the space of 12 days last month.

Many have criticised Government cuts on police forces and have linked the smaller work-forces to the hike in the fatal attacks.

Figures show the number of police officers across the 43 forces in England and Wales has fallen by more than 20,000 since 2009.

But Prime Minister Theresa May, who was home secretary from 2010 to 2016, argued last week that there was 'no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers'.

As the row continued, a number of senior police figures joined together to dismiss her claims as 'untrue'.

The officials included Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick who said there was 'obviously' a connection between staff reductions and escalating street violence.

But Chancellor Philip Hammond has told forces to refocus their existing resources.

Operation Sceptre has seen thousands of weapons seized and placed in amnesty bins since it began in July 2015.

(7th April 2019)


KNIFE CRIME AMNESTY BINS DROP BY HALF IN PAST SEVEN YEARS
(London Evening Standard, dated 11th March 2019 author Anthony France)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/knife-crime-amnesty-bins-drop-by-half-in-past-seven-years-a4088241.html

The number of knife crime amnesty bins, credited with removing 50,000 weapons from the capital's streets, has halved in the past seven years, the Standard reveals.

The Word 4 Weapons charity has worked with Scotland Yard for the past decade to provide bins where knives and guns can be surrendered anonymously to be taken out of circulation and destroyed.

Its founder Michael Smith, 59 - a retired policeman awarded an MBE for his anti-crime work - said today that a loss of funding had "pulled the rug" from under the operation.

In 2012, there were 36 bin locations where knives and guns could be dropped off.

Today there are just 18 and only three are in the capital's 50 most violent wards.

It comes two years after Sadiq Khan pledged to support "knife bins in locations with high levels of knife crime" and committed extra funding.

(7th April 2019)


KNIFE CARRYING THUGS ARE HIDING THEIR WEAPONS IN PLAIN SIGHT
(Mirror, dated 11th March 2019 author Amber Hicks)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/knife-carrying-thugs-hiding-weapons-14118413

Criminals are hiding deadly blades in and around public places including play parks, a police force is warning.

The worrying tactic used by thugs has been exposed in a series of images by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) as they urge the public to 'open your eyes to knives'.

The weapons are concealed by perpetrators in open spaces so they can quickly arm themselves.

One photo appears to be of a seemingly normal brick wall. But upon closer inspection between the bricks hides a knife.

Those with eagle-eyes will also be able to spot the handle of a blade sticking out of green shrubbery in another image.

The police force is challenging members of the public to try and find them as part of a new campaign in the wake of a spate of fatal stabbings around the country.

GMP is seeing a large number of knives being hidden in public places and used for crime purposes rather than being carried by the offender.

Visitors to GMP's Social media platforms will be asked to spot the knife hidden in a number of images released during the week across Facebook , Twitter and Instagram , encouraging conversation around what is often a difficult subject to address.

Greater Manchester Police's Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts said: "It's a sad fact that people are not only carrying knives, but are now also hiding weapons in and around public places and that can be very worrying for members of the public.

"The more knives that are on the streets only leads to one outcome - more people getting hurt - and we are determined to act to stop these implements getting into the wrong hands.

"To ensure police and partner resources are targeted in the communities where they are needed most, we are asking the public to be aware and report any knife sightings to us reduce the circulation of weapons in our communities."

Last week, Idris Elba made an impassioned plea to those who carry knives to stop making themselves "look stupid" - and said perpetrators should "stab themselves".

The actor warned that those tempted to stab another person should instead turn the blade on themselves "because you're stabbing your future".

He also urged other stars to demand an end to fatal stabbings.

In a video posted on Instagram , the Luther star called for young men to think of their future.

He said: "Knife crime is not new. I grew up in the Eighties and there was knife crime back then, between blacks and whites.

"And now it's definitely between young black men in small, tiny communities. And it's affecting everyone, we all look stupid.

"You look even more stupid, if you've got a knife, or you know someone that's got a knife, tell them to stab themselves right now, trust me. Because you're just going to stab your future if you go and stab someone else.

"You become a murderer, you go to prison, you ain't got sh*t. For what? For some beef that lives within your community. You need to see past that."

Police chiefs met with Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Wednesday and warned that the scale of knife crime has become a national emergency.

Prime Minister Theresa May has faced a mounting backlash for denying a link between officer numbers and bloodshed on Britain's streets as the death toll increased this week.

Last October, new figures from the Office for National Statistics found that knife crime had hit a new record in England and Wales, with 39,332 offences, an annual increase of 12 per cent in the year to June 2018.

(7th April 2019)


700 CHILD KNIFE CRIME VICTIMS IN WEST MIDLANDS LAST YEAR
(Guardian, dated 11th March 2019 authors Nazia Parveen and Josh Halliday)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/mar/11/revealed-700-children-were-knife-crime-victims-in-west-midlands-last-year

Nearly 700 schoolchildren were victims of knife crime in the West Midlands last year, including 41 of primary school age, according to police figures that highlight growing alarm over young people carrying weapons.

Data released under freedom of information laws shows that 690 children aged under 17 were attacked or threatened with a knife in the region in 2018. Thirteen of the victims were just 10 years old.

More than 800 youngsters, including 45 children aged 10 to 11, were caught with a knife in the region last year, the figures show. Nearly half of the offences were for using the weapon as a threat.

The data will add to concerns about the young age of those carrying knives on Britain's streets following the deaths of 17-year-olds Jodie Chesney in London and Yousef Makki in Greater Manchester.

In Birmingham, three teenagers were fatally stabbed in just 12 days last month, prompting police chiefs to declare a city-wide "crisis" on knife crime.

Official data shows that violent crime has risen four times faster in Birmingham than in London, with MP Jack Dromey warning that the city is "at risk of becoming the knife crime capital of Britain". Between April and September last year Birmingham's murder rate per capita was higher than London's.

Speaking in Birmingham in February, the West Midlands police and crime commissioner, David Jamieson, described the situation in the region as a "national emergency" and called for additional financial support from the government.

Knife arches were installed at a college and a branch of McDonald's in the city last week, along with a widening of police stop-and-search powers, following the deaths of Hazrat Umar, 18, Abdullah Muhammad, 16, and Sidali Mohamed, 16. There have been 269 stabbings in the city since the start of the year.

Guardian analysis of police figures shows that knife crime has more than doubled in the West Midlands since 2012. There were 3,108 knife-related offences in the region between October 2017 and September 2018, compared with 1,508 offences between April 2012 and March 2013.

A 14-year-old schoolgirl became the latest victim of a stabbing in the region on Wednesday after being attacked with a pair of scissors in Coventry. A 16-year-old girl was later arrested on suspicion of wounding and taken into police custody.

On the same day, a 16-year-old student and 26-year-old man were among three people injured in a fight involving weapons outside a city centre college in Birmingham.

Figures released under freedom of information laws showed a rise in the number of weapons being seized at schools or colleges in the West Midlands. In 2017, there were 65 recorded instances of knives being taken on to school grounds - up from 17 in 2012 but down from a high of 77 in 2016. Blades confiscated by teachers included kitchen knives, pen knives, a knuckle duster and a machete.

On Thursday, the Birmingham MP, Khalid Mahmood, said the knife crime epidemic in the city would continue due to cuts in policing and youth services. Mahmood said he was being regularly contacted by fearful members of the public who said they had been attacked and police had not shown up.

He added: "The police numbers are at such a low that it takes something very big, an emergency, for people to get a response at all. It has to be something pretty major. This is something which has progressively got worse over the past few years and I can't see it getting any better unless something drastically changes."

Mahmood said the figures, seen by the Guardian, were "absolutely devastating" and called on the government to outline clear commitments to resources which would help local communities to tackle the issue.

He added: "This is how epidemic it has become, that even young children - those of primary school age - feel that in order to protect themselves they have to carry a knife. This is because the police are not there to protect them; the youth workers aren't there to support them."

Last week the West Midlands police chief constable, Dave Thompson, declared knife crime an emergency as he implemented extensive city-wide stop and search powers which will remain in place until the summer.

Thompson said that, as part of efforts to counteract the problem, vulnerable youngsters could be taken off the streets into police protection "for their own safety". West Midlands police said it had stopped and searched 408 people using its new powers between 1 and 4 March, arresting 24 and seizing 14 weapons.

"This is an emergency that needs sustained and intensive action. The steps we are taking are blanket and widespread and blunt," said Thompson.

Emerson Hanslip, the 16-year-old youth and crime commissioner for Dudley, said an increase in school exclusions and fear among young people had led to the rise in knife crime.

He said: "I know of people who have carried knives and have been excluded because of carrying a weapon. Lots more children are carrying knives out of fear.

"If they go out on the street in the evening and you are hearing about other people being attacked with knives then you feel pressured into carrying one to protect yourself - but because you carry this knife you are much more likely to become a victim."

(7th April 2019)


KNIFE CRIME RISING MORE STEEPLY OUTSIDE LONDON, POLICE FIGURES SHOW
(Guardian, dated 10th March 2019 authors Josh Halliday and Nazia Parveen)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/mar/10/steep-rise-in-knife-outside-london-police-figures-show

Knife crime is rising at a much steeper rate in the home counties and rural provinces than in London, police figures show, amid signs that the growing use of blades is spreading from the cities to the shires.

Guardian analysis of official statistics shows a 45.7% average increase in knife-related offences in 34 English and Welsh counties since 2010, compared with an 11% rise in the capital.

In the home counties, knife crime has risen by an average of 44.8% over the past eight years. Kent recorded the biggest increase of such crimes in England and Wales, up 152% since April 2010.

Police chiefs and experts said the figures were partly fuelled by gangs targeting new customers in rural areas, known as the "county lines phenomenon", which they said was causing an "overspill" of criminality from the cities to the provinces.

Dr Rick Muir, the director of the independent policing thinktank Police Foundation, said: "Previously, the people selling drugs in Margate or Blackpool would be from those areas. Whereas organised criminal gangs in the bigger cities are exporting drugs directly into these areas."

April 2010 and September 2018 knife crime increases (Sources: ONS, Guardian Fol)

Kent : +152%
Hertfordshire : +89%
Staffordshire : +88%
Essex : +43%
Thames Valley : +23%
London : +11%

The murders of two 17-year-olds, Jodie Chesney in London and Yousef Makki in Greater Manchester, has prompted police chiefs to demand at least £15m in urgent funding to tackle what one of England's most senior officers described as a national emergency.

Ten teenagers have been stabbed to death in London, Birmingham and Greater Manchester since the start of the year; Sunderland also had one such death. The number of knife crime offences remains far higher in the major cities, but the increase since 2010 is steeper in the provinces.

Knife crime is up 11% in London between April 2010 and September 2018. But in the home counties the increases are far higher, albeit from a smaller base. Knife crime incidents in Hertfordshire are up 89%, from 272 offences to 513; Essex is up 43%, from 536 to 766; the Thames Valley is up 43%, from 996 to 1,431.

Figures for Kent show a threefold increase in knife crime, from 346 incidents to 873, over the eight years. Assistant chief constable Nick Downing, of Kent police, said the rise was partly explained by improved recording methods and starting from a smaller figure, however he said the force would not "hide away" from the fact there had been an increase in knife crime.

In the West Midlands, knife crime in the Birmingham police area is up only 3% since 2010, but there was a 42% average increase in the neighbouring provinces of Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Mercia over the same period, from 959 offences to 1,363.

In Staffordshire, the region between Manchester and Birmingham, knife crime has risen 88%, from 367 offences in 2010 to 689 last year. Supt Ricky Fields, Staffordshire police's lead officer on knife crime, said county lines drugs gangs were partly fuelling the rise.

"The correlation we think it is attributed to is around county lines, urban street gangs," he said.

"Staffordshire sits on an arterial route between Manchester and Birmingham and some of our neighbourhood areas have seen an overspill around the travelling criminality and bringing crime into that particular community [from the cities]."

Muir said county lines gangs were often using children to export drugs into provincial towns and that evidence showed a correlation "between knife crime - the offenders and victims - and the drugs trade".

He added: "They operate on the basis of profit and the county lines model is more lucrative for them. Violence is then used to either deter or suppress the competition or it is being used by the criminals to discipline people in their own network, particularly children."

Muir claimed there could also be a possible link to the increase in schools exclusions and the cuts to youth services.

"Lots of different things can happen and each on their own might not lead to anything significant but if they all happen in tandem you can get quite a big shift as is the case here," said Muir.

Craig Kelly, a criminology lecturer at Birmingham City University, said the data showed that knife crime is a national issue and that politicians, media and academics were "far too focused on London".

He said: "We've focused predominantly on knife crime and violence in London for generations. We've literally forgotten to ask what happens to the young lad growing up in Wythenshawe or Longsight [in Manchester]."

Kelly said Britain was in the grip of a cyclical spike in knife crime, after a surge of violent offences in 2008 and in the early 1990s. "It always comes after we've had some kind of economic turmoil," he said.

Meanwhile, John Apter, the head of the Police Federation, called on the government to set up a multi-agency group to tackle the "national crisis" exacerbated by the "decimation of youth services" and the increased drug dealing across county lines.

He said: "Understandably the focus has always been on larger cities such as London and Manchester but the problem of knife crime is indiscriminate and it is increasing in other areas at an alarming rate.

"Whether it is gang culture or certainly the cross-county drug dealing - it means people will travel out into the shire forces, the smaller forces, more rural forces to commit their criminality and they will have knives with them or other weapons and they are not afraid to use them."

Apter, who has been a police officer for 26 years, said the government risked failing a whole generation of young people if it did not change its approach.

"The prime minster needs to do a lot of reflecting because she has got this wrong on a monumental scale. This is a massive, considerable problem and the police need a lifeline which can only be provided through genuine tangible investment," he added.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The home secretary has made clear that the rise in serious violence across the country is deeply concerning.

"The Home Office is working hard with police and other partners to tackle violent crime on many fronts and across the whole country."

The spokesperson added that Sajid Javid had recently met "senior police officers and partners to discuss what more can be done."

(7th April 2019)


YOUNG KNIFE WOUND ADMISSIONS TO HOSPITAL PASS 1,000 A YEAR
(Guardian, dated 9th February 2019 author Denis Campbell)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/society/2019/feb/09/nhs-figures-show-rise-in-knife-wounds-among-young-people

Soaring numbers of children and young people in England are being admitted to hospital with knife wounds, NHS figures reveal.

NHS England said there were 1,012 admissions of young people aged between 10 and 19 to hospital after a stabbing with a knife or other sharp object last year, compared with 656 in 2012-13.

The increase has prompted NHS England to demand a crackdown on shops that illegally sell knives to under-18s. "Far too many young people are able to buy knives on the high street and we need councils and retailers to work together to stop this", said Prof Chris Moran, NHS England's national director for trauma care.

Moran said the true number of young people sustaining knife and other sharp object injuries was higher because the figures did not include those treated in A&E or at walk-in centres or urgent care centres.

The number of admissions among people aged 20 to 29 has also risen, from 1,558 in 2012-13 to 1,937 in 2017-18.

Duncan Bew, the clinical director for major trauma and surgery at King's College hospital in London, said: "We have seen this upward trend ourselves and it's very concerning. It's heartbreaking that so many young people are coming to such harm.

"We see victims of knife crime from the age of 10 or 11 upwards, though the big increase we've seen in recent years has been in those aged between 10 and 20, and especially 13 to 17. Violence is a spectrum. We treat young people who have suffered a single, individual stab wound, perhaps to a limb, and also those who have suffered more than 10 knife injuries all over their body."

Sarah Jones, the chair of parliament's all-party parliamentary group on knife crime, said: "A 60% rise in young victims of knife crime is an abhorrent indictment of our failure to grip this epidemic. The NHS is right to warn of the human cost of knife crime and to highlight the benefits of youth workers in some of our hospitals. But the health sector needs to take more of a lead, fund this type of work more widely and put in place a comprehensive public health approach to tackling youth violence."

Martin Griffiths, a consultant trauma surgeon and lead for trauma surgery at the Royal London hospital, said his hospital saw on average two stabbing victims a day. "You never forget the sound a mother makes when given the devastating news that her child has died," he said. "I see the wasted opportunities of young people stuck on hospital wards with life-changing injuries."

Knife crime affects all ages but especially young people. The overall number of victims of all ages who ended up in hospital after being stabbed rose from 3,888 in 2012-13 to 4,986 last year, a near 30% rise.

John Poyton, the chief executive of the charity Redthread, which works to reduce youth violence, said the NHS's establishment of a network of regional major trauma networks in 2012 had increased the chances of young stab victims surviving.

"Violence is a predictor of wider health inequalities and knife crime victims admitted to major trauma wards are just the tip of the iceberg. We know that young people attend their local A&E four to five times before admitted with a more serious, life-threatening injury," he said.

"We must urgently invest in NHS support for all young people caught up in all forms of violence if we hope to reverse this trend and safeguard our young people."

(7th April 2019)


WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT FOR CARRYING A KNIFE ?
(BBC News, dated 9th March 2019 author Matthew Cannon)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47507456

Knife attacks have been front-page news recently following the killing of three 17-year-olds in the UK in less than a week.

Jodie Chesney was killed in an east London park as she played music with friends, Yousef Ghaleb Makki, was stabbed to death in the village of Hale Barns, near Altrincham, and Ayub Hassan was found with stab wounds to the chest in Lanfrey Place, West Kensington.

Amid a rise in fatal knife attacks which have reached record levels in England and Wales, some are now calling for tougher sentences for illegally possessing a knife.

But what are the existing punishments in England and Wales?

The sentencing rules

There are minimum custodial sentences for anyone aged 16 or over caught with a knife in the following circumstances:

- They are convicted of using the knife to threaten another person where that person is at immediate risk of serious physical harm

- They are convicted of carrying a knife in a public place or on school premises, and they have at least one previous "relevant conviction" of possession a weapon or threatening people with a weapon

In these cases, offenders aged 18 or over would be sentenced to a minimum six months custodial sentence and a maximum 4 years.

For those aged 16 or 17 the minimum sentence is a detention and training order of at least four months.

However, judges can choose not to impose the minimum sentence if they believe it would be unjust.

How many people actually go to prison for carrying a knife?

Official figures, published by the Ministry of Justice, show the courts dealt with 21,101 knife cases in the year ending June 2018.

This was the highest number of offences since the year ending June 2010, when there were 22,688 cases.

Tougher sentences for knife crime are increasing

Sentences for all kinds of violent crime have been getting tougher, particularly for knife crime.

Public anxiety about stabbings, legislative changes and firmer guidance for judges and magistrates since 2015 have led to stiffer sentences, although offenders under 18 are still more likely to be cautioned than locked up.

In the year ending June 2018, 36% (7,649) of those convicted were jailed - compared with 23% (6,212) in 2009.

Of those sent to prison for possessing a knife, most - 82% - serve at least three months behind bars.
This proportion has risen from 51% from 10 years ago.

The average prison term for those jailed has also gone up from almost five months to well over eight months, over the last 10 years.

Over the same period, there's been a steady decline in the use of community sentences and a sharp drop in cautions, from 33% (9,369) to 11% (2,352).

When do police decide to issue cautions?


Official advice to police tells them there is a "an expectation" to prosecute all those who illegally carry and use knives.

The College of Policing guidelines are that 16 and 17 year-olds are no exception to this and should always be charged unless there are exceptional circumstances.

However, children under 16 caught with a knife with no aggravating factors are likely to be given a caution or conditional caution.

The guidance says no more than one caution should be issued - so anyone caught with a knife for a second time should expect to be punished more severely.

However, police do still have some leeway, with the guidance adding "discretion does exist" but only "if the circumstances justify" it.

What about people caught with a gun or acid?

The minimum sentence for possessing a gun is five years in prison for an offender aged 18 or over at the time of the offence and three years for those aged under 18.

Following public concern about a spate of high-profile acid attacks, there is new legislation awaiting approval by the House of Lords, which would make it illegal to possess a corrosive substance in a public place without a good reason.

The minimum sentence for offenders who already have at least one "relevant conviction" is six months in prison for adults or a four-month detention and training order for 16 and 17-year-olds.

There will be no minimum sentence first-time offenders but the maximum would be a year in jail.

(7th April 2019)


COUNTY LINES GANGS - HOW DRUG-RUNNING IS FUELLING KNIFE CRIME
(Guardian, dated 9th March 2019 author Mark Townsend)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/society/2019/mar/09/county-lines-drug-gangs-fuel-knife-crime-london-norfolk

As always, they were gathered in a large huddle in Andover Square, the tree-shaded courtyard in the middle of the estate. Another group stood nearby on the corner of Medina Road; another loitered outside the tower blocks of the Six Acres estate. "You see? They have taken over the streets," said Fawzia Addou, one of a group of mothers escorting the Observer around the streets of Finsbury Park, north London. The mothers, dressed in disguise, were pointing out the drug-dealing spots where their sons worked.

The dealers were everywhere. Behind Rowans bowling alley, outside the newsagent's by the tube, at the top of Finsbury Park Road. A pre-eminent location is the bus stop opposite City and Islington College.

The mothers cannot understand why the drug trade is so brazen. They say the police know all about the locations because they have repeatedly told officers.

But those who could identify their teenage sons were almost grateful. Many other children, aged under 16, have simply disappeared. Some emerge weeks later, hungry, exhausted. Some have been stabbed and are visibly traumatised.

They are the victims of "county lines", a drug distribution system in which criminal networks exploit thousands of children and vulnerable adults to funnel hard drugs from cities to towns and rural regions across the country, often using the public transport network to move their illicit wares. The youngsters transporting the drugs are recruited by ruthless criminal organisations, who target them with a mixture of financial rewards and threats, often finding recruits outside schools or the pupil referral units to which they have been sent after being excluded from mainstream schools.

The destabilising influence of the county lines system has helped to drive fatal stabbings to the highest levels since records began. The mounting death toll has become increasingly politicised over the past week with crisis meetings between the home secretary and police chiefs, warnings of a "national emergency" and Theresa May pledging an emergency summit on the issue.

But the controversy has changed little on the streets around the Andover estate. The mothers, all Somalis who fled their country during the civil war in the 1990s, say they have been abandoned by the state.

Many of their children, they reveal, have asked to leave London because of the violence or have been sent to Africa for their own protection. "We are refugees, if we cannot keep our children safe, we move on," said Kameela Khalif.

Community representatives estimate that hundreds of British teenagers have left for Somaliland or Somalia - a country that in the past week has seen car bombings, US airstrikes and a deadly siege - because the UK has become too perilous.

Beyond its medieval centre, past St Benedict's church and the cobbled lanes, the west side of Norwich yields to a network of housing estates. Here, among the streets of Heigham Grove, children from N4 - the postcode of Finsbury Park - have been discovered working county lines.

According to the latest police assessment, there are 27 county lines currently operating into Norfolk, most from London and most affecting Norwich, Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn.

A "hostile" strategy towards the drugs gangs, Operation Gravity, has seen 1,024 people arrested in Norfolk since November 2016. Analysis of these arrests produced a striking theme - the minority were locals. More than 800, in fact, did not have a Norfolk postcode. Of 18 girls, only three were from the county.

Further investigation found 500 gang members from London or elsewhere had recently left a criminal "footprint" inside Norfolk. "It was a bit of an eye opener," said Sonia Humphreys, chief inspector of Norfolk Constabulary.

Most children from London arrive into Norfolk by train. Those from Finsbury Park and Islington, whose mosaic of multi-ethnic gangs include Easy Cash, Kelly Gang and Andover Boys - named after the estate - travel from King's Cross direct to King's Lynn. Further east across the capital a competing Somali-led gang, the Mali Boys, uses Liverpool Street station to travel direct to Norwich.

The Mali Boys, run by Somali "olders", are symbolic of a new wave of commercially aggressive county lines operations which have attempted to gain a Norwich foothold. "Historically, we've seen a lot of violence when the Somalis come up," said Humphreys.

Transport police are briefed to look out for young black children travelling alone to Norfolk, often using first class, often paying with cash. Gangs are increasingly aware such journeys can seem conspicuous.

"White British children are now being targeted because gangs perceive they are more likely to evade police detection," states an internal Norfolk police document.

Although Norwich teenagers are increasingly joining county lines operations, recruits largely remain inner-city children exported elsewhere.

Last Wednesday, another seven Somali mothers gathered inside an Islington community centre to discuss their "lost generation". Rakhia Ismail, deputy mayor of Islington and a councillor for Holloway Road, is counselling 15 mothers who have lost sons to county lines and has dozens more terrified about trafficking.

Addou, part of a network of 13 parents whose children have been taken by drug gangs, estimated that half - possibly as much of 70% - of Islington's Somali community had been directly impacted by knife crime and county lines. "The ones not affected are worried because they're next," she said.

Addou's son has been found in King's Lynn four times. Groomed by gangs in a football park outside his school, the first time he disappeared she traced him to a local dealer. "He said that he couldn't come home until Tuesday. They were holding him." She sent the 15-year-old to Somalia then Kenya.

Sahra Amburo, a prominent member of N4's Somali community, told how her 15-year-old was top of his class, a risk factor in itself because gangs target the most intelligent or popular, knowing friends will follow.

Her son vanished one Sunday afternoon in 2017. After obtaining his phone records, she tracked him to Essex where he was being held by a group of dealers. She flew him immediately to Somaliland. "I took him away otherwise he would have been killed because they knew our address," she said.

Another described how she learned her 16-year-old son had been taken to Hemel Hempstead. She pasted dozens of posters of his face across the Hertfordshire town. After three days the gang handed him over. "Straightaway he said 'please take me away from this country'."

Last Wednesday, a new development tormented the group. One of their sons, aged 19, who had been sent to Kenya for safety, was being enticed by a gang via Snapchat to return to N4. "The drug dealers want him. If he returns I will lose him," said Iana Ali. On Friday, she flew to Mombasa to persuade him to stay.

When a teenager was fatally stabbed earlier this year, 300 metres from the centre, the deceased's 15-year-old Somali friend was told he was next. Within two days his mother put him on a one-way ticket to Mogadishu. "Now he's walking the land, living free," she said.

All the mothers have learned that county lines necessitates violence. Exploited children hoping to rise up the criminal foodchain must exhibit escalating brutality. Nick Davison, assistant chief constable of Norfolk Constabulary, outlined the concept of "ultra-violence" where younger recruits maintain status by executing acts of increasingly outrageous savagery.

Beatings turn to stabbings in the buttock, then the chest, the face. "If you don't, you become vulnerable to becoming a victim of that behaviour," said Davison.

Internal police documents confirm endemic violence - "85% of forces report knives referenced in relation to county lines intelligence, 74% report firearms referenced".

Children who attempt to escape are tortured. A 16-year-old reported missing from London was found by Norfolk police in possession of a 6in kitchen knife and 30 wraps of drugs. In custody they also discovered his body was covered with scarring "consistent with having been burnt with boiling liquid".

And the gangs have long memories. The mother who rescued her child from Hemel Hempstead allowed him to return to London in November 2017, assuming he would be safe. Within days of arriving he was stabbed in the stomach, his assailant wiggling the blade inside the body to cause maximum harm. After 40 days in hospital he returned home and has not left since. "Both my sons are too scared to leave the house," she said.

The family has received no counselling or trauma aftercare.

Others take drastic measures. One London gang member, stabbed multiple times, turned to religion to escape. Norfolk officers subsequently discovered he had travelled to fight in Syria.

The lack of safety has provoked outrage. "We parents are fighting a war with the gangs to save our children," said Khalif. They argue that their sons have been denied a statutory right to a safe environment. "The government must take responsibility," said mother-of-seven Addou.

When her son was caught, he refused bail because it was safer in prison. Others complain their probation prevents them from leaving the country.

The mothers ridiculed Theresa May's claim last week that there is "no direct correlation" between crime and police numbers. Davison, although more circumspect, agreed that austerity and the state's inability to provide security outside the family had been adeptly "exploited" by criminals.

The mothers' deepest gripe is police apathy. They, along with many in the community, have shared detailed intelligence with police. Since 2015, addresses, locations and movements of individuals have been offered that they say connect county line operations to its "generals". "I've told the police so many times but now I've stopped. I expect it be acted on, or at least given some feedback. It's one-way communication," said Addou.

The Islington Somali Community (ISC) complains that eight neighbourhood police serve a ward, Finsbury Park, which has a population of 17,200. Dealing spots, others say, lie within an area of concentrated CCTV coverage. The breakdown in trust is so great that unsupported claims of collusion flourish.

"Some parents believe that some police are working with the gangs because nothing is done," said Ali. There is also disquiet over the genesis of the latest political furore over knife crime, in particular that it took the death of a white teenager to prompt the outrage.

"It is absolutely tragic but it has taken a white girl to get killed for this to top the political agenda," said Kalyfa Ismail. A year ago three Somali youngsters in nearby Camden were knifed in 24 hours; two died and one just survived. "Where was the emergency summit then?" said Addou.

Another burning issue is the increasing evidence linking school exclusion rates and gang recruitment. Excluded pupils are 200 times more likely to receive a knife-carrying offence.

Abdiwahab Ali, director of the Somali Youth Development Resource Centre (SYDRC), is conducting pioneering research into the issue. Early estimates suggest half of Somali origin children excluded permanently in Camden enter the criminal justice system. Then there are the "units" - the pupil referral units accused of being fertile grounds for gang recruitment. Ismail described gang members waiting in lines outside Islington's unit.

Bilan Hoseen, who works with excluded Somali teenagers, said many are too petrified to attend the local unit. "They get a taxi there because they feel too unsafe to walk," he said. Officers in Norfolk view its smattering of units as so vulnerable they have flagged concerns with the council and are seeking to embed officers inside.

Secondary schools have also been targeted by police with 10 of Norfolk's 50 sites having a dedicated officer to spot vulnerable children. "Through this we have discovered kids who have gone missing from high school in Norwich travelling to London to pick up drugs to support county lines activities," said Davison.

The exploitation of thousands of children provides the labour for county lines. Latest figures for the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the government system to identify trafficking victims, revealed drug gangs helped prompt a 66% increase to 2,118 cases in 2017. But first the children must be groomed. They are usually targeted between the ages of 13 and 14, with the optimum age for recruitment of 15 to 16.

Addou said the gang gave her football-mad son a new ball and the offer of protection. Months later he was running drugs in Norfolk. A caged artificial-turf pitch, 100 metres from Andover's central square, is a well-known recruitment ground for N4 county lines operations. One mother on the Andover estate said her nine-year-old son was already receiving money for sweets from gangs. Others describe 14-year-olds wanting to "do Deliveroo" when they turn 16, a euphemism for couriering drugs.

Fast food joints in Finsbury Park are targeted by gang recruiters. In Norwich, officers are told to be vigilant in shopping centres.

Recruiters, said Humphreys, seek a "chink in the armour" of adolescents using techniques indistinguishable from child abusers. Internal briefings by police forces have highlighted video interviews conducted by youth worker Paul McKenzie with gang recruiters. "It's like listening to an exploiter of sexual abuse," said Humphreys.

Once hooked, their families are threatened with violence or they are trapped through debt bondage. Although a county line can make a gang up to £5,000 a day, mothers say there is scant evidence of wealth distribution. "Our boys come home hungry, tired, cold. They are still growing, their clothes no longer fit."

Both Norfolk's senior officers and Islington's Somali mothers concur that the solution requires ambition. Davison, whose force has closed down 21 county lines, agrees the answer is bigger than the level of policing.

"We will not arrest our way out of county lines. It needs a whole system approach, offering young people alternatives," he said.

Beyond removing children from the country, the mothers list various solutions; more parental involvement in schools; safe spaces; more vocational education; a deradicalisation programme for groomed children.

In the absence of a concerted new approach, both police and parents know that the teenagers of N4 will continue to surface in Norwich while their younger brothers on the Andover estate receive new gifts from the guys in the square.

Some names have been changed

27 The number of county lines operating from London to Norfolk

- 1,024 Total number of people arrested in Norfolk since 2016

- 500 Number of gang members who left criminal footprint in Norfolk

- 70% of Islington's Somalis are affected by knife crime and county lines

- 8 neighbourhood police serve Finsbury Park ward's 17,200 population

- 15-16 Optimum age for recruiting children to work in county lines

- 66% Increase in trafficked children, boosted by drug gang activity

- £5,000 The amount a gang can earn in a day from a county line

(7th April 2019)


1,000 STOP AND SEARCHES TO BE CARRIED OUT EVERY DAY IN LONDON TO STOP MORE FATAL STABBINGS
(London Evening Standard, dated 8th March 2019 authors :
Benedict Moore-Bridger, Daniel O'Mahony, Owen Sheppard, John Dunne)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/1000-stop-and-searches-to-be-carried-out-every-day-in-london-to-stop-more-fatal-stabbings-a4086271.html

Police in London are preparing to carry out nearly a 1,000 stop and searches a day in an attempt to prevent more lethal stabbings as the family of the latest teenage stabbing victim today demanded justice.

Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty said the force was also deploying 400 extra officers on the ground and asking officers in its specialist Violent Crime Task Force to work extended shifts to stop the wave of killings and serious injuries.

He said the aim was to put "as many feet on the streets as possible" as he spoke of the dismay that he and his fellow officers felt at the continuing violence.

"This is a tragedy and we want to do everything we can to make sure that more young lives aren't lost," Mr Mcnulty told the Standard.

His intervention came as college student Ayub Hassan, 17, who dreamed of becoming a barrister, was revealed as the latest casualty of the knife crime epidemic.

He died after being attacked in North End Road in West Kensington yesterday afternoon - the fourth murder investigation launched in just 24 hours

Doctors from a nearby surgery and a nurse who lives near the scene rushed to help him as he collapsed in a pool of blood. They shouted "stay with us, your mum needs you" as he lay dying.

Ayub is the 24th person to be killed this year in London and the sixth teenager to die from stab wounds.

Mr McNulty disclosed that the Met carried out 6,337 stop and searches during the first seven days of March.

He said the high rate of searches, which comes on top of a 66 per cent increase in such checks in February, was likely to continue over the coming days.

Critics have complained in the past that searches can backfire by alienating communities, prompting Prime Minister Theresa May to order a big and controversial reduction in their use when she was Home Secretary.

But Mr McNulty said that the new wave of searches were being carried out lawfully and proportionally - with officers willing to say sorry if they detained people too long without finding anything - and that the tactic could help to save lives.

"We know it has an impact on people carrying knives because word goes around when we are doing it," he added. "We see it as a life saver. "
Mr McNulty's comments came as the Met and other forces prepared to submit plans to the Home Office later today for emergency extra funding to help them deal with the surge in violence, which senior officers have described as a national emergency.

He said the Met had already switched nearly 300 officers into its Violent Crime Task Force - which yesterday seized a automatic AK47 firearm during an operation in Peckham  - and had put 400 extra borough officers on the streets.

Ayub, from the nearby White City estate, was today described as a "wonderful boy" by his family.

His mother Siraad Aden, 38, told the Standard: "He was a wonderful boy, I remember everything he said. He was lovely, he looked after me. He wasn't only a son, he was my best friend. We want justice."

An aunt said: "When he was in the house he liked to play games, and he went out to play football with his friends. His dream was to become a barrister."

Ayub, who was studying at Hammersmith college, was the oldest child of three siblings with a brother, nine, and a sister, 11.

Family friends said he had been stabbed before but was a "victim" of gang disputes since the age of 12.

Fatima Elmi said: "Ayub was under pressure to join gangs. He didn't want to so they picked on him. They also tried to run him over. If you say no, that's what happens to them."

Tributes to the teenager poured in on social media, with many referring to him with the nickname A1.

He is understood to have been hanging out with "three or four friends" before he was attacked.
A worker from a Waitrose store who rushed to help him said he had been stabbed "just below his heart".

He told the Standard: "We were putting pressure on. He wasn't breathing, he wasn't conscious.

"Someone ran down to the doctors' surgery and they came out. We were trying to cut his t shirt with scissors but it wasn't working. I put a pillow under his head.

"We told him 'keep your eyes open, stay with us, your mum needs you'.

"It was terrible."

Scotland Yard said three teenagers aged 18, 17, and 15 have been arrested on suspicion of murder and are currently in custody at a London police station.

Detectives from the Homicide and Major Crime Command are investigating.

Chief Superintendent Rob Jones said: "I understand the devastating effect that this incident will have not only on the victim's loved ones, but also on the wider community.

"Our thoughts are with the victim's family at this sad time."

A friend visiting the scene to lay flowers said: "Ayub was a good, humble guy. He was not a troubled person. I just feel really sorry for his family, they must be heartbroken. He didn't deserve this."

A spokesman for the Met said they were called at 2.14pm yesterday to Lanfrey Place to reports of a person stabbed.

"The injured male was taken to a central London hospital where he sadly died a short time later."

It comes after detectives investigating the stabbing of 17-year-old Scout Jodie Chesney in Romford arrested a second man in London over the killing.

A 20-year-old man arrested in Leicester on Tuesday remains in custody.

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Whellams, leading the investigation, said today: "This was a savage, evil attack. We're progressing well with the investigation and continue to ask the public to assist us.

"At this time, there being no clear motive is very unusual. We retain an open mind and can't rule anything out."

Meanwhile a 37-year-old man died in hospital on Wednesday evening after being stabbed in Soho on Sunday, while 26-year-old David Martinez was knifed to death in Leyton on Wednesday.

(7th April 2019)


KILLED IN 2019 : THE UK's FIRST 100 VICTIMS
(BBC News, 8th March 2019)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47476217

uaware comment

The original article contains the names and, where available, photos and profiles of those who have tragically lost their lives so far this year. These people are not just statistics; they are Mothers, Fathers, Sons, Daughters, Aunts, Uncles, Nephews, Nieces and Friends. One hundred people taken and thousands have been affected by their loss.

The article

With the number of fatal stabbings in England and Wales in 2017-18 the highest since records began - the BBC has tracked the first 100 killings in 2019 - revealing the people behind the headlines.

Stabbings were the largest single cause of death, totalling 40 fatalities out of 100, with the remaining 60 resulting from other causes such as assault or fire.

The Leading cause of death was stabbing - First 100 homocides 2019
(Source : BBC Research)

Stabbed : 40
Assaulted : 23
Fire : 8
Shot : 5
Strangled : 1
Not Known : 23

The age range of victims is strikingly wide.

A fifth of those killed this year were under the age of 20, but most commonly, victims were in their 20s and 30s.

The youngest was a one-month old baby boy and the oldest were twin brothers killed in Exeter, aged 84.

Men in their 30s were the most affected group (Source : BBC Research)

Homocides in the UK, 1st January to 6th March 2019

Female = n ; Male = [n]

Age

0-9 : 5 [4]
10-19 : 1 [10]
20-29 : 5 [14]
30-39 : 6 [19]
40-49 : 5 [10]
50-59 : 3 [5]
60-69 : 2 [5]
70-79 : 1 [2]
80+ : [3]

About these figures

Information supplied by police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The list is comprised of manslaughters, murders and infanticides. These causes of death are categorised as homicides by the Office of National Statistics.

Figures are correct as of 8 March 2019 but may change as investigations progress and charges are brought or dropped.

The figures do not include the case of Sean Fitzgerald who was shot during a police raid in Coventry, or a police investigation into an assisted suicide in Hampshire.

Update 22 March 2019: The list has been updated as a result of new information supplied to the BBC.

(7th April 2019)


KNIFE CRIME - POLICE "SHOULD USE STOP AND SEARCH MORE"
(BBC News, dated 8th March 2019)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-47495216

Police officers have been "discouraged" from using stop and search and should use the powers more to tackle knife crime, a chief constable has said.

Chief Constable Francis Habgood said stop and search had "considerably" dropped in his force over recent years.

He told the BBC "without doubt" there was a "sense" from constables "they had been discouraged from doing it".

Mr Habgood added it was "common sense" that cuts in officer numbers were linked to knife crime.

The Thames Valley Police boss said "if you have got less people enforcing the law, providing that visible presence, able to respond when things happen and investigate things, then of course it is going to have an impact on our ability to deal with issues like knife crime".

Mr Habgood added that officers' "confidence" to use stop and search had been influenced "partly from what they heard from politicians" and in "some of the training that was delivered".

'Uncomfortably stretched'


Earlier this week Prime Minister Theresa May said there was "no direct correlation" between falling officer numbers and a rise in violent crime.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid called for knife crime to be treated "like a disease" after a recent spate of stabbing deaths.

Mr Habgood said the "most worrying issue" was the increase in knives being carried by young people.

But he admitted his force was "stretched to a level which is uncomfortable".

"If you asked all of my officers, staff and volunteers they would feel the pressure of trying to deliver too many things without enough resources," he added.

Mr Habgood said since 2010 the force had been required to make cuts of more than £100m and had lost 1,000 officers and staff.

The chief will be replaced by his deputy John Campbell when he retires at the end of March.

(7th April 2019)


"POVERTY OF HOPE" HAS LED TO SOARING KNIFE CRIME SAYS CEO OF BRITAIN'S LEADING CHILDREN'S CHARITY
(London Evening Standard, dated 8th March 2019 author Megan White)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/poverty-of-hope-has-led-to-soaring-knife-crime-says-ceo-of-britains-leading-childrens-charity-a4086006.html

A "poverty of hope" has led to the rise in knife crime, according to the CEO of Britain's leading children's charity.

Barnardo's boss Javed Khan told BBC Question Time that although funding more police officers could help tackle the crisis, it would be a "mistake to think… it would solve the problem."

Speaking in Dudley on Thursday, Mr Khan said many young people "carry knives to feel safe" and that investing in communities could prevent more deaths.

He spoke on the same night hundreds marched through Romford to remember murdered teenager Jodie Chesney and protest against London's recent spate of killings.

A teenager who was stabbed in West Kensington on Thursday became the 17th person killed by a knife in London alone in 2019.

Mr Khan said: "We feel safer when we see more police officers, but it would be a mistake to think more bobbies on the beat would solve the problem.

"The root causes actually lie elsewhere. When I talk to these young kids who are on the verge of violent crime or in and out of gangs, what they talk to me about is the lives that they are living.

"They say they carry knives to stay safe and I say to them you don't need a knife to stay safe, but they say "that's easy for you to say, live in the housing estate that I live in, walk from my housing estate to my school and tell me whether you feel safe or not."

"There's a whole range of answers, but policing alone isn't. Policing is important, but I think we need to invest in the communities where these young people are living.

"We need to fund police officers but we need to fund youth and community workers as well, we need to fund community centres, we need to create new spaces where young people feel safe.

"We need to give them hope, because I believe that poverty is an issue, but what I'm seeing is a poverty of hope, where young people do not see a reason to change their behaviours - that's where we've got to invest.

"Poverty, yes - put more money in, it's welcome, put more bobbies on the beat - but don't forget about investing in the communities themselves.

"Employ people from those communities, because they are likely to know what the answers are and they will be more trusted than anybody else will."

Mr Khan appeared alongside former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Labour's Margaret Beckett, Times columnist Iain Martin and journalist Owen Jones.

The programme was aired as one of Britain's most senior police officers called on judges to ensure "harsh" sentences are given to knife carriers.

Andy Cooke, Merseyside Police chief constable, said judges must get tough on those who face court for carrying blades as he urged that more must be done to end the bloodbath.

A secondary school teacher who spoke on the BBC show said she works in a school between where two young men were murdered in Birmingham last month.

Three teenagers died in the city in just 12 days in February.

She said teachers can "only do so much" because young people's services have all had their funding slashed.

The teacher added: "We like to think that we can reassure our pupils but all their services have been cut.

"We're telling them not to go to parks but where can they go? Everything has been withdrawn.

"When I first started teaching in 2007, we had youth support people, we had youth centres, we had outreach projects, and we had people coming in and out of schools all the time.

"We do not have any funding for those sorts of projects, or very little, and we're making the best of what we can do."

Journalist Owen Jones added: "The way we run society has snatched away security and optimism from young people."

(7th April 2019)


KNIFE CRIME TREBLES IN PARTS OF WALES, HOME OFFICE SAYS
(BBC News, dated 8th March 2019)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-47502284

The number of offences involving knives or sharp objects has more than tripled over five years in some parts of Wales.

Gwent Police saw the biggest jump in the 12 months to September 2018 compared to 2013 going from 42 to 141 incidents, a 236% hike.

North Wales Police was up 211% with 277 cases in 2018, while Dyfed-Powys Police cases more than doubled from 75 to 156.

The lowest rise came in the South Wales Police area, but it had the highest figures - 735 in 2018.

All forces have been asked to respond.

In February, South Wales Police said more than 100 arrests relating to knife crime were made in Cardiff over a six months as part of Operation Spectre.

There were also 350 "stop searches".

At the time, Chief Constable Matt Jukes said: "You are at greater risk of being a victim of knife crime if you carry a knife yourself."

Home Office figures showed the number of fatal stabbings in England and Wales in 2017-18 is the highest since records began.

In Wales, however, they were low with one death in each of the force areas except for South Wales where there were five.

(7th April 2019)


IS THERE A LINK BETWEEN SCOTLAND'S EXCLUSION RATES AND KNIFE CRIME ?
(BBC News, dated 8th March 2019 author Nichola Rutherford)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-47484927

A spate of knife crime in England has been linked to an increase in the number of young people excluded from school. But in Scotland - where just five pupils were permanently removed from the classroom in 2017 - knife violence has fallen.

Why has Scotland's school exclusion rate dropped - and has it had a real impact on crime?

How many children are excluded from school in Scotland?

Official statistics show that more than 18,000 children were temporarily removed from their classroom in 2016/17.

Just five young people were excluded permanently or "removed from the register".

Exclusions of all kinds have dropped by 59% since 2006/07, when 44,794 children were suspended from school - 248 of them on a permanent basis.

The statistics relate to publicly-funded local authority schools in Scotland, not grant-aided or independent schools, or early-learning and childcare establishments.

Total number of pupils excluded from Scotland's schools

n=Temporary exclusions  [n] = Removed from register

###YEAR
2002/03    : 36,204 [292]
2003/04    : 38,736 [176]
2004/05    : 41,703 [271]
2005/06    : 42,726 [264]
2006/07    : 44,546 [248]
2007/08    : 39,553 [164]
2008/09    : 33,830 [87]
2009/10    : 30,144 [67]
2010/11    : 26,784 [60]
2012/13    : 21,934 [21]
2014/15    : 18,425 [5]
2016/17    : 18,376 [5]

Source: Scottish government

However in England Department for Education figures show that permanent exclusions increased by 56% between 2013/14 and 2016/17.

The number of permanent exclusions across all state-funded primary, secondary and special schools stood at 7,720 in 2016/17.

Why has there been a drop in exclusions in Scotland?

Young people in Scotland can only be excluded from school in the most extreme circumstances.

And councils are duty-bound to provide a school education to all excluded pupils - whether that is in another local school, a school in a different education authority, or at an alternative location to school.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish government said: "We are committed to ensuring that all children and young people get the support that they need to reach their full learning potential with a focus on prevention and early intervention.

"Pupils are not 'removed from the roll' in Scotland and we expect children continue to receive an education while excluded, either at another school or alternative location."

She added: "Our approach to knife crime, also focusing on early intervention and prevention with young people, is recognised across the UK and internationally as making a real difference in keeping people safer."

How do schools deal with difficult students?

For many young people facing exclusion, their behaviour has been a "cry for help".

Meg Thomas, who works with schools in Glasgow and North Lanarkshire, said pupils can be communicating stress they are experiencing at home.

If they are excluded and sent back home, they return to that stressful place. It can also put them at risk of sexual and criminal exploitation.

Ms Thomas works for Includem, a third-sector organisation that supports young people in challenging circumstances.

She said that when students are at risk of exclusion, Includem often join meetings which are held with social workers, health staff, police officers.

They try to uncover the root of the difficult behaviour, to help the young person understand the consequences of their actions and their own emotions.

She may discover that they have experienced trauma, witnessed domestic abuse or they undiagnosed health problems.

And it allows the school to understand how they can best help the student - without resorting to exclusion.

Ms Thomas says it is a system which works but Includem currently only works in a small number of Scottish local authority areas.

"We need to stop getting kids excluded because we know it mean they stop entering the criminal justice system," she said.

"If we put the money in the right place at the right time, it will have long term cost savings across Scotland."

Is there a link between school exclusions and knife crime?

Research by Edinburgh University academics has found that young people who were excluded from school were much more likely to be end up in the criminal justice system and prison.

But Prof Susan McVie, one of the authors of the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, said the link with knife crime was less clear.

"There is a connection in the sense that people who are excluded from school are more likely to be involved in carrying weapons," she said.

They found that young people who carried weapons were twice as likely to be excluded from school as those who did not carry weapons.

"But when we looked at a whole raft of factors that might impact on whether people carried weapons, school exclusion actually turned out to be quite marginal," Prof McVie added. "It wasn't the most important thing in terms of explaining people's behaviour."

She said young people who self-harmed were more likely to carry weapons, as were those who were poorly supervised by their parents and those who felt socially-marginalised in their communities.

Although there has been a reduction in violent crime in Scotland and school exclusions, she said it was very difficult to prove a causal connection.

And she suggested that Scotland's experience proved there was not one single solution to the apparent surge in knife crime in England.

"We have seen big reductions in violent crime in parts of Scotland where it was very, very high," she said.

"But it's worth also saying we've seen big reductions in violence where it wasn't very high. It not just what was done in Glasgow around the violence reduction unit that has been effective, there's a whole raft of things, of which reducing school exclusion was one.

"But better education, better youth work, better employment opportunities for young people - there's a whole raft of things and there's no one single solution."

(7th April 2019)


THERESA MAY NOT LISTENING TO POLICE CONCERNS ABOUT KNIFE CRIME "EMERGENCY", EX-MET COMMISSIONER WARNS
(London Evening Standard, dated 7th March 2019 author Sean Morrison)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/theresa-may-not-listening-to-police-concerns-about-knife-crime-emergency-exmet-commissioner-warns-a4084831.html

Theresa May is not listening to police concerns about knife violence on Britain's streets, a former head of the Metropolitan Police has warned.

The Prime Minister is facing a mounting backlash for denying a link between dwindling officer numbers and a spate of fatal stabbings across the UK.

Recent killings have prompted warnings of a "national emergency" and sparked intense scrutiny of reductions in the size of the police workforce.

Former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Stevens told the BBC that Mrs May had not been listening to police forces' concerns. "I don't think she listens, quite frankly, to what she's being told," he said.

The ex-top cop's remarks came after a man was knifed to death in Leyton, east London, on Wednesday evening.

His death follows a string of high-profile stabbings in recent days, including 17-year-olds Jodie Chesney and Yousef Makki, who were killed in separate incidents in London and Greater Manchester over the weekend.

In Birmingham, three teenagers died in the space of 12 days last month.

The number of officers in the 43 territorial forces in England and Wales has fallen by more than 20,000 since 2009.

Mrs May, who was home secretary from 2010 to 2016, argued earlier this week that there was "no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers".

On Wednesday, Home Secretary Sajid Javid acknowledged that police resources were important in tackling knife violence after holding emergency talks with chief constables.

Speaking after the meeting, he said: "I think police resources are very important to deal with this. We've got to do everything we can.

"I'm absolutely committed to working with the police in doing this. We have to listen to them when they talk about resources."

Senior Labour politicians, including police and crime commissioners, have written to the Prime Minister urging her to put 10,000 police officers back on the streets.

The joint letter, also signed by London mayor Sadiq Khan, said: "There is not a town or city across the UK which hasn't been touched by the outbreak of serious youth violence.

It said nationwide there had been a 93% rise in children under 16 being stabbed since 2013, taking knife crime to "the highest level since records began".

"This is a national crisis and it requires leadership from the top of government," the letter added.

It called on the Prime Minister to "drop this dangerous delusion" that police cuts were not correlated with certain crimes.

Mrs May announced she would host a summit on knife crime and said the Government was putting more resources into policing.

But Mr Khan said "having a one-off knife summit by itself won't solve this issue"

He told ITV's Peston: "Of course I welcome any movement by the Prime Minister to address the issues that cause knife crime but I think a one-off summit may make great pictures, and may lead to one or two good soundbites, but by itself won't be enough."

He said the reasons for the increase in violent crime were "quite complex" and added: "What I'd like to see is a joined-up public health approach in dealing with this very serious issue."

At Prime Minister's Questions, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn claimed the Prime Minister was trying to keep communities safe "on the cheap".

He said: "Does the Prime Minister now regret cuts in police numbers and will she undertake that under this review they will be restored to the level they were formerly at?"

A proposed cash boost could see total police funding rise by nearly £1 billion in 2019/20, including money raised through council tax.

Asked whether the PM still believed there was no direct link between police numbers and violent crime, her official spokesman said: "Clearly resources and powers are important.

"We have just given the police more resources and more powers and we always listen to what the police are saying.

"But it's hugely important that we don't just treat this as a policing issue, that we do look across society at things such as changes in the drugs market and address issues like gang culture with children being groomed into this lifestyle and carrying knives, and we look at public health."

Later this week, police chiefs will present ministers with details of the resources they need for a "surge" in capacity to combat the rise in violent crime.

(7th April 2019)


LONDON MAYOR SADIQ KHAN SAYS HE'S DONE "AS MUCH AS HE'S ALLOWED" TO TACKLE KNIFE CRIME
(London Evening Standard, dated 7th March 2019 author Eleanor Rose)

Full Article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/sadiq-khan-says-hes-done-as-much-as-hes-allowed-to-tackle-knife-crime-a4085106.html

Sadiq Khan has hit back at criticism over knife crime in London, saying he has increased Met budgets "as much as I am allowed" and invested in youth services.

"In just London alone, over the last eight years, our Met police service has lost more than £800 million from central government as a consequence of cuts," said the Mayor as he was grilled on Sky over a recent surge in violent crime.

"That's led to us having more than 3,000 fewer police officers, thousands fewer community support officers, and thousands fewer police staff.

"On top of that, dozens of youth centres closing down, hundreds of youth workers losing their jobs, thousands of young Londoners who don't have a youth centre to go to."

His comments came after a man was knifed to death in Leyton, east London, on Wednesday evening.

Sky presenter Sarah-Jane Mee hit back "You keep shifting it onto central government", prompting the mayor to roll his eyes and insist he had done what he can.

"Eighty percent of the budget for the Met police service comes from central government," he said.

"Roughly speaking, 20 per cent comes from City Hall. We've increased that as much as I'm allowed to do under the law.

"What we've done from City Hall is using council tax increases - I've raised it three years in a row, the previous mayor didn't raise it - but also used monies from business rates to invest in policing, but also to invest in youth services and young people.

"Secondly we've invested 45 million in a young Londoners fund. At the moment there are 60,000 young Londoners receiving support they weren't before I became mayor."

He also pointed out that people were murdered this week not only in London but also in Oxford and Manchester.

It comes after a former head of the Met said Theresa May is not listening to police concerns about knife violence on Britain's streets.

Recent killings have prompted warnings of a "national emergency" and sparked intense scrutiny of reductions in the size of the police workforce.

Former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Stevens told the BBC that Mrs May had not been listening to police forces' concerns. "I don't think she listens, quite frankly, to what she's being told," he said.

The ex-top cop's remarks also came after a man was knifed to death in Leyton, east London, on Wednesday evening.

His death follows a string of high-profile stabbings in recent days, including 17-year-olds Jodie Chesney and Yousef Makki, who were killed in separate incidents in London and Greater Manchester over the weekend.

In Birmingham, three teenagers died in the space of 12 days last month.

Mrs May, who was home secretary from 2010 to 2016, argued earlier this week that there was "no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers".

(7th April 2019)


FATAL STABBINGS IN ENGLAND AND WALES AT HIGHEST RECORDED LEVEL
(Guardian, dated 7th February 2019 author Amy Walker)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/07/fatal-stabbings-in-england-and-wales-at-highest-recorded-level

Fatal stabbings in England and Wales have reached their highest level since records began more than 70 years ago, official figures show.

The homicide rate also rose by 15% in one year, according to the data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) and crimes recorded by the police.

Between March 2017 and 2018, 285 killings were carried out with a knife or sharp instrument, the highest since Home Office records began in 1946. The rates, recorded by police, marked the fourth consecutive annual rise in homicides following a long-term decline.

The report has prompted renewed calls for more police funding after government cuts led to a loss of more than 22,000 officers since 2010. Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, said the data was "deeply troubling".

"This is part of a pattern of rising violent crime, but the government remains in denial on this," she said. "There are many causes of rising serious crime, but government cuts have worsened them all in every area, from welfare to schools to mental health treatment. Cuts to police funding are also a factor."

Homicides, excluding those committed in terrorist attacks in London and Manchester or the recording of events at Hillsborough in 1989, rose to 695 in the year ending 2018 from 606 in the previous year.

When these exceptions are included, there were 726 homicides in the year ending March 2018, the highest since 2008 when 729 were recorded.

For every million people in England and Wales, there were 12 killings. More men and young people were killed than any other group. For every million men there were 17 killings, while there were eight killings for every million women.

Men were more likely than women to be killed by a friend or acquaintance - 25% compared with 7% of female victims.

Nick Hurd, the minister for policing and the fire service, said: "We are investing a further £220m in community early intervention projects and have made clear that all public bodies need to treat serious violence as a priority and will be consulting on making it a legal duty.

"We must also provide the police with the necessary powers to tackle violent crime, that is why we have listened to their concerns about rising demand and have proposed the biggest increase in police funding since 2010."

Last month, a government announcement of an additional £970m in police funding for 2019 was criticised as not going far enough.

Trends in domestic abuse also continued, with women far more likely than men to be killed by a partner or ex-partner - 33% of female victims compared with 1% of male victims. A separate report from the ONS revealed that more than half of all violent incidents were experienced by repeat victims, a trend that was most common among victims of domestic abuse.

Over the past four years, the level of violent crime has remained fairly static, but incidents recorded by police showed an increase in crimes in which a higher level of harm was caused.

The CSEW found that more than 60% of violent incidents that occurred in the year did not come to the attention of the police.

Sarah Jones, the MP for Croydon Central and chair of the all-party parliamentary group on knife crime, said: "The public health emergency of knife crime continues unabated, and it is our young people dying in the greatest numbers. The government cannot keep acting like police numbers have no role to play in tackling this.

"The language has started to shift from ministers, recognising we must treat this as a public health issue and intervene early. But that cannot be seen as a replacement for a rapidly depleting police force."

In the year to March 2018, 285 homicides were carried out with a knife or sharp instrument in England and Wales


Year

2011-12 : 211
2012-13 : 196
2013-14 : 204
2014-15 : 187
2015-16 : 213
2016-17 : 212
2017-18 : 285

(7th April 2019)


WEST MIDLANDS POLICE CHIEF'S ONE-WORD VERDICT OVER KNIFE CRIME EPIDEMIC MEETING WITH SAJID JAVID
(Birmingham Live, dated 6th March 2019 author James Rodger)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/west-midlands-police-chiefs-one-15930891

David Thompson, Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, said senior officers had a "positive" meeting with the Home Secretary in London.

He tweeted that the discussion covered how police can deliver the "serious violence strategy".

"Police suppression activity very much on the agenda as well as long term need," he added.

Jack Dromey, MP for Birmingham Erdington, meanwhile, accused Sajid Javid and Theresa May of being "in denial" over the issue of knife crime.

He tweeted: "There is an inevitable link between their cutting 21,000 police officers nationwide and 2,100 in the West Midlands with rising crime and more young people dying on the streets, the victims of knife crime."

Mr Javid has pledged to do "everything I can" to provide police with the resources they need to tackle Britain's knife crime epidemic.

The Home Secretary held emergency talks with chief constables on Wednesday after a spate of fatal stabbings.

Speaking after the meeting, he said: "I think police resources are very important to deal with this. We've got to do everything we can.

"I'm absolutely committed to working with the police in doing this. We have to listen to them when they talk about resources."

The remarks appeared to put him at odds with Theresa May, who sparked controversy earlier this week by insisting there was no direct link between certain crimes and police numbers.

Mr Javid also said it was important for the Government to give police "more confidence" over the use of stop-and-search powers.

He said: "I think that stop-and-search is a very valuable tool and some police forces have started in recent years making even more use of that, and they have my full support."

Mrs May introduced reforms in 2014 to ensure stop and search was used in a more targeted way following criticism that the tactics unfairly focused on black and minority ethnic individuals.

The Prime Minister announced she would be holding a summit in coming days to explore "what more we can do as a whole society to tackle this problem".

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, Mrs May said: "A growing number of young people have lost their lives in a growing cycle of violence that has shocked us all."

Later this week, police chiefs will present ministers with details of the resources they need for a "surge" in capacity to combat the rise in violent crime.

Mrs May's official spokesman later said that the PM would meet representatives of police and other public sector bodies "as soon as possible".

She aims to hold a separate meeting with knife crime victims and their families to discuss their experiences.

Asked whether the PM still believed there was no direct link between police numbers and violent crime, he spokesman said: "Clearly resources and powers are important.

"We have just given the police more resources and more powers and we always listen to what the police are saying.

"But it's hugely important that we don't just treat this as a policing issue, that we do look across society at things such as changes in the drugs market and address issues like gang culture with children being groomed into this lifestyle and carrying knives, and we look at public health."

The spokesman said the Government had already announced an increase of £970 million in police budgets for 2019/20.

(7th April 2019)


VIOLENT CRIME IS SURGING FOUR TIMES AS FAST OUTSIDE LONDON
(The Times, dated 2nd March 2019 authors Ryan Watts and John Simpson)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/violent-crime-is-surging-four-times-as-fast-outside-london-vkdscnknq

Violent crime is growing four times faster outside of London than in it, analysis by The Times has found.

Rates of knife crime, assault, robbery and harassment per capita doubled or almost doubled in areas including Southampton, the Isle of Wight and the Ribble Valley. An analysis of police data at a street-by-street level also showed that the rate of violence per thousand people outside London recently overtook that of the capital.

Violent and sexual offences elsewhere in England and Wales increased by 51 per cent on average over the past two years, compared with an increase of 12 per cent in the capital.

Labour said last night that the government had failed to heed repeated warnings over budget cuts and reductions in the number of police officers, while a sergeant who represents frontline officers said that stretched forces were struggling to combat the spread of cocaine and heroin via "county lines" drug dealers.

The Metropolitan police has hailed the increased use of weapons sweeps, controversial stop and search powers and covert operations in London, where the murder rate so far this year is close to half that of 2018, which was the the city's worst year for a decade.

In an interview with The Times published today, Tobias Ellwood, a junior defence minister, gives his backing to more robust policing measures, such as using cars to ram criminals on mopeds, and says that more young people should join cadet schemes as an alternative to gangs.

The data showed that in the year to last December 1.7 million violent crimes were committed in England and Wales, up from 1.2 million in 2016. A rise in violence over the past 4 years has broken a decade-long downward trend, although the level still remains lower than the highs of the early 2000s.

The way violent crime was recorded was changed in the 1990s, with more crimes included, making it difficult to compare directly.It was changed again in 2003, with offences such as harrassment and stalking included.

Assistant Chief Constable Jackie Sebire, National Police Chiefs Council head of violent crime, said: " Violent crime is rising across the country, with an 11 per cent increase in homocides, but it is important to remember overall violence is down a third on ten years ago and two thirds on 20 years ago."

Ms Sebire also raised the issue of county lines drug dealing - in which city gangs send drugs out out to provincial towns - and said that while targeted patrols and focusing police resources on the worst areas were having an effect, tactics were "inconsistent across the country". She said that a public health approach was crucial.

The category of "violence and sexual offences includes more than 300 crimes, including assault, harrassment, rape and manslaughter. The increase has taken place all across England and Wales : only one local authority, Newcastle-under-Lyme, registered a decrease in violent offences.

In Preston, Burnley, Blackburn and Blackpool, incidents of violent crime more than doubled in two years. In Hyndburn, Lancashire, the number of offences rose from 1,600 in 2016 to nearly 4,000 last year.

The rate of violent crime relative to population size in Blackpool increased from 50 offences per 1,000 people to 84 between 2017 and  2018.

In the south of England significant increases have also been recorded, including rises of almost 70 per cent in Harlow, west Oxfordshire and Winchester. Violent crime has almost doubled in Southampton and Porstmouth.

Louise Haigh, shadow minister for policing and crime, said: " These staggering new figures reveal that the government are losing control nationwide. They simply refuse to believe senior officers and their own experts who are telling them that the police are too stretched to fight spiralling  levels of violence. Hardened criminals are exploiting the gaps where support services used to be and a highly vulnerable cohort of youngsters are being drawn into crime."

She added that further cuts would exacerbate the problem and promised that a Labour government would reverse them and recruit thousands more officers.

Sergeant Simon Kempton, of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said that the Metropolitan police, City of London police and the British Transport police had far better resources than forces in many areas of the country. He said county lines dealing, in which hard drugs were flooding towns and villages in the countryside and along the coast, was contributing to the strain on regional forces.

He said: "Some of the reasons {for violence rising faster outside London} could be that we have seen the explosion of the county lines issue, which is moving some of the issues which contributed towards violent crime out towards regions. At the sametime, we have had continuing austerity slashing police numbers and this has been felt most keenly outside the capital, which until recently survived relatively unscathed in terms of officer numbers."

The Met said that its violent crime task force, which was established in April last year, had carried out 6,324 weapon sweeps in public parks and open spaces looking for weapons and drugs. The task force seized 224 guns, 650 knives and 495 offensive weapons and arrested 3,402 people for weapons, violence and drug-related offences.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, of the Met, said:" Whilst London hasn't seen the greatest rise in violence from a national perspective, like our colleagues across the country we absolutely believe that one death, one injury or one young person's life being wrecked by their involvement in violent crime is one too many."

He added that community schemes and work to divert young people way from gangs and violence had contributed to recent successes, but he stressed that the force could not be complacent.

Offences in England and Wales (Figures extracted from diagram in original article)

Percentage change in the number of violent and sexual offences - 2016 to 2018

Test Valley : +110.7%
Burnley : +113.5%
South Holland : +113.6%
Salford : +123.2%
Preston : +125.4%
Rossendale : +129%
Pendle : +133%
South Ribble : +140%
North Kesteven : : +142%
Hyndburn : +147.7%

Political Legacy (uaware comment)

The following is a description of a chart within the original article which described crime levels against party in government and Prime Minister.

Tories (Thatcher) : Rising from Labour regime
Tories (Major) : Rising to 1992, then falling to 1997
Labour (Blair) : Rising from 1998 to record crime level in 2003, then falling to 2007
Labour (Brown) : Crime continues to fall to Thatcher levels.
Tories (Cameron) : Crime continues to fall until 2013 then rises
Tories (May) : Crimes continues to rise during 2016 to levels similar to start of Blair regime

(7th April 2019)


POLICE CHIEFS PROMISE MAJOR "SURGE" AGAINST KNIFE VIOLENCE WITH MORE GOVERNMENT FUNDS
(London Evening Standard, dated 6th March 2019 author Martin Bentham)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/police-chiefs-promise-major-surge-against-knife-violence-with-more-government-funds-a4083711.html

A major new "surge" against knife crime was promised today as police chiefs warned that the scale of violent offfending has become a national emergency.

Sara Thornton, the head of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said that senior officers had been given until Friday by the Government to set out what extra resources they needed to tackle the wave of stabbings.

She added that forces were ready "to surge operational capacity to deal with these crimes" and would carry out the new purge as soon as money to pay for more officers was provided.

Ms Thornton's pledge came after she and six other police chiefs, including Met Commissioner Cressida Dick, met Home Secretary Sajid Javid to thrash out the best ways to respond to the spate of stabbings affecting London and other parts of the country.

The violence, which includes the knife killing of London teenager Jodie Chesney on Friday, has prompted a wave of public concern at the number of young lives being lost.

Today Mr Javid insisted that he would not "hide" from the problem and vowed to do everything in his power to bring down the death toll.

Police chiefs emerging from their meeting with him praised his supportive approach with Ms Thornton announcing that more action would be taken once the Home Secretary had listened to their detailed plans and provided the necessary resources.

 "We know what tactics work, we know what we can do to surge operational capacity to deal with these crimes," she said. "But we haven't always got that capacity, haven't got the officers, so we've agreed by the end of the week we will set out the scale of the investment required."

Mr Javid - who yesterday clashed in Cabinet with Chancellor Philip Hammond as he called for emergency funding - said he would do "everything I can" to make sure forces got more resources. He added: "I'm absolutely committed to working with the police in doing this. We have to listen to them when they talk about resources."

Earlier, Ms Thornton also called for the Government's crisis committee Cobra to oversee the fight against knife crime as she warned Mr Javid that the rise in a serious violence has become a national emergency.

She said better leadership was needed to ensure that all public services, such as education and social services, were doing everything they could to reduce the number of stabbings. She said one reason was the growing number of children who are "roaming the streets" after being excluded from school, leaving them vulnerable to recruitment by gangs.

There was also a lack of co-ordination to ensure that other parts of Government, beyond policing, were performing their roles adequately.

Ms Thornton also called for an immediate cash injection for police, and more long-term funding, because "we just don't have enough officers" to cope.

Prime Minister Theresa May has asserted that a lack of money is not the problem. But her argument - which was called into question by the Met Commissioner yesterday - was also rejected by Ms Thornton as she warned that a lack of funding and leadership was contributing to the violence.

"We need to respond as if this is a national emergency, bringing people into Cobra, getting the right people around the table, a senior minister holding all the departments and agencies to account for what they are doing to reduce serious violence," Ms Thornton told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

(7th April 2019)


KNIFE VIOLENCE MUST BE TREATED AS A NATIONAL EMERGENCY
(London Evening Standard, dated 6th March 2019 author Martin Bentham)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/police-chiefs-promise-major-surge-against-knife-violence-with-more-government-funds-a4083711.html

Police chiefs today called for the Government's crisis committee Cobra to oversee the fight against knife crime as they warned the Home Secretary that the surge in serious violence has become a national emergency.

Sara Thornton, the head of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said that senior officers had been given until Friday by the Government to set out what extra resources they needed to tackle the wave of stabbings.

She added that forces were ready "to surge operational capacity to deal with these crimes" and would carry out the new purge as soon as money to pay for more officers was provided.

Ms Thornton's pledge came after she and six other police chiefs, including Met Commissioner Cressida Dick, met Home Secretary Sajid Javid to thrash out the best ways to respond to the spate of stabbings affecting London and other parts of the country.

The violence, which includes the knife killing of London teenager Jodie Chesney on Friday, has prompted a wave of public concern at the number of young lives being lost.

Today Mr Javid insisted that he would not "hide" from the problem and vowed to do everything in his power to bring down the death toll.

Police chiefs emerging from their meeting with him praised his supportive approach with Ms Thornton announcing that more action would be taken once the Home Secretary had listened to their detailed plans and provided the necessary resources.

 "We know what tactics work, we know what we can do to surge operational capacity to deal with these crimes," she said. "But we haven't always got that capacity, haven't got the officers, so we've agreed by the end of the week we will set out the scale of the investment required."

Mr Javid - who yesterday clashed in Cabinet with Chancellor Philip Hammond as he called for emergency funding - said he would do "everything I can" to make sure forces got more resources. He added: "I'm absolutely committed to working with the police in doing this. We have to listen to them when they talk about resources."

Earlier, Ms Thornton also called for the Government's crisis committee Cobra to oversee the fight against knife crime as she warned Mr Javid that the rise in a serious violence has become a national emergency.

She said better leadership was needed to ensure that all public services, such as education and social services, were doing everything they could to reduce the number of stabbings. She said one reason was the growing number of children who are "roaming the streets" after being excluded from school, leaving them vulnerable to recruitment by gangs.

There was also a lack of co-ordination to ensure that other parts of Government, beyond policing, were performing their roles adequately.

Ms Thornton also called for an immediate cash injection for police, and more long-term funding, because "we just don't have enough officers" to cope.

Prime Minister Theresa May has asserted that a lack of money is not the problem. But her argument - which was called into question by the Met Commissioner yesterday - was also rejected by Ms Thornton as she warned that a lack of funding and leadership was contributing to the violence.

"We need to respond as if this is a national emergency, bringing people into Cobra, getting the right people around the table, a senior minister holding all the departments and agencies to account for what they are doing to reduce serious violence," Ms Thornton told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

(7th April 2019)


SAJID JAVID VOWS TO TREAT KNIFE CRIME "LIKE A DISEASE" AFTER MEETING TOP COPS
(Metro, dated 6th March 2019 author Zoe Drewett)

Full article [Option 1]:

https://metro.co.uk/2019/03/06/sajid-javid-vows-treat-knife-crime-like-disease-meeting-top-cops-8835508/

Sajid Javid has called for knife crime to be treated 'like a disease' as he met with Britain's top police chiefs to find a way to tackle violent crime.

The Home Secretary said he will do 'everything I can' to make sure forces get the resources they need after a spate of fatal teen stabbings prompted debate about police cuts.

Speaking after his meeting with officers from the seven forces most affected by violent crime, he said: 'I want serious violence to be treated by all parts of government, all parts of the public sector, like a disease.'

The home secretary said he wanted a 'legal duty' on government departments to help prevent serious violence as Theresa May announced she would host a summit 'in the coming days' to tackle knife crime.

Both police funding and stop-and-search powers were discussed in today's meeting, Javid said.

'I think police resources are very important to deal with this,' he said.

'We've got to do everything we can. I'm absolutely committed to working with the police in doing this.

'We have to listen to them when they talk about resources.'

He added: 'At a time like this to build more confidence to bear down on serious violence.'

Chairwoman of the National Police Chiefs' Council Sara Thornton said the discussions had been 'really constructive' and 'highlighted the need for extra police officers'.

'We've agreed that by the end of the week we'll set out the scale of the investment required,' she said.

Durham's Chief Constable, Mike Barton, said he was 'heartened' by the meeting while the chief constable of Merseyside Police said the talks were 'very good'.

The deaths of 17-year-olds Jodie Chesney and Yousef Ghaleb Makki at the hands of knife attackers sparked a heated debate amid claims of a 'national knife crime emergency'.

Jodie and Yousef were the latest victims in a spate of tragic teen stabbings across the country.

In Birmingham three teenagers - two aged 16 and one 18 - died in the space of 12 days last month.

Senior officers from the Metropolitan Police, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, South Wales, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire were invited to today's meeting as the rise in violent crime as fingers are pointed at police officer numbers.

Across England and Wales there are 20,000 fewer police officers on the streets than in 2009.

Ahead of the meeting, spokespeople from a number of police bodies called for funding for more officers.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said there was 'obviously' a link between violent crime and falling police numbers and the Prime Minister insisted there was 'no direct correlation'.

(7th April 2019)


HOME SECRETARY TO MEET WITH GREATER MANCHESTER POLICE CHIEFS IN KNIFE CRIME SUMMIT
(Manchester Evening News, dated 6th March 2019 author Margaret Davis)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/uk-news/knife-crime-police-home-secretary-15928162

Home Secretary Sajid Javid will meet Greater Manchester Police chiefs amid claims of a national knife crime emergency.

A string of fatal teen stabbings have sparked a heated debate over police officer numbers in England and Wales, which have dropped by more than 20,000 since 2009.

Manchester Grammar School pupil Yousef Ghaleb Makki, aged 17, died after being stabbed in Hale Barns over the weekend.

In London 17-year-old Jodie Chesney lost her life, while in Birmingham three teenagers - two aged 16 and one 18 - died in the space of 12 days last month.

Senior officers from seven of the forces most affected by violent crime - Greater Manchester, Merseyside West Midlands, South Wales, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and the Metropolitan Police - will attend today's meeting.

Theresa May has ordered an urgent set of ministerial meetings to address action against knife crime, amid controversy over her claim that there was no direct link with cuts in police numbers.

Knife crime in Greater Manchester has more than doubled in a single year.

Latest figures from the Ministry of Justice show that, in the year ending September 2018, there were 3,139 offences recorded by the police where a knife or sharp instrument was involved.

This is an increase of 125 per cent compared to the year ending September 2017, when there were 1,395 offences recorded.

Britain's most senior police officer, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, clashed with the Prime Minister on the issue on Tuesday, insisting there is "obviously" a connection between reductions in officer numbers and street violence.

And on Wednesday Sara Thornton, chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said: "Look at the facts, there are fewer police officers doing less policing and there's more crime.".

She told the BBC: "We just haven't got the capacity, we just haven't got the officers at the moment so we need some money now to pay for overtime to pay for mutual aid between forces."

Ms Thornton said tackling knife crime should also involve "local authorities, health, education, parents and families".

"We think it needs to be treated as if it was an emergency," she said. "When you have an emergency you get all the key people around the table to solve the problem."

On Tuesday Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the military would be "ready to help" play a part in tackling knife crime.

Mr Williamson told the Press Association the armed forces and Ministry of Defence "always stands ready to help any government department".

He said they have had no requests for assistance but "would always be ready to respond".

At a Cabinet meeting on the issue of knife crime on Tuesday, Mrs May said the killings of Jodie and Yousef last week were "absolutely appalling" and told ministers her thoughts and sympathies were with the teenagers' families.

Her official spokesman said she had tasked the Home Office with co-ordinating an urgent series of Cabinet-level ministerial meetings and engagements to accelerate the work Government is doing to support local councils and police.

Mrs May said the problem would require "a whole-of-Government effort, in conjunction with the police, the wider public sector and local communities".

Meetings will take place "as soon as possible" and were being treated as "a priority" by the PM, said her spokesman.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Tuesday evening: "Since 2010, we've seen 21,000 police officers taken off our streets and 760 youth centres closed.

"We've experienced the tearing of the social fabric of our communities.

"The Prime Minister says there is no link between cuts to our police and soaring levels of violent crime.

"She needs to listen to grieving families, police chiefs across the country and her own Home Secretary, and the communities decimated by cuts.

"Young people shouldn't pay the price for austerity with their lives."

Police figures show violent crime rose by nearly a fifth in the year to September 2018, intensifying the debate over whether the increase is linked to falling officer numbers.

Sara Thornton, chairwoman of the National Police Chiefs' Council, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We need to ask ourselves why a child would take a knife to use against another child, and I think the causes are complex and we need to get the right people around the table."

On calls for a knife crime 'tsar', she said: "We think we need much stronger leadership from Government. There needs to be leadership and there needs to be more funding. Whether a tsar could do that, I don't know."

She said "it doesn't appear anybody is really being held to account for delivering" the Government's Serious Violence Strategy.

Ms Thornton added that controversial stop and search is "a significant tactic" "based on intelligence and information".

(7th April 2019)


PM UNDER PRESSURE OVER STABBINGS, POLICE BOSS BLAMES LOWER STAFF
(Reuters, dated 5th March 2019 authors Andrew MacAskill, Joe Green, Andrew Cawthorne)

Full article [Option 1]:

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-crime-may-idUKKCN1QM1BO

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May came under pressure to increase police spending on Tuesday after a backlash over government handling of rising knife crime and her denial that funding squeezes were a cause.

A wave of fatal stabbings has dominated headlines this week, displacing concerns about Britain's divorce from the European Union and fuelling criticism that May is neglecting other priorities during the interminable Brexit saga.

Britain's most senior policeman contradicted her assertion there was no link between street violence and police numbers.

"In the last few years, police officer numbers have gone down a lot, there's been a lot of cuts in other public services, there's been more demand for policing, and therefore there must be some link," said London's Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick.

"There is some link between violent crime on the streets, obviously, and police numbers, of course there is, and I think everybody would see that," she told LBC radio.

The issue shot up the political agenda after two teenagers were stabbed over the weekend, bringing the number of people killed by knives this year to at least 24.

Britain saw 285 knife and sharp instrument homicides in the year ending March 2018, the highest since records began in 1946.

PARK AND VILLAGE ATTACKS

The rate of stabbings in Britain is broadly in line with the United States when adjusted for population sizes. But there is less gun violence in Britain, which has strict control laws.

In the latest deaths, a teenage girl was fatally stabbed in the back in a park near London in what her family said was an unprovoked attack, while a 17-year-old boy was stabbed in an affluent village near Manchester while visiting a friend.

Police attribute the trend to various factors from gang rivalries and youth services' cuts to provocations on social media. Many have occurred in poor areas of the capital London.

Police have suffered big staffing and funding squeezes under austerity measures by May's government, particularly during her tenure as home secretary before she took the top job.

Speaking on Monday, she promised to tackle the root causes but insisted it was not a question of resources. "If you look at the figures, what you see is there is no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers," she said.

The opposition Labour party called the stabbing deaths a national tragedy and accused May of lack of leadership.

John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales which represents low-ranking officers, accused the prime minister of being delusional.

"I am really staggered beyond belief that the leader of this country has got her head so firmly stuck in the sand that she is not seeing the reality in front of her. It really is a very, very bad situation," he said.

(7th April 2019)


MET POLICE CHIEF SAYS RISING VIOLENT CRIME AND OFFICER CUTS ARE LINKED
(Guardian, dated 5th March 2019 author Ben Quinn)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/mar/05/met-police-chief-cressida-dick-violent-knife-crime-officer-cuts-linked

Britain's most senior police officer has contradicted Theresa May's claim that police cuts were not to blame for a rise in violent crime, as a renewed political focus fell on knife crime after two fatal stabbings of teenagers.

Cressida Dick said there was "some link" between violent crime on the streets and police numbers. The Metropolitan police commissioner was speaking on Tuesday after the prime minister sparked a backlash over the government's handling of rising knife crime. May said there was "no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers" amid new evidence of a significant rise in teenagers using knives.

Dick said in an interview on LBC radio: "If you went back in history, you would see examples of when police officer numbers have gone down and crime has not necessarily risen at the same rate and in the same way.

"But I think that what we all agree on is that in the last few years police officer numbers have gone down a lot, there's been a lot of other cuts in public services, there has been more demand for policing and therefore there must be something and I have consistently said that."

The fatal stabbings of Jodie Chesney in an east London park on Friday night and Yousef Makki last week were discussed at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, where May told ministers that their deaths were "a stark reminder that there is more to do to tackle violence on our streets".

May tasked the Home Office with coordinating an urgent series of cabinet-level ministerial meetings and engagements to accelerate the work the government is doing in support of local councils and police, according to her spokesman.

Meetings will take place "as soon as possible" and were being treated as "a priority" by the prime minister, he added.

May also came under fire from the body that represents rank-and-file officers, which described her as "delusional". John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said the stabbing deaths were "the true cost of austerity we warned of but were ridiculed for doing so".

Mark Burns-Williamson, the chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said cuts to police numbers nationwide and cuts to youth services had created "a toxic mix".

There was also a call by Dick's predecessor at Scotland Yard, Bernard Hogan-Howe, for 20,000 officers to be recruited to bring forces in England and Wales back to their 2010 strength as he demanded that ministers "get a grip on the crisis".

Several MPs, including a former Home Office minister, have called for the government to convene a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee to respond to what the Birmingham Yardley Labour MP Jess Phillips described as a "national emergency".

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, will chair a meeting of police chiefs on Wednesday that will bring together chief constables from the areas most affected by knife crime.

The prime minister was also accused by the mayor of London of crying "crocodile tears" over rates of knife crime.

Sadiq Khan blamed soaring levels of knife crime in the capital on police cuts, as well as cuts to youth and mental health services and schools.

Speaking to Sky News, he said: "We need much more resources from the government to invest in preventative services and policing. We have fewer police in London now in 2019 than at any time since 2003 - our population has grown by a million and a half since 2003.

"Also when it comes to youth services, over the last eight years, dozens and dozens of youth centres have closed down, hundreds of youth workers have lost their jobs, thousands of young people who used to have youth centres to go to [now] haven't."

Khan added: "We are doing our best to fill this hole, by ourselves though we can't do it … Of course there's a link between the number of police officers and crime going up, the Home Office themselves accept this.

"I'm not excusing criminality but there are complex reasons why violent crime has gone up, there are deep-seated social problems."

He listed lack of opportunity, poverty, social alienation and mental health issues as some of the factors that have been exacerbated by cuts to services.

Dick, in the same interview on Tuesday, also suggested that middle class recreational drug users have "blood on their hands" over the recent spate of violent deaths.

(7th April 2019)


THE NUMBER OF UNDER-18s USING KNIVES TO KILL RISES BY 75% IN THREE YEARS
(Independent, dated 4th March 2019 author Joe Gammie)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/children-stab-murder-homicide-knife-crime-dispatches-a8806136.html

The number of children and young people who have used knives to kill has risen by more than 75 per cent over three years, an investigation has indicated.

There were 26 under-18s who committed homicides using a knife or sharp instrument in 2016 - rising to 46 in 2018, Channel 4's Dispatches found.

The analysis was based on responses to Freedom of Information requests from 29 out of 43 police forces.

During this period, the number of under-18s committing rape and sexual assault with a knife rose from 24 to 33. Robbery with a knife increased from 656 to 999.

Dispatches also found there was a 93 per cent rise in the number of children aged 16 and under being treated for stab wounds in England.

An analysis of NHS Digital data by the programme found the number of children aged 16 and under being treated for assaults by sharp objects rose from 180 to 347 between 2012-13 and 2017-18.

The research showed that 76 people were reportedly stabbed to death in the capital out of 306 across the UK as a whole last year, including 23 children.

The programme, Britain's Knife Crisis: Young, Armed And Dangerous, is fronted by former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe and aired on Monday.

Lord Hogan-Howe, who retired in 2017, said: "One of the big challenges underpinning is the reality that for too many young people, particularly in our big cities, carrying a knife now feels normal."

He called for the appointment of a new "knife crime tsar" to "get a grip on the crisis".

He said: "It's important to focus attention on the exploitation of children in socially deprived areas.

"We need to increase police numbers in these areas and reduce the drug supply into the UK and its distribution including by county lines - something law enforcement and government have failed to do.

"I just don't see anybody getting a grip of this crisis. The government needs to appoint somebody who is going to lead it day after day.

"Call it a 'knife crime tsar' if you like, but somebody who is going to make sure we get knives off the street and save lives."

Lord Hogan-Howe also called for increased interception of Class A drugs and police numbers to rise to 20,000. He also recommended a focus on technology and building trust in local communities to reduce knife crime.

Policing minister Nick Hurd told the programme an extra £460m was being invested in the police system this year, which will be used to recruit at least 2,500 more officers.

He added: "This is a massive challenge for our policing system and therefore a big priority for me as policing minister to make sure that our police system has the resources to invest in upgrading our technology.

"One of the big challenges underpinning is the reality that for too many young people, particularly in our big cities, carrying a knife now feels normal."

The show also used undercover filming to capture a 17-year-old girl being allowed to buy the knives in Asda and B&M without being challenged on her age or asked for ID.

It is illegal to sell a knife with a blade longer than three inches to anyone under 18 but experts say girls are used by gangs to buy them, the programme said.

B&M, which was fined £480,000 in September last year for selling knives to under-age children, told Dispatches it takes "every precaution to prevent the sale of knives to under-age shoppers".

The company said the checkout worker filmed by the show had received training in the previous 12 months and had therefore been suspended pending disciplinary action and further training.

It added: "We have had 104 test purchases in the last 12 months by Trading Standards for age-restricted products, with a 100% pass rate."

Asda told Dispatches it took its "responsibility as a retailer very seriously", had "strict processes" around knife sales and regularly trained staff on its policy.

It added: "On this occasion we got it wrong and have conducted a full investigation into what happened."

(7th April 2019)


MINISTERS HAVE "LOST GRIP" ON NATIONAL CRISIS' OVER KNIFE CRIME, LORD HOGAN-HOWE SAYS
(Telegraph, dated 4th March 2019 author Charles Hymas)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/03/04/ministers-have-lost-grip-national-crisis-knife-crime-lord-hogan/

uware note : This article also includes a map image that shows the names of other tragic victims.

Ministers have failed to get a grip on the national knife crime crisis, former Met Police Commissoner Lord Hogan-Howe warned today.

After a weekend in which two innocent 17-year-olds were stabbed to death, he said ministers needed to appoint a "leader" who would focus day-to-day on reversing the highest rate of knife crime attacks and killings on record.

Citing the £1 billion about to be invested in boosting police numbers which have fallen by 22,000 since 2010, he said: "It's perfectly right for the Home Office, the Government to ask what are you going to do with that money.

"You want to know day by day what is going to be delivered. I don't get that sense of grip.

"What [the Government] has not got is a catalyst to pull it together. It needs a leader who will say day after day, what are the police doing, what are the other agencies doing, how can we get the charities to work together.

"If it's not treated as a crisis, it will take another two years before we see action."

Lord Hogan-Howe believed the £1 billion could pay for an extra 22,000 officers, to replace those lost since 2010, but ministers were leaving policing decisions to the 43 forces.

"If you really want cops, make sure it's spent on cops," he said. "If it was my money, I would want to know week after week when are you recruiting, when do they arrive, when do they hit the streets and when they hit the streets, what are you going to do with them?"

In the killings at the weekend, Yousef Makki, 17, a talented public schoolboy who dreamed of being a heart surgeon, was stabbed to death in Manchester, just hours after Jodie Chesney, also 17, was killed in an unprovoked attack in her local park on the outskirts of London.

The scale of the crisis has prompted Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, to call a meeting with police chiefs this week as he warned such "senseless" violence could not go on.

A new analysis of NHS data suggests there has been a 93 per cent rise in the number of children being treated for wounds caused by knives or other sharp objects over the past five years.

Lord Hogan-Howe said one of the factors in the surge in knife crime was a bumper cocaine crop from Colombia which had seen the price of the drug fall in the UK, which had led to increased violence among gangs fighting over the market.

A second factor, he said, was too many people carrying knives. "It looks like there are more people who are worried to be caught without a knife than they are to be caught with one," he said.

"It is a false logic. If you carry a knife a fight can turn into a lethal event. If a knife is taken from you, and they are stronger and quicker than you, you have a real problem. I would say to young people: 'Don't do it, find another way.'"

He said that current technology to detect knives was "in the dark ages", comprising just "wands and arches".

He called for a stepchange in research by the Home Office's one-time scientific branch, now part of the Ministry of Defence, to develop technology and behaviour science.

Police and agencies also needed to find a way of improving links into communities to encourage them to identify knife carriers. "People know who are carrying knives," he said. "I would argue their mothers know, their brothers, their friends.

"The problem is whether they will tell the police who has got them. We have to get cleverer ways of linking with young people that explains how to resolve that dilemma."

He said knife crime was now a national crisis, affecting across the UK. "The most obvious correlation is with deprivation. In some parts of our communities race is the equivalent correlation," he added.

(7th April 2019)


KNIFE ATTACKS ON TEENAGERS UP BY 93% IN FIVE YEARS, FIGURES SHOW
(Guardian, dated 4th March 2019 author Vikram Dodd)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/mar/04/knife-attacks-teenagers-figures-east-london-manchester

Two families were left reeling by the loss of their teenage children over the weekend in stabbing attacks as new figures showed a 93% increase in the number of young people targeted by knives.

Police said Jodie Chesney, 17, a dedicated Scout, suffered a single stab wound to the back inflicted by a suspected teenage attacker who struck without saying a word as she sat in a park socialising with friends.

Jodie died on Friday evening at around 9.25pm in St Neot's Road in Harold Hill, Romford. She died one hour after the unprovoked attack.

Meanwhile in the affluent area of Hale Barns near Altrincham, police named a teenager murdered on Saturday evening as Yousef Ghaleb Makki, 17, from Burnage in Manchester, a pupil at Manchester Grammar school.

Two boys aged 17 remain in custody after being arrested on suspicion of murder. The murder is not believed to be related to gang activity or organised crime.

Det Supt Phil Reade said: "Yousef's family has understandably been left devastated by his death and the thoughts of the entire investigation team remain with them at this difficult time."

"We are particularly keen to speak to anyone who was walking or driving in the vicinity of Gorse Bank Road or Sunbank Lane at around 6:30pm. These people may not realise it but they could hold vital information to assist the investigation and help Yousef's family get the answers they deserve."

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, will this week chair a scheduled meeting of police chiefs to discuss knife crime. In a statement he said: "Young people are being murdered across the country and it can't go on.

"We're taking action on many fronts and I'll be meeting police chiefs this week to hear what more can be done.

An online fundraising page has been set up to help Makki's family with funeral expenses.

Tributes mention the murdered teenager's generosity. One said: "You were such a kind person with so much potential. You were taken too soon. May God bless your soul. You will be missed "

In London, the Metropolitan police on Sunday said Jodie Chesney was with five friends in the park listening to music and socialising when attacked. Witnesses can remember seeing two young men in the park who left at 9pm. The two young men and the group Jodie was with did not speak to each other, or interact.

Police said: "Around 30 minutes later the pair returned to the park and walked straight towards the group, where one of the males stabbed Jodie once in the back.

"Nothing was said by the two suspects, who ran off in the direction of Retford Road.

"The suspect who attacked Jodie is described as a black male aged in his late teens. There is no further description of him at this stage, nor is there any description of the other male."

Her boyfriend reportedly cradled Jodie after the attack.

DCI Dave Whellams, who is leading the murder hunt, urged witnesses to contact the police: "Although the description of the suspect is limited, I am certain that people will have seen the two males hanging around the park or running away from the scene - or will otherwise have noticed something suspicious. I need those people to call me."

On Sunday, Jodie's uncle, Dave Chesney, paid tribute and urged witnesses to come forward: "This was a totally random and unprovoked attack on a beautiful, lovely and quirky young girl with her whole life in front of her."

Jodie had visited Downing Street while a Scout and taken part in a televised Remembrance commemoration in November last year.

An episode of Channel 4's Dispatches, to be broadcast at 8pm on Monday and presented by the former commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Lord Hogan-Howe, claims that homicides using a knife committed by those under 18 years of age rose by 77% from 2016-2018 - from 26 to 46 incidents.

Rape and sexual offences where a knife was used by someone aged under 18 rose by 38% to a total of 46, and robbery offences where a knife was used rose by over 50%, to 999 crimes.

Data from the NHS shows in the last five years the number of children aged 16 and under being treated for assault by a knife or other sharp objects rose by 93%, from 180 admissions in 2012-13 to 347 in 2017-18.

Hogan-Howe called for tougher action against the growing drugs market and for the government to reverse police cuts that mean officer numbers are 20,000 fewer than when the Conservatives took power in 2010.

Hogan-Howe said: "It's important to focus attention on the exploitation of children in socially deprived areas. We need to increase police numbers in these areas and reduce the drug supply into the UK and its distribution including by county lines. Something law enforcement and government have failed to do."

"It is vital that we unite to stop this senseless violence."

- This article was amended on 6 March 2019. An earlier version gave figures for knife crimes committed by those under 18 years of age, as being committed by people 18 years and under. This has been corrected.

(7th April 2019)


THE GOVERNMENT DOESN'T LISTEN TO US : GANGS AND YOUTH VIOLENCE CONSULTANT
(LBC - Ian Payne, dated 3rd March 2019)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/ian-payne/government-doesnt-listen-knife-crime-awareness/

A consultant on gangs and serious youth violence issues a plea for the government to listen to campaigners after two teenagers were stabbed to death less than 24 hours apart.

Sheldon Thomas told Ian Payne that the government doesn't listen and instead "want to give you the impression they have it all under control".

"Unfortunately we've got a government that doesn't really listen to people like us.

"I've been saying that knife crime and street violence is going to get worse and the age group is going to get younger but they don't listen.

The Gangsline consultant also referred to a comments made by Watford striker Troy Deeney in an interview, where he said social media is mostly to blame for creating a "snowball effect".

Mr Thomas said: "He said that we can talk all day about interventions, but this is a societal problem."

"Most of these young men and women in this lifestyle, in this knife violence, they don't feel like a part of society.

We've got to make young people feel a part of society, that means when they leave school they've got options like a decent apprenticeship, doing construction courses like brick laying or electrical work.

All of these things needs to be in secondary school so that young people who don't want to go to university can feel a part of society that they can fit into.

"Street violence is winning because we've got no options for our kids."

(7th April 2019)


KNIFE AND GANG CRIME WARNING: "THERE'S GOING TO BE MORE DEATHS"
(Coventry Telegraph, dated 3rd March 2019 author Tom Davis)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/coventry-news-knife-crime-gangs-15909664

Action to tackle youth violence in Coventry and stop children from slipping into "the grip of gangs" should be taken as a matter of urgency, it has been warned.

Councillor David Kershaw (Lab) said the local authority and schools were not doing enough to protect young children from being groomed by gangs in the city.

His comments come as a national report warns the same mistakes that led to child sexual exploitation failings are being repeated with gangs.

Citing the report at an education and children's services scrutiny board on Thursday, he called for politicians, schools and police to work together on a solution.

"We must get more information to produce a local plan to protect these young people who are being desperately influenced by these young gangs," he said.

"At the moment we are a million miles from getting the information we need, and there's going to be more deaths if we are not careful."

Knife violence has been at the forefront of Coventry's serious crime problems.

A 16-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy were stabbed in January and February, while a schoolboy Jaydon James, 16, died after he was stabbed last November.

Fidel Glasgow, 21, was also stabbed to death outside Club M last September.

Cllr Kershaw said he personally witnessed "the grip of gangs" on school children.

He said: "I'm on a couple of secondary school governing bodies and was on a meeting with two schools to permanently exclude two youngsters. It was heartbreaking - horrible.

"This just so happens to be two young men who were in the grip of gangs - literally - being met outside of school in a posh car, taken out for meals, that's what's happening.

"What are we doing as a public service where schools and the authority did everything they could to try and avoid these two young men being groomed and couldn't do it?"

He added another student has recently been stabbed after walking down a road and refusing to carry drugs.

"We have a matter of urgency in Coventry to do something about this," he added.

Councillors agreed to hold a scrutiny meeting specifically on a report from the Children's Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, which was published on Thursday.

It highlighted the scale of England's gang problems, estimating there are 27,000 children in the country who identify as a gang member.

It added early-warning signs of gang-based violence include permanent exclusions in schools, which rose by 67 per cent in England between 2012/13 and 2016/17.

In Coventry, new figures from the council show permanent exclusions in secondary schools has risen from 27 in 2015/16 to 52 in 2017/18.

However, Kirston Nelson, director of education, said this didn't include children who were 'technically not excluded' but moved to another school via a "managed moves" system.

Taking these figures into account, permanent exclusions and moves have dropped from 99 in 2015/16 to 52 in 2017/18, she said.

Cabinet member for education, Cllr Kevin Maton said it was important to put the figures into context of a total of 57,000 school children in the city.

But he admitted children who are excluded are "more vulnerable" to becoming involved in gang violence.

Work is in place in Coventry to reduce exclusions via the supported transfer system, while a new programme is also being developed for primary schools, he said. 

"There is a whole programme being developed by the Positive Youth Foundation," he added.

"Part of what they are saying is they are taking young people who were gang members to talk to youngsters about the world they could end up in.

"From a schools perspective we know that all of our schools are signed up to it."

n response to Ms Longfield's report, a government spokesman said they are cracking down on the "ruthless gangs" that exploit vulnerable children.

She added: "We have proposed a new statutory duty on partners across education, social services and health to work together to tackle violence as part of a public health approach, and are providing £220m to support children and young people at risk of becoming involved in violence and gangs."

(7th April 2019)


HOW DO WE KNOW HOW MANY CHILDREN ARE IN GANGS ?
(BBC News, dated 28th February 2019 authors Ben Butcher and Rachel Schraer)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-47388890?__twitter_impression=true

Gang activity often takes place under the radar of the authorities, and even defining what counts as a gang is not straightforward.

A report has estimated there are 27,000 children in gangs, as the Children's Commissioner for England Anne Longfield calls on professionals to "learn from the mistakes of child sexual exploitation" and treat children as victims not perpetrators.

So how did they reach this figure?

Each year, the Office for National Statistics runs a crime survey asking a representative sample of households about their experience of crime. For the past three years, it has asked children aged 10 to 15 whether they considered themselves to be a member of a street gang.

The Office of the Children's Commissioner in England did its own calculation using these figures.

Last year, of a sample of about 4,000 children, 0.7% (about 30 children) said they considered themselves to be in a street gang.

This figure was scaled up to give the estimated 27,000 figure for the whole population of England for a single year.

Children in England who are members of gangs or have connections with them
(Source : Children's Commissioner for England / British Crime Survey)

- 313,000 know a gang member
- 60,000 gang members or siblings of gang members
- 27,000 gang member
- 6,50 identified gang members

That's an estimate, but the report gives another much lower figure of 6,560 children actually known by youth offending teams or children's services to be involved in gangs.

Ms Longfield's report concludes that the difference between the higher and lower figure is down to the fact that most gang members are not known to authorities.

We do not know that for sure though - it is certainly likely that there is a group of young people involved with gangs who are not known to the authorities, but we cannot be sure as many as 27,000 children are in gangs.

Since these figures come from a bespoke analysis, comparable individual figures for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not available.

When it comes to gang violence and criminal activity, there is no national data.

But in London, the Metropolitan Police holds a database known as the Gangs Matrix, containing names of between 3-4,000 "persons of interest" at any one time.

The database has been criticised for disproportionately targeting young black men who might not have links to violent crime.

Last year the Met said that all its officers were "highly-trained and experienced in working with, and recognising the signs of, gang affiliation and gang membership".

"By identifying high-harm gang members and targeting them through intelligence-led enforcement, the number of violent offences committed by gang members has been reduced," a Met spokesperson said.

The Met also "tags" violent crimes as gang-related if it believes it has enough intelligence to do so.

In 2017, the last time it published estimates, one in every 500 violent crimes recorded by the Met Police was tagged as gang-related. Since 2010, 15% of homicides in the capital have been linked to gangs.

Knife offences resulting in caution or conviction (Source : Ministry for Justice)

Knife offences by age group, England and Wales, year ending Septembe

n = 18 years and over; [n] = 10 to 17 year olds

2008 : 21,800 [6,900]
2009 : 20,800 [5,700]
2010 : 17,700 [4,200]
2011 : 17,200 [3,900]
2012 : 15,200 [3,300]
2013 : 13,800 [2,600]
2014 : 13,500 [2,800]
2015 : 13,900 [3,500]
2016 : 15,200 [3,950]
2017 : 16,100 [4,500]
2018 : 17,000 [4,500]

Almost 21% of 21,380 knife possession offences last year were committed by 10 to 17-year-olds.

Since 2014, the number of knife possession offences committed by 10 to 17-year-olds has increased by 70%.

Hospital admissions for assault with a sharp object for 18-year-olds and under have also increased by 70% since the year to March 2014, reaching 813 last year.

Hospital admissions for assault by shap instrument (Source : NHS Digital)
England, year ending March

n = 16 years and under ; [n] = 16 to 18 year olds

2011 : 155 [570]
2012 : 155 [480]
2013 : 98 [395]
2014 : 102 [375]
2015 : 110 [340]
2016 : 150 [430]
2017 : 165 [525]
2018 : 167 [650]

This data shows the problem is increasing, but it does not tell how many children are carrying knives in total.

Last year, 0.6% of 10 to 15-year-olds said they had personally carried a knife and and 5.7% knew someone who had, according to the ONS's crime survey.

This does not tell us whether they are carrying weapons for gang-related reasons, though.
In schools

Knife carrying also appears to be increasing in schools.

Data from 21 police forces in England and Wales obtained through a Freedom of Information request showed 363 sharp instruments were found on school property in 2017-18.

This is an increase from 94 in 2013-14.

Number of knifes found at schools

Number of knife or sharp instument possession offences on school premises, England and Wales

2014 : 90
2015 : 160
2016 : 240
2017 : 325
2018 : 365

Number is for 21 police forces who supplied information for relevant period. There are 43 forces in England and Wales. Source : Freedom of Information Request

The report said children who say they are involved in street gangs were more likely to have been excluded from school.

Research by centre-left think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) also suggests that children who have been excluded from school are more likely to enter the criminal justice system.

The Children's Commissioner's report points out there are multiple risk factors associated with children becoming involved with gangs.

The report says that children in gangs who are known to children's services are more likely than others in the system (already a vulnerable group) to have mental health problems, special educational needs and to come from homes where there is domestic violence or substance misuse.

Children who have been in gangs and are now in the criminal justice system are 76% more likely than other young offenders to have not been having their basic care needs met at home, according to professional assessments.

Drugs

The rise of County Lines has also increased concerns of children being pulled into, and exploited by, drug gangs.

County Lines involve city-based drug gangs expanding their drug dealing into smaller towns and rural areas, with violence often being involved to protect the routes.

The National Crime Agency estimates that the number of dedicated phone lines dedicated to taking orders from users increased from about 720 to 2,000 between 2017 and 2018.

Individuals, often vulnerable people susceptible to exploitation, will then take the drugs from the base to consumers.

Two-thirds of police forces link County Lines to child exploitation by gangs.

Given the illicit nature of the operations, total involvement is difficult to capture but the majority of referrals received by the National Crime Agency concern 15 to 17-year-olds.

(7th April 2019)


The following articles have been copied from previous months and years. The date at the end of each article is the date it first appeared on this website.


TERRIFYING CATALOGUE OF ALL THE KNIVES SEIZED FROM CAPITAL'S STREETS THIS YEAR
(Mirror, dated 23rd January 2019 author Bradley Jolly)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/terrifying-catalogue-knives-seized-london-13897115

Scotland Yard continues to tackle the horrific knife crime epidemic which plagued London, and other large cities, in 2018.

And in just two weeks, the force has seized a shocking number of weapons - including a machete and a hunting knife.

It has tweeted almost 50 pictures of the confiscated knives, used in robberies, left in bushes and gathered in stop and searches.

One terrifying image, shared by the Metropolitan Police, shows a crook's attempt to conceal a razor-sharp knife in a plastic shopping bag.

Officers also discovered a discarded weapon lying by a walkway on an estate in Tottenham, north London.

Meanwhile, a machete, at least 25 inches long, was recovered following a moped chase in Catford, southeast London.

Other large blades were seized from children as young as 15 over a two-week period.

In one incident in Camden, north London, three knives were taken from the same thug after he decided to use a meat cleaver as a weapon.

And a sickening picture tweeted by police in Islington shows a 20-inch sword a suspect was allegedly carrying along with several bags of cannabis.

Affluent areas like Notting Hill and Highgate - home to celebrities including Kate Moss and Jude Law - aren't free from those who choose to carry blades either.

One was unearthed on a Highgate street, while officers attending a disturbance in upper-class Notting Hill allegedly took a kitchen knife, baseball bat and a rolling pin from a group of three men.

And according to Kensington and Chelsea Police's Twitter account, a Batman-shaped knuckle duster was discovered on an estate during a stop and search for driving offences.

Last year was one of the worst in recent years for murders in London.

Figures show the number of people killed hit a 10-year high with more than a fifth of victims teenagers or children.

The 134 homicides recorded by the Metropolitan Police included 24 where the victims were aged 19 or under.

Of those, 18 were stabbed, five were shot and one woman was killed by a head injury.

It was London's highest homicide total since 2008, which saw 154 people killed, and a 15 per cent rise year-on-year.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick had recently named street violence as her "number one priority" and acknowledged that 2018 was "challenging".

Knife crime campaigners have welcomed the ongoing work to remove weapons and praised police for putting the images on their Twitter accounts.

Patrick Green, of the charity Ben Kinsella Trust, said: "It's really important to take knives off the streets.

"Some of the work the Metropolitan Police have been doing extends beyond stop and search - we know that they are now doing sweeps of parks and public areas.

"That's really an important piece of work for us because we know that habitual knife carriers who are fearful of being stopped will place knives in locations so they can go to that location and retrieve them so the work being done by the police there is really welcomed.

"We have also seen that they are doing a lot of those searches in conjunction with members of the public or community groups so there is a sense of helping other members of the community support to them in their work.

"That's good because local people have a lot of intelligence about where things might be hidden.

"Targeted use of stop and search done in an intelligence led way we are happy with - it's an important police tactic.

"We are really pleased to see the police take a proactive stance however as good as the measures the police take are, they will not on their own solve the knife crime problem.

"Part of the issue we have got to address is the step before someone carries a knife.

"Preventative work and early intervention is as important as everything the police do."

Dr Mark Prince runs the The Kiyan Prince Foundation, which works with young people to end violence.

His son Kiyan, 15, was stabbed to death on May 18, 2006, receiving a single lethal knife wound as he intervened to stop the bullying of another teen.

Dr Prince said: "Work like this does make a difference because every area has to be responsible for the part that they play and for enforcing the law.

"You could have been on the way to using that knife and because you've been caught you've saved a life, so there is sense behind the enforcement and we need that.

"It's collective - everybody needs to be doing their part."

MP Stephen Timms, who was stabbed at one of his constituency surgeries in May 2010, added: "I'm pleased the Met is putting so much emphasis on confiscating knives.

"But we also need to stop people getting them in the first place. That means tackling the online platforms which supply them."

(1st February 2019)


LONDON KILLINGS IN 2018 : HOW HOMICIDES IN THE CAPITAL ROSE TO A DECADE HIGH
(Guardian, dated 14th January 2019 authors Paul Torpey, Pablo Gutierrez and Cath Levett)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/cities/ng-interactive/2019/jan/14/london-killings-2018-homicides-capital-highest-decade-murders

uaware note : The original article provides names of the victims and London borough where their life was taken.

Last year 135 people were murdered or unlawfully killed in London - the highest total since 2008. Many of the victims were teenagers or in their twenties and most were stabbed.

Of the 132 victims of homicide in London last year for whom data is available, 76 were stabbed, 15 were shot and 41 were killed by other means. Every borough bar Harrow, Sutton and Bexley saw at least one killing.

A deadly year

News of several fatal stabbings in London over New Year's Eve 2017 foreshadowed the year to come. A high rate of killings was evident throughout the first half of 2018 with March the single deadliest month. Two teenagers were shot and killed on consecutive days in early April; the deaths of 17-year-old Tanesha Melbourne-Blake in Tottenham and 16-year-old Amaan Shakoor in Walthamstow heightened a sense of crisis.

In September the homicide toll hit 100 at the earliest point of the year since 2008. The tally then became the highest overall for a decade in mid-December when the 2009 figure of 130 was surpassed.

Young male victims predominate

More than two-fifths of all people killed in London in 2018 were men aged under 30. These deaths were heavily concentrated in the 15-24 age group. Five teenagers died in both February and April, when two of the dead were women aged 17 and 18. Overall, there were almost three male victims of homicide for every woman killed. Female victims were more evenly distributed throughout the age groups and more likely to die by means other than stabbing or shooting, including domestic abuse.

Most homicides are stabbings

Those killed under the age of 30 were predominantly stabbed to death and all but three of last year's fatal shootings also involved victims in this age group. Surgeons have spoken of how horrific gun and knife injuries are now commonplace. The high number of deadly stabbings is reflected nationally, with 2018 the fourth worst year on record for knife deaths among under-20s in England and Wales.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has faced criticism for the high number of deaths. Middle-class cocaine use fuelling drug-related gang violence, cuts to police budgets and the normalisation of carrying knives for personal security and status have all been blamed. Khan has announced a number of initiatives including a £45m fund for educational and cultural projects to steer young people away from crime, as well as an attempt to replicate a successful Scottish approach that treated violence in Glasgow as a public health issue.

With 2019 off to a similarly lethal start, pressure to reduce the number of killings is unlikely to relent. Two people were stabbed to death in the early hours of New Year's Day and on 8 January 14-year-old Jayden Moodie was hit by a car and stabbed in Leyton.

Data sources: Metropolitan police, Murdermap and Guardian research. The Met's current total for homicides in London in 2018 is 135 but the force does not habitually provide an itemised list.

Murdermap weebsite : www.murdermap.co.uk/investigate.asp

(10th February 2019)


FORTY KNIFE OFFENCES EVERY DAY AS FIGURES REVEAL SCALE OF CHALLENGE FACING MET
(London Evening Standard, dated 24th January 2019 author Martin Bentham)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/40-knife-crimes-in-london-every-day-official-figures-show-a4047621.html

Knife crime in London remains at near record levels with more than 40 blade offences committed every day, official figures revealed today.

The Office for National Statistics said a total of 14,847 knife offences was recorded in the capital during the 12 months to the end of September last year.

The tally - which included 83 knife killings and 161 rapes or sexual assaults carried out with a blade - is 140 fewer than the all-time high of 14,987 registered in the previous rolling annual statistics released three months ago.

But it is still one of the largest 12 month totals ever in the capital. It also amounts to an increase of more than 50 per cent since 2015.

Today's statistics highlight the challenge faced by the Met as it strives to reduce knife crime through a concerted campaign which has involved the increased use of stop and search, weapons sweeps and other tactics designed to deter and catch those carrying blades.

They came as national figures painted a similarly bleak picture with knife offending across England and Wales rising to its highest total since 2011 with an 8 per cent increase in such crimes recorded during the year to the end of September.

The nationwide statistics - which are significantly influenced by trends in London - also show a 15 per cent rise in admissions to hospital with knife injuries, a 14 per cent increase in homicides, and a 17 per cent leap in the number of robberies.

The figures for the capital will, however, add to concerns about the extent of street violence, often fuelled by the drug trade and gang conflict, and the deaths and injuries that are occurring as a result.

They show that on overall knife offending, today's 12 month total of 14,847 knife crimes is 8 per cent up on the equivalent total a year earlier and far higher than many of the annual total recorded by the Office for National Statistics over the past decade.

Figure released by the statisticians show, for example, that in the year to the end of March 2015 a comparatively low total of 9,684 offences was recorded. The tally for the following 12 months was also below 10,000, while the only previous occasion before this year that the year total topped 14,000 was in 2012.

Meanwhile, on knife killings, today's figures show that the latest total of 83 is virtually identical to the 82 a year earlier, but significantly down on the 110 recorded in the year to the end of March 2018.

It is, however, much higher than the knife homicide totals for much of the previous decade, with most years showing totals between 50 and 60 such killings.

In response, Mayor Sadiq Khan said that the causes of violent crime were "extremely complex and deep-seated" and fuelled by problems such as "poverty, inequality, social alienation and a lack of opportunities for young people" which had been worsened by government funding cuts.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said today's figures showed the challenges that London was facing and that recent investment from City Hall would allow police to devote more officers to tackling violent crime.

(1st February 2019)


WE ARE TURNING THE TIDE AGAINT VIOLENT CRIME IN LONDON, SAYS MET CHIEF
(Guardian, dated 4th December 2018 author Vikram Dodd)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/dec/04/we-are-turning-tide-against-violent-crime-in-london-says-met-chief

The Metropolitan police commissioner, Cressida Dick, has said her force has turned the tide against rising violent crime in London.

She claimed there had been large reductions in the stabbings of young people aged under 25 compared with last year and said that in order to cement the improvements, officers who had been moved across from traffic duty to tackle violent crime would not be going back.

Dick told LBC radio on Tuesday: "I think we are beginning to see the tide turning in that we are putting more officers on the streets, we're doing more stop and search, we're seizing more knives, we're seizing more firearms, we're seizing more offensive weapons, we're arresting more people for knife and gun crime.

"And we're beginning to see, after three years of knife crime increasing, gun crime increasing, they're now not just levelling off but beginning to come down."

"I think that is through greater enforcement, fantastic work by my officers. That will begin to suppress and turn the tide."

The commissioner said in November that violent crime had plateaued, which was followed by a spate of killings. On Tuesday Dick said: "I am now saying it is beginning to come down. In terms of knife crime under 25 … there is a definite downturn … knife crime itself is stabilising and beginning to come down."

The Met released new figures on Tuesday morning backing up the commissioner's claims.

Moving 122 traffic officers across to join the violent crime taskforce had paid off, the Met said: "The [traffic] officers joined the taskforce from September 2018, enabling the team to have a greater presence in areas with higher levels of violent crime as well as allowing more intelligence-led, targeted stop and search and the use of covert tactics.

"Since their attachment in September, they have contributed to a 31% (176) reduction in victims of knife crime with injury [under 25s] compared to September, October and November the previous year. This is part of a 12-month trend which has seen an overall 13% decrease", which translates to 287 fewer victims.

The Met area, covering virtually all of London, had a large number of homicides in February and March, prompting the setting up of the violent crime taskforce and much greater resources being put in to tackle gun and knife crime.

The homicide rate for 2018 will be above the 123 who died in the capital last year, standing currently at 127 with three weeks of the calendar year to go.

The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, has said it could take a decade to tackle the long-term causes of violent crime. Dick said: "To stop five-, six-, seven-, eight-, nine-, 10-, 11-year-olds being dragged into criminal gangs and becoming gangsters themselves is a big, big project. It may take a long time.

"We've got about 180 gangs in London. They're quite entrenched, many of them, and they're busy bringing children in, so you have to take a long-term approach."

The London mayor has set up a violence reduction unit to tackle the long term causes. It is unclear why violence increased, though a multiplicity of factors are suspected, including victims being involved in drugs, gangs, the effects of austerity on police numbers and reductions in youth services because of funding cuts.

(1st January 2019)


TWO IN THREE KNIFE CRIME OFFENDERS BEING SPARED JAIL AS OFFENCES HIT EIGHT-YEAR HIGH - MoJ FIGURES SHOW
(Telegraph, dated 13th December 2018 author Charles Hymas)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/12/13/two-three-knife-crime-offenders-spared-jail-offences-hit-eight/

Two thirds of knife crime offenders are escaping jail as the number of offences has hit an eight-year high, Ministry of Justice figures reveal.

One in five (18%) repeat knife offenders are escaping prison despite "two strikes and out" laws requiring minimum six month sentences. A further 19%  escaped immediate custody by getting a suspended sentence.

The figures show a huge increase in the numbers of repeat offenders as more and more young people turn to knives to protect themselves.

The number of offenders who had one or more previous knife or offensive weapons offences has risen by 44.5% since 2014, from 3,769 to 5,449 in the year to September 2018.

The proportion of first time offenders (72%) is now at its lowest level on record, having been steadily falling since September 2009.

Harry Fletcher, founder of the Victims' Rights Campaign, said: "This is an example of the courts being pressurised not to impose short custodial sentences because prisons are so overcrowded and dangerous places to be.

"This does not inspire the confidence of victims. The solution is to clean up prisons and increase capacity, not put the public at risk."

Justice minister Rory Stewart said more knife offenders were being caught and prosecuted but admitted "we must do more."

He added: "Knife crime has devastating consequences on families, children and communities - offenders simply cannot go unpunished."

There were 21,381 knife and offensive weapons offences this year, the highest since September 2010.

Only 36% resulted in immediate custody, with the remainder receiving cautions, community sentences, fines, suspended sentences or discharges. This was, however, up from 23% in the year ending September 2009.

Anyone caught with a knife for a second time should automatically receive a six month jail sentence under section 28 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.

Although the number being spared jail has fallen from 35% in the year ending September 2014, there are still 18% receiving non-custodial punishments.

There is increasing evidence of offenders carrying knives rather than other weapons. Just under two thirds (63%) of all knife and offensive weapon offences are now possession of blade or point offences, compared with just half (51%) in the year ending September 2009.

(1st January 2019)


NUMBER OF BANNED KNIVES SEIZED AT UK BORDERS DOUBLES
(Guardian, dated 28th December 2018 author Press Association)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/dec/28/number-of-banned-knives-seized-at-uk-borders-doubles

The number of knives seized by Border Force has more than doubled in a year, official figures show.

Officers seized 7,668 bladed items at the UK's borders in the year to September, compared with 3,800 in the previous 12 months.

Border Force also registered an increase in the number of other "offensive weapons" it seized, which rose by 61% from 4,056 to 6,534.

The combined haul of 14,202 was almost double the 7,856 knives and weapons confiscated by the agency in the year before. The figures cover seizures made at all points of entry into the UK.

Detailed breakdowns were not published, but the Home Office said the majority of knives and offensive weapons were confiscated in postal, fast parcel and freight modes. It is an offence to import certain weapons into the UK.

Items subject to the restrictions include butterfly, zombie and "stealth" knives, samurai swords with curved blades over 50cm in length, knuckle-dusters and batons.

Some organisations are allowed to import and hold restricted items for specified purposes, such as police forces importing batons and truncheons.

Allowances are also made for theatrical performances, films and TV productions.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "Tackling the illegal smuggling of offensive weapons is a priority for Border Force.

"Last year (October 2017 to September 2018), officers prevented more than 14,000 knives and other offensive weapons and over 3,000 firearms reaching the streets of the UK.

"We work closely with intelligence colleagues, as well as other law enforcement agencies, to ensure that frontline work is focused on the areas of highest risk and emerging trends are quickly identified.

"Where possible offences are identified, we will not hesitate to pass on information to assist police forces or the National Crime Agency."

The findings come amid concern over serious violent crime, and knife crime in particular.

London has been particularly badly hit by an increase in violent crime, while national figures show forces in England and Wales have registered a jump in recorded homicides and offences involving a knife or sharp object.

Ministers have announced a number of measures designed to counter the rise in violent crime.

The offensive weapons bill includes a proposed ban on delivering potentially dangerous bladed items to a buyer's home, following warnings that age-verification checks can be sidestepped online.

(1st January 2019)


LONDON MURDER RATE FOR 2018 IS HIGHEST IN A CALENDER YEAR FOR A DECADE
(London Evening Standard, dated 12th December 2018 author Ella Wills / Press Association)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/london-murder-rate-for-2018-is-highest-in-a-calendar-year-for-a-decade-a4015601.html

London's murder rate for 2018 so far is the highest in a calendar year this decade.

There have been 125 homicides in the capital so far this year.

It marks the largest number in a calendar year since 2009 when there were 131.

In the latest violent death in the capital, an 18-year-old man was stabbed to death in a fight in Alwold Crescent, Lee, south-east London, shortly before 10pm on Tuesday.

Police said they were called to "reports of armed youths in the street". A second man, also 18, went to hospital with stab injuries but has since been discharged.

Three men aged 22, 31 and 56 and two women aged 29 and 53 were arrested and taken to police stations in south London for questioning.

In 2018 there have been 72 deaths involving a knife, 13 involving a gun, one involving a knife and a gun and one a crossbow.

Just over a third of victims, 44, were aged 16 to 24, of whom 10 were shot, 32 were stabbed and one was killed in an attack involving a knife and gun.

Twenty-five of the victims were aged 19 and under, six of whom were shot and 16 of whom were stabbed.

Earlier this month Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick insisted the tide was turning against knife and gun offences, although she admitted it would take time to tackle the 180 violent gangs in London who drag children into crime.

The force released figures that showed in September, October and November this year there were 176 fewer victims of knife crime with injury aged under 25 than in the same three months in 2017, a 31 per cent reduction.

According to Home Office figures, the number of police-recorded homicides in London, for both the Metropolitan and City of London forces, was:

2009 - 131
2010 - 124
2011 - 119
2012 - 105
2013 - 107
2014 - 94
2015 - 122
2016 - 111
2017 - 118 (excluding victims of terrorist attacks)

In mid-November the number of murder investigations in London so far this year surpassed that of the whole of 2017, when the total reached 118.

Levels of violent crime in the capital have remained a concern throughout the year.

In response to the bloodshed, the Metropolitan Police Violent Crime Task Force was set up, which made more than 1,300 arrests in its first six months.

(1st January 2019)


LONDON CRIME: HOMOCIDES IN CAPITAL HIT 10-YEAR HIGH IN 2018 AFTER 134 PEOPLE KILLED
(Independent, dated 31st December 2018 author Lizzie Dearden)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/london-crime-stabbings-murders-shootings-violence-met-police-crime-figures-total-a8705986.html

The number of people killed in London hit a 10-year high in 2018 and more than a fifth of victims were children and teenagers, figures show.

The 134 homicides recorded by the Metropolitan Police included 24 where the victims were aged 19 or under.

Of those, 18 were stabbed, five were shot and one woman was killed by a head injury.

It was London's highest homicide total since 2008, which saw 14 people killed, and a 15 per cent rise year-on-year.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick had named street violence as her "number one priority" and acknowledged the last 12 months had been "challenging".

At an end-of-year briefing with journalists, she said there had been a rise in domestic killings but that the number of young people being stabbed in public had fallen.

"We're trying our very hardest to reduce violence on the streets as much as we can," Ms Dick said.

"I do see some cautious room for optimism … where knife crime injuries for under-25s was going up steeply, it has started to come down and we are 13 per cent down year-on-year.

"Young people being stabbed is a key metric for me and it falling. I think we will need to keep up our efforts on that next year, it will remain a very high priority."

Ms Dick, Britain's most senior police officer, said she was also proud of Scotland Yard's "very strong" detection and conviction rates for homicides, which stood above 80 per cent and 90 per cent respectively.

Police say London's situation is not unique in England and Wales, and have warned of "Wild West" violence sweeping the country amid record levels of knife crime.

Murder detectives have raised concern over increasingly "feral" attacks seeing victims stabbed multiple times, amid warnings that rising violence is driving an increase in knife possession.

Children as young as nine have been found carrying weapons in the belief they will be protected, while officials have warned of a "lost generation" created by austerity and drug gangs.

Amid public outrage over a spate of street murders in the spring, a Violent Crime Taskforce was set up in London that has since seized more than 500 guns, 2,000 knives and 900 other weapons.

The use of stop and search powers has increased, and Ms Dick said armed police may be deployed to patrol areas "where gang activity is likely".

The capital's murder rate briefly overtook that of New York in April, but the American city has seen more than twice the number of homicides as London this year - around 285 - giving it a murder rate around double that in London.

Mayor Sadiq Khan announced plans for a violence reduction unit that would adopt the public health approach successfully used in Glasgow but warned that the trend could take a generation to overcome.

Steve O'Connell, chair of the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee, said the grim 2018 death toll was "a tragedy not only for those most affected, the family and friends of the victims, but for all Londoners".

He added: "Violent crime now has to be the top priority for the capital and it is time that more action was taken by the mayor, alongside the Met, and by central government to stem the tide of lawlessness. Londoners are crying out for urgent solutions now - not 10 years in the future."

Police have pointed to links between violence and "county lines" drug networks, where urban dealers force children and other vulnerable people to courier illegal substances to customers in more rural areas.

Figures show that cocaine production, purity and supply is up, while the price has fallen. In the same period, the number of drug-related deaths and people being treated for addiction has risen.

Middle class cocaine users have come under fire from a number of public figures pointing to the misery caused by the drugs trade.

Drill music, where rappers taunt rivals with lyrics threatening violence, and the role of social media in escalating disputes have also come under the microscope.

Following criticism of Tory cuts to policing, seeing the loss of 20,000 offices since 2010, the home secretary admitted that police officer numbers were "an important part" of the fight against violent crime.

The government announced a £970m funding boost for police in England and Wales in December, but the calculation relies on £500m generated through council tax increases.

Critics accused the Conservatives of "passing the buck of funding the police service to the public", amid calls for funding increases to other public services, including mental health, youth centres and social services to boost crime prevention work.

It came after a Home Affairs Committee report warned of "dire consequences for public safety and criminal justice" if police funding was not increased, saying the service was at risk of becoming irrelevant as the proportion of solved crimes falls.

Teenagers killed in London in 2018:


- Hasan Ozcan, 19, stabbed in Barking and Dagenham borough on 3 February
- Sabri Chibani, 19, stabbed in Lambeth borough on 11 February
- Lord Promise Nkenda. 17, stabbed in Newham borough on 14 February
- Lewis Blackman, 19, stabbed in Kensington and Chelsea borough on 18 February 
- Abdikarim Hassan, 17, stabbed in Camden borough on 20 February
- Kelvin Odunuyi, 17, shot in Haringey borough on 8 March
- Lyndon Davis, 18, stabbed in Havering borough on 14 March
- Tanesha Melbourne-Blake, 17, shot in Haringey borough on 2 April 
- Amaan Shakoor, 16, shot in Waltham Forest borough on 2 April
- Israel Ogunsola, 18, stabbed in Hackney borough on 4 April 
- Natasha Hill, 18, died of head injuries in Greenwich borough on 15 April 
- Sami Sidhom, 18, stabbed in Newham borough on 16 April
- Rhyhiem Ainsworth Barton, 17, shot in Kennington on 5 May
- Jordan Douherty, 15, stabbed in Romford on 23 June
- Katrina Makunova, 17, stabbed in Camberwell on 12 July
- Latwaan Griffiths, 18, stabbed in Lambeth borough on 25 Julu
- Abdi Ali, 18, head trauma and stab wounds to chest in Enfield on 27 August
- Guled Farah, 19, shot in Waltham Forest borough on 22 September
- Ethan Nedd-Bruce, 18, stabbed in Greenwich borough on 22 October
- Jay Hughes, 15, stabbed in Lewisham borough on 1 November
- Malcolm Milde-Madariola, 17, stabbed in Clapham on 2 November
- John Ogunjobi, 16, stabbed in Lambeth on 6 November
- Aron Warren, 18, stabbed in Greenwich borough on 8 December
- Jay Sewell, 18, stabbed in Greenwich borough on 11 December

(1st January 2019)


TORY POLICE CUTS BEHIND WAVE OF KNIFE CRIME, SAYS EX-MET CHIEF
(The Observer, dated 10th November 2018 author Mark Townsend)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/nov/10/tory-police-cuts-wave-of-london-knife-crime-ex-chief-metropolitan-police-lord-blair

The wave of knife crime may be linked directly to the police budget cuts instigated by the coalition government and continued under Theresa May, a former head of Scotland Yard has suggested.

Speaking to the Observer after a week in which five people were stabbed to death in London, Lord Blair said the fact that violent crime had risen alongside a reduction in police funding may not be a coincidence. In 2010, when the Conservatives came to power with the Liberal Democrats and began cutting spending, the capital had 4.1 officers per 1,000 Londoners, but by 2016-17 the ratio had dropped to 3.3 officers per 1,000, according to figures from city hall.

The total number of offences involving a knife or bladed instrument recorded by the Metropolitan police in the year to March 2018 rose to 40,147, a seven-year record.

Blair said: "Crime is clearly an indicator of societal health, particularly violent crime. We know that crime just about peaked in 1993 and went on going down until something like 2010 to 2012, and then started to go back up again.

"One of the things that a statistician always looks for is to see whether a change in behaviour is a coincidence or whether there is causation. It does seem odd that the cut in budget for policing by 20% coincides with a significant rise in crimes of all sorts. Is it coincidence or is it causation?"

His comments follow warnings by MPs last week that police cuts may have "dire consequences for public safety". Trust in the police, said a report by the public accounts committee, is "breaking down" as forces struggle to respond to crime because of government cuts.

Amber Rudd, a former home secretary, angered senior officers by claiming that police cuts were not to blame for the surge in knife crime.

Blair, who as Met commissioner between 2005 and 2008 tried to find "lasting solutions" to youth violence, also warned that the positive impact of neighbourhood policing was "probably fading under the pressure of finance".

More broadly, he warned that the threat of an emerging far right and its divisive discourse should be viewed extremely seriously.

"At the end of my period of office the far right had done what the far right always does, which is break up into lots and lots [of factions].

"But what we have now is a nastiness with the English Defence League and so on. Which I imagine is of deep significance to those who are concerned about the integrity of the British state," said the crossbench peer.

Blair is chair of trustees at the Woolf Institute, which is affiliated to Cambridge University and aims to encourage tolerance between people of different beliefs. He said that the institute planned to carry out research into the effects on British society of this increasing polarisation.

Among other initiatives the institute, which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary, is building a "UK inclusivity index" to measure and map levels of intolerance in different parts of Britain. "It will be what we can do to assist people to understand what polarisation means, what inclusivity means," said Blair.

Blair, who became the country's most senior police officer shortly before the terrorist attacks on London on 7 July 2005, said the bombings - which killed 52 people and wounded more than 700 - had led him on a personal journey into faith and "religious identity" that began with attempting to understand what motivated the four suicide bombers.

However, he said that elements of the media had prevented a proper debate concerning Islam and its true meaning. "Some of the coverage of Islamic matters has been appalling, look at some of the fuss about sharia law," he said.

On an international scale, Blair said those who dismissed the role of religion in global affairs needed to have a rethink.

"We have to accept that the idea that religion is no longer important is completely deniable at the beginning of the 21st century. Religion is one of the key flashpoints that we have, and events that happen in Syria as we know play out on the streets of London or elsewhere."

(1st December 2018)


SURGEON'S VIEW : "STABBING VICTIMS ARE GETTING YOUNGER, AND THEIR WOUNDS WORSE"
(Guardian, dated 6th November 2018 author Denis Campbell)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/nov/06/stabbing-victims-look-scared-theyve-never-seen-their-blood-spilt

Stabbing victims are getting younger, the time of day when they're typically stabbed is changing and more of them are sustaining more injuries. That's what we have found from data on the 1,824 patients under the age of 25 who have been stabbed and who have been treated in our major trauma centre between 2004 and 2014.

In the 1980s in the same part of the city we cover, east London, a stabbing victim was, on average, in his late 20s and had sustained a solitary stab wound. Our average is now 18, and 25% of knife victims we see are of school age. It's now not unusual to treat victims with multiple stab wounds.

Five, seven, nine or more wounds are commonplace in our practice. We routinely see increasingly severe injuries. The injury patterns - bladed weapons, blunt trauma from beatings or being run over, caustic agents - and structures injured represent a much greater threat to life than injuries I saw in my surgical training. I suspect that these young people are the victims of multiple assailants.

No injury is minor. Every one takes a mental and physical toll. This year we will admit 800 stabbing and 60 gunshot victims with life- or limb-threatening injuries. Knife/gun injuries are about 30% of our workload. This year we've seen double the number of stab wounds we saw in 2012. For the first time, knife injury is the most common reason London air ambulance helicopters with doctors on board are dispatched.

Stabbing victims look scared. There are no heroes in a resuscitation room. Most of those who are conscious fear for their lives. They've never seen their own blood spilt and don't want to die. Patients present in all states, from awake and talking to ventilated and actively bleeding, with every possible permutation in between.

Young people over 16 tend to be injured in the late evening; that hasn't changed. But we've identified a previously undocumented and disturbing pattern relating to injuries to children on weekdays. Under-16s tend to be injured between the hours of 4pm to 6pm and close to their home. I suspect this relates to large numbers of children travelling from school and congregating in places such as bus stations, shopping centres and food outlets.

What triggers these assaults? Young people are often injured in robberies, old beefs or incidents related to the drug trade. But we also commonly encounter individuals who are injured for seemingly little or no reason. Respect and ratings are hugely commonly cited as reasons. I recall a young girl being shot in the head for making a joke about another girl at a party. The girl's partner felt bound to respond with violence.

The rules of the game dictate why people get hurt. If you don't show the appropriate respect to a local "face", or you step on the wrong person's trainers, it's obvious what happens next. History is littered with fighting rituals and duelling. Challenge and counter-challenge have been part of youth culture for as long as history has recorded youth violence.

About half the people we come across are stabbed by their own weapon. Often there's been hand-to-hand combat, with lots of shouting and swearing, and during that knives get taken away from people and used on them.

Why are victims getting younger? Every older generation thinks younger ones grow up much faster than they did. I suspect that the world is a much smaller place: information travels near instantaneously and, more importantly, technology gives children access to unfiltered, fully formed opinions and belief systems without the opportunity to challenge or even understand what male and female roles are. We have all been empowered to voice our opinion remotely, for example via social media, without the need or willingness to explain our position or compromise.

For those who have no experience of living the lives our patients live, these facts must seem unsettling. I don't condone any of the acts that I see, but if you understand the rules of the game, you understand the actions. The lack of empathy or even the willingness to want to understand the drivers and logic behind the violence we see is as much a problem as the violence itself. I suspect society feels more comfortable demonising a portion of society - the police, educators, social services, housing or parents - than taking a considered view. Why are you scared of 14-year-olds standing on a corner?

I go into schools to talk about the realities of knife violence. I show pupils some pretty graphic photographs of stabbing victims, sometimes with a surgeon's hand inside their chest, to help them realise the impact of a knife wound. The most common question I get asked by pupils is: is there a safe place to stab someone? I say: in your dreams - no, there's not. I've seen people die after being stabbed in the calf, shoulder, face or arm. Some people think it's safe to stab someone in the buttocks, but there are a lot of big blood vessels there, and the bowel is near there, too. There is no safe place to stab someone.

Some kids think: if I can inflict an injury that's not life-threatening then I can get some respect for doing that. But the truth is, that's a myth. If you hurt someone with a knife and they survive, they will be out for revenge - on you, your brother or your mum. Plus, the police may catch you and you may go to prison. So it's madness to think like that. People need to connect action and consequence. They have another choice, of course, which is not to stab someone.

The news about knife crime is relentlessly grim. But behind the headlines there are some good things going on. For example, we have reduced the proportion of stabbing victims who come back to us after being knifed a second time from 45% to just 1%. We've had tremendous success in reducing rates of retaliation violence readmission in young people. We work in partnership with the St Giles Trust, a charity that works to reduce youth violence, and it has played a key role in that. It helps victims from the moment they arrive all the way through their treatment, rehabilitation and return to their community, and works with their families, too.

Youth knife violence can be reduced. I've also seen tremendous benefit from well thought-out and delivered secondary prevention - or "gangs call-in" - programmes in which at-risk youths receive focused support. There is amazingly strong data documenting the benefit of supporting children and parents in early life, promoting strong parental relationships, education and engagement with empowering non-academic activity, but they are long-term, decades-long interventions.

The key is forming consistent, supportive and nurturing relationships between youths and people they trust and respect, who are culturally competent and appropriate. We need to have services that are fit for purpose and are allowed to deliver, such as policing, education and housing. But each individual needs a solution that's unique to them. It's like making a pizza: what's perfect for a 16-year-old-girl in Basingstoke isn't right for a 14-year-old boy in south-east London.

- Dr Martin Griffiths is a consultant vascular and trauma surgeon at the Royal London hospital, lead for trauma surgery for Barts Health NHS trust and a co-author of a new research study which found that a large proportion of stabbing victims treated at a London trauma centre were children.

- This article was amended on 7 November 2018. An earlier version referred to 1,823 stabbing victims under 25 who were treated at the hospital's major trauma centre since 2012. That figure is the number of such patients treated there between 2004 and 2014.

(1st December 2018)


POLICE FIGHTING KNIFE CRIME SHOULD BE EXEMPT FROM RACE DISCRIMINATION LAWS, TREVOR PHILLIPS SAYS
(Telegraph, dated 11th November 2018 author Hayley Dixon)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/11/11/policefighting-knife-violence-should-exempt-race-discrimination/

Police officers should be exempt from race discrimination laws in order to target black youths in high crime areas, the  former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has said.

Trevor Phillips said that "white liberals" need to stop "hand-wringing" and admit the truth that the wave of knife crime is black children killing black children.

He called for officers to target high-risk inner-city areas and to be exempt from laws which prevent them discriminating on the basis of someone's race or ethnic origin.

Police dealing with gangs also need to be given greater powers akin to anti-terror laws which would allow them to detain the leaders who give the orders rather than wielding the knife, Mr Phillips said.

The comments come amid a rising wave of violence which has seen 250 stabbing deaths in the UK this year, with five of those murders occurring in London in the past nine days.

Describing the dead as "sacrifices in an unwinnable war", Mr Phillips said that the political response had been "pathetic" and too focused on police numbers when there is no evidence that this will help.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, he said: "First we need to be clear about who is dying and who is doing the killing, and we must be honest that there is a racial component to the violence."

The deaths are taking place in the semi-ghettos of Britain's big cities which are home to refugees many of whom are traumatised by the warfare that they have escaped and feel a sense of belonging by joining gangs, he said.

Adding: "So the forlorn attempts by politicians and media to ignore this truth - to avoid 'stigmatising' minority communities - has been counterproductive, a hand-wringing dereliction of responsibility.

"It might make 'right-on' white liberals feel better. But the price of their smugness is an ongoing bloody massacre of black children with a casualty list that seems to lengthen by the day."

The son of poor immigrant parents, he said that whilst violence is nothing new the knuckle dusters and bricks he encountered in his youth in north London have been replaced by  a "a lethal armoury of knives, swords, handguns and, occasionally, automatic rifles - some in the hands of children as young as ten".

He called for high risk zones to be identified and flooded with officers "using stop-and-search powers as freely as they wish".

Stop-and-search powers have long attracted controversy amid claims that they are used to unfairly target black men.

The intervention comes after Cressida Dick,  the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, used an interview with the Telegraph to call for the police to be able to use high tech surveillance methods such as facial recognition technology to crack down on crime.

Mr Philips backed her call, saying that if it helps then "fretting about privacy from people whose families are in no danger should be ignored".

He added: "In areas where the gangs are primarily black or from another ethnic group, police might even be permitted to apply for exemption from race discrimination laws for a limited period. This could free their hands to act against specific targets - and few would be more pleased than minority parents who constantly worry that their children may never come home."

In order to ensure that this was done fairly all officers should be be fitted with a bodyworn camera, he argued.

He also called for further powers to be extended to prison governors, to prevent gangs consolidating their control over behind bars.

The former boss of the ECHR said that rather than spending time and money on "pointless" campaigns about social media hate crimes and instead focus resources on helping those trapped inside the cycle of violence.

He  suggested at risk families should be relocated and bright young children at danger of joining gangs should be sent to boarding schools.

He also suggested offering incentives such as a council tax "holiday" to families who would move into at risk areas to change the social make-up and disrupt gangs.

(1st December 2018)


MINISTERS WILL NOT SCRAP "REASONABLE GROUNDS" STOP AND SEARCH RULE
(Guardian, dated 12th November 2018 author Peter Walker)

Full article [Option 1]:

The government has ruled out changing stop and search rules to allow police to use the power without reasonable grounds to suspect wrongdoing, while saying they want to "reduce bureaucracy" over such operations.

The statement from the junior Home Office minister Nick Hurd follows the revelation in the Guardian that police have been in talks with advisers to the home secretary, Sajid Javid, about loosening the rules because of worries about an increase in knife attacks.

Police chiefs had hoped to scrap the requirement that "reasonable grounds" were needed before a person could be subjected to a search, a condition introduced when Theresa May was home secretary, following concerns that the blanket use of stop and search was inefficient, discriminatory and damaged community relations.

Afzal Khan, a shadow Home Office minister, was granted an urgent question to ask the government about the police request.

Responding, Hurd said there were no plans to return to "the bad old days" of mass stop and search, but there were plans to help police use the powers more effectively.

He said: "The government fully supports the police to use their stop and search powers, when they have lawful grounds to do so. It is a vital policing tool when used correctly. We will always ensure the police have the necessary powers to keep people safe, and that's why we work very closely with the National Police Chiefs' Council to keep under review the stop and search powers we need to help keep the public safe.

"The house should be clear that we have no plans to change the requirements that reasonable grounds for suspicion are needed before a routine stop and search is carried out."

There were plans, he said, "to see how we can reduce bureaucracy and increase efficiency in the use of stop and search", details of which would be announced later.

In response, Khan said routine stop and search was "colossal waste of police resources" and urged Hurd to resist any pressure to reintroduce it.

Hurd said: "We are not going back to the bad old days when over 1.4 million people were stopped, with only 8% or 9% of them arrested. That is not what this is about.

"It is about recognising that we now have a million fewer stop and searches than we did back in 2009-10 and we are, I think on a cross-party basis, absolutely determined to bear down on this horrendous spike in violent crime, and we need to make sure that the police have the confidence to use the tools at their disposal. And stop and search is one of those tools. There is evidence that they have lost some confidence in using it."

The debate follows a spate of violent attacks, particularly in London, where five people were stabbed to death in less than a week, with Labour arguing that police cuts had played a part in the problem.

peaking earlier on Monday to ITV's Good Morning Britain, Javid conceded that policing resources were part of the issue.

"Police numbers have to be an important part of the solution. Let's not pretend that it's not. There has been a big increase in police funding in the last three years," he said. "There was a big increase last year. That said, I'm the first to admit, we need to take a fresh look at that and make sure that police - not just in London, but across the country - have the resources that they need."

The police proposals to Javid's team were confirmed by Adrian Hanstock, the deputy chief constable of the British Transport Police and national lead on stop and search for the National Police Chiefs' Council.

The ideas, which apply to England and Wales, would make it more likely that those caught with a knife could be dealt with by an education programme, the so-called public health approach, rather than ending up before the courts.

Hanstock told the Guardian: "There are a lot of calls for officers to do more stop and search. But the current individual threshold that officers have to meet is very tight and precise. So is there any appetite to reduce that threshold where [an] officer has a genuine fear that the person is at risk, or there is a safeguarding threat, or is a risk to others?"

In a statement issued on Monday, the NPCC said that despite Hastock's comments, there had not been any formal proposal put to the Home Office.

"We regularly hold discussions with key partners, including government departments, civil liberties groups and others to discuss a variety of issues. These conversations enable us to consider the best ways to use our powers," said a spokesman. "The reasonable grounds threshold was not discussed as part of these representations."

(1st December 2018)


LONDON'S MURDER RATE HITS GRIM MILESTORM AFTER SPATE OF BLOODSHED
(Telegraph, dated 13th November 2018 author Telegraph Reporters)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/11/13/londons-homicide-rate-hits-grim-milestone-spate-bloodshed/

The number of murders in London so far this year has now matched the total in the whole of 2017, a grim milestone that will fuel the debate of how to tackle rising crime.

After a series of violent deaths in the capital, including the week from October 31 when there were five stab murders, the tally of homicides has reached 118.

This is equal to the number in the whole of 2017, according to Home Office figures, excluding the 13 victims of the terrorist attacks at Westminster Bridge, London Bridge and Finsbury Park.

The latest incident involved the death of a 35-year-old woman who suffered an abdominal wound at an address in Ilford, east London, on Monday. A 50-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder.

The official Metropolitan Police tally of violent deaths this year is 120, but the figure takes in two cases that are being treated as self-defence.

The remainder include 68 stabbings, 12 shootings and two deaths involving a knife and a gun.

A third of the cases (42) involved victims aged 16 to 24, while 20 were teenagers.

Among the victims aged 16 to 24, 30 were stabbed, nine were shot, two died in attacks involving a knife and a gun, and one died in a fall.

For the teenagers aged 15 to 19, six were shot and 14 were stabbed.

###Enhanced stop and search powers to be introduced

How police can tackle the issue has been a subject of fierce debate.

Sajid Javid, the home secretary, is expected to announce enhanced stop and search powers for police within the next few weeks.

He has said police should feel empowered to use the tactic irrespective of whether they are black, brown or white in efforts to combat the "disease" of knife crime.

Cressida Dick, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said last week the Home Office had "stepped back a lot" and needed to show "greater leadership".

Serious knife crime has soared this decade (Data : Home Office)
% change in offences involving knives, 2012-13 to 2017-18

Threats to kill : 148%
Rape : 134%
Attempted Murder : 92%
Sexual Assault : 84&
Actual/grievous bodily harm : 67%
Homicide : 45%
Robbery : 31%

In an interview with The Telegraph, she said the failure to introduce laws which allow officers to use facial recognition technology to catch "bad guys" has left her officers "hamstrung". She added that the battle against violent crime would be easier with funding for more officers.

Violent crime levels a 'concern' after second highest number of homicides since 2010


Levels of violent crime in the capital have remained a concern throughout the year, with monthly highs in February and March, when 18 homicides were recorded each month.

These were the second highest monthly totals recorded since April 2010.

The only higher peak was in June 2017 when there were 20, a figure that includes eight people killed in the London Bridge terror atrocity.

If this is excluded, the previous monthly peak was in April 2010 when there were 16.

In total, 111 homicides were recorded in 2016 and 122 in 2015 in the capital, according to Home Office data.

Before this the number of police-recorded homicides in London had been falling, from 164 in 2007 to 91 in 2014.

Looking at official figures for financial years, there was a peak in 2003/4 when there were 212, and then, bar one rise in 2010/11, the total gradually decreased until 2017/18 when it rose by 36% to 146.

Middle class cocaine users blamed for crime rise

In response to the bloodshed this year, the Metropolitan Police Violent Crime Task Force was set up, seizing 340 knives, 40 guns and 258 other offensive weapons in its first six months of operation, and making more than 1,350 arrests.

Mayor Sadiq Khan also announced plans for a Violence Reduction Unit that would adopt the public health approach to tackle violent crime that was successfully used in Glasgow.

Police have pointed to links between violence and so-called county lines drug networks, where urban dealers force children and other vulnerable people to courier illegal substances to customers in more rural areas.

They are also known to take over innocent people's homes to use as a base for crime.

Middle class cocaine users have come under fire from a number of public figures, including Ms Dick, who pointed to the misery caused by the drugs trade.

Drill music, where rappers taunt rivals with lyrics laced with violence and threats, and the role of social media in escalating disputes have also come under the microscope, as have cuts to youth services and the police.

On Monday Home Secretary Sajid Javid admitted that police officer numbers were "an important part" of the fight against violent crime.

(1st December 2018)


FORM-FILLING DISTRACTS POLICE FROM FIGHTING VIOLENT CRIME, SAYS POLICE FEDERATION CHIEF
(Telegraph, dated 24th November 2018 author Charles Hymas)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/11/24/form-filling-distracts-police-fighting-violent-crime-says-police/

Police are being distracted from fighting violent crime by filling out forms for crimes that don't exist, says the head of England and Wales' frontline officers.

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, cited the case of two Hampshire police officers sent to track down two drunks reportedly fighting in a park who had disappeared by the time they arrived.

They then had to spend 20 minutes filling in a crime report and carry out a vulnerability assessment in case there were children who might have witnessed the incident.

"That's 20 minutes completing paperwork for a job job that is going nowhere, no offenders, no offences, no vulnerability," he said.

"If this was one time a shift, that might be okay but it might six or ten times. That's where this process can get too much. We are keeping the pie chart people happy but it is not delivering policing. That's where we have lost our way.

"We need to make sure data and crime recording is ethical and properly done but the pendulum has swung too far."

Simon Kempton, operational lead for the Police Federation, said the demand for collecting statistics and assessing vulnerability had steadily increased each year with new Home Office recording requirements reinforced by new IT systems installed by forces.

The most recent introduced last year required officers to fill out a 10-page form for use of force including what happened, where, whether officers were threatened, who was injured and where on their body. It could take over 10 minutes in some forces  to complete for each person arrested.

As an officer, he also now had  to log incidents such as rubble on a road which might have been removed by a Good Samaritan by  the time he arrived. "In the past, I would say it's removed, NFPA [no further police action]" he said.

"Now I will be sent a form on my mobile or desktop, and have to fill out empty boxes on who was the officer, when attended, the risk, it goes on and on and on.

Someone somewhere may be desperate to know how many times, there were call-outs to the road and maybe it would have been easier when we had 22,000 more police officers.

"But it can't be right when officers are so stretched they are not answering some high priority calls."

The National Police Chief' Council said: "Policing has made efficiency savings of £1.6bn since 2011, and will deliver a further £350 million by 2018/19.  A range of programmes are underway to improve collaboration and technology making us more efficient.

"We are also driving out any bureaucracy to enable officers to spend more time on core policing.  "Recording use of force gives the public far greater transparency and we will use the data to improve training and tactics."

"The use of force form consolidates other additional forms of recording, such as use of Taser, and is designed to be intuitive. Only the most complex of incidents involve using the full form."

(1st December 2018)


LONDON CRIME : TOP MET COP WARNS VIOLENT CRIMINALS ARE GETTING YOUNGER AND MORE FEROCIOUS
(London Evening Standard, dated 2nd October 2018 author Justin Davenport)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/londons-violent-criminals-getting-younger-and-more-ferocious-top-met-cop-warns-a3951106.html

Violent criminals in London are getting younger and attacks are becoming "more ferocious," a top Scotland Yard officer warned today.

Chief superintendent Ade Adelekan issued the warning as he revealed the Violent Crime Taskforce he heads has made 1,361 arrests and seized 340 knives since its launch six months ago.

The squad of 150 covert and uniform officers has also recovered 40 guns and 258 offensive weapons.

Earlier this year police faced a major surge in violence in London with 22 murders in March alone, a number of them with links to postcode gangs.  

Chief Supt Adelekan said he believed the level of violence had now "plateaued" and the work of the taskforce was having an effect but he warned: "To halt a trajectory that was going up significantly and pull it back down is really difficult."

He said there was concern at the age of offenders. "My personal experience is that people involved in violence are getting younger while the level and ferocity of attacks is getting worse, and I do not know why that is."

Some statistics show violence may actually be falling. In August there were 364 stabbings in London compared to 438 in the same month last year, a fall of nearly 17 per cent.

There were 120 people under the age of 25 stabbed in London in September, compared to 200 in October last year. 

Chief Supt Adelekan said: "I want to reassure Londoners that we are throwing everything we can at the problem of violent crime and it is working, it is starting to calm down but we need the help of Londoners. We need to galvanise communities to help us."

The taskforce - funded by City Hall - has covert plain clothes officers "embedded" in hotspot boroughs such as Haringey, Enfield, Hackney, Waltham Forest, Southwark and Lambeth.

A squad of around 90 uniform officers are deployed daily to neighbourhoods reporting violence to carry out weapons sweeps, stop and search and vehicle checks.

"The taskforce was formed to disrupt criminality caused by those intent on creating violence, carrying knives and putting London at risk. I believe we are having an effect," he added.

"We can do the suppression and enforcement but the work that goes into building relationships and providing reassurance to locals is just as important.

"We need the help of Londoners and my message to them is use Crimestoppers and tell us where the knives are hidden, check on your young  people, do they have a knife in their bag, look out for the signs they are being groomed - there are a lot of things that we can do together."

Eighteen teenagers have been murdered in London so far this year.

Among the youngest to die were Jordan Douherty, 15, who was stabbed to death at a birthday party in Romford in June, and Amaan Shakoor, 16, who was shot in an attack in Walthamstow in April. The 16-year-old died the same night as 17-year-old Tanesha Melbourne was killed in a drive-by shooting in Tottenham.

Scotland Yard has launched a £20,000 reward to identify the killers of 14-year-old Corey Junior Davis in Newham last year.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said: "The new Violent Crime Taskforce was set up with £15 million from City Hall and, in its first six months, its officers have made over 1,300 arrests and removed more than 600 knives and dangerous weapons off our streets.

"To bolster the vital work of the 150 officers, the Commissioner and I made the difficult decision to move 122 officers from the Roads and Transport Command to strengthen the Taskforce still further as part of our ongoing commitment to drive down knife and violent crime in London."

(1st November 2018)


LONDON KNIFE CRIME HITS HIGHEST LEVEL EVER RECORDED
(London Evening Standard, dated 18th October 2018 author Martin Bentham)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/london-knife-crime-hits-highest-level-ever-recorded-a3965111.html

Knife crime in London has risen to its highest ever level with nearly 15,000 offences committed during the past year, according to figures out today.

The Office for National Statistics said the total of 14,987 knife crimes in the year to the end of June was a 15 per cent rise on the comparable figure 12 months earlier.

It includes 91 knife killings, 170 rapes or sexual assaults carried out with a blade, and 8,363 knife-point robberies.

There were also 5,570 knife crimes which either resulted in injury or involved an attempt to inflict serious harm on the victim.

The statisticians added that the increase in offending had taken London's knife crime total to the highest ever recorded.

The disclosure of the bleak statistics will heap pressure on both the Metropolitan police and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Both have insisted that they are doing everything possible to tackle knife crime, with police ramping up the use of stop and search and carrying out a succession of anti-knife crime operations.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick also claimed during the summer that violent crime in the capital was stabilising following a surge in the number of murders carried out in the early months of this year.

Today's statistics appear to dash those hopes, as do national figures revealing significant increases in homicide, other "high harm" violence, robbery, burglary and vehicle crime.

They mean that an average of 40 knife crimes a day are now being carried out in the capital, with the 91 knife killings representing an 11 per cent increase over 12 months.

Confirming the rise, the Office for National Statistics said: "While knife crime remains a rare crime, today's figures show knife crime recorded by the police in London is at the highest level since data started to be collected for the year ending March 2009."

Among the victims of the latest surge in knife offending was law student Sami Sidhom, 18, fatally stabbed as he arrived home in Forest Gate from a West Ham match in April. Others include Sabri Chibani, 19, knifed in the chest in Streatham on February 11, and Lewis Blackman, 19, a rapper from Kentish Town who was stabbed to death in Kensington a week later.

A detailed breakdown of the figures shows that as well as these killings and the 89 other homicides carried out with a blade, there were 68 attempted murders using a knife and 725 threats to kill with a blade in the year to the end of June.

The figures do not include an additional 3,209 offences of possession of a bladed article as they cover only those incidents in which a knife was used.

Meanwhile, national crime figures showed that offences recorded by police increased by almost 10 per cent during the past year, fuelled by rises in homicides, knife-related offences, robberies and theft.

The increase, which is partly driven by the rise in London, means that forces in England and Wales registered a total of 5.6 million offences in the year to June. This was a rise of 9 per cent compared with the previous 12 months and included a 14 per cent nationwide increase in police-recorded homicide offences, from 630 to 719. These figures exclude the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.

There were also jumps in the numbers of recorded robberies, which were up 22 per cent, sexual offences, which rose 18 per cent, vehicle-related theft, up 7 per cent, and burglaries, which were 2 per cent higher.

The figures will add to support for a "public health" approach to reducing knife crime in London, modelled on methods used with success in Glasgow. The idea was recommended in a report by the Youth Violence Commission and has since been backed by the Mayor.

Knife crime in London

Number of selected offences involving a knife each year for the Metropolitan and City of London forces, according to the Office for National Statistics

Period                Knife crimes
Apr 2010-Mar 2011 : 13356
Apr 2011-Mar 2012 : 14184
Apr 2012-Mar 2013 : 11386
Apr 2013-Mar 2014 : 10078
Apr 2014-Mar 2015 : 9684
Apr 2015-Mar 2016 : 9752
Jul 2016-Jun 2017 : 13061
Jul 2017-Jun 2018 : 14987

(1st November 2018)


KNIFE CRIME RISES 12% IN A YEAR IN NEW FIGURES RECORDED BY POLICE
(Mirror, dated 18th October 2018 author Dan Bloom)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/breaking-knife-crime-rises-12-13435919

Police have recorded a 12% rise in knife crime in just a year, new figures show.

Officers noted almost 40,000 knife or "sharp instrument" crimes in the 12 months to June as violent crime surged by 19% - which Labour branded the highest rise since 2011.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott declared: "These figures are truly shocking and must put an end to Tory austerity and police cuts.

"You can't keep the public safe on the cheap. The Tories are failing in their duty to protect the public and keep our citizens safe."

It comes amid fears over soaring knife crime and youth violence.

Police recorded a 14% rise in murders after the rate fell for several years.

Overall the number of crimes recorded by police in England and Wales increased by 9% in the year to June.

A statement by the Office for National Statistics said: "Over the last year, we have seen rises in some types of theft and in some lower-volume but higher-harm types of violence.

"This is balanced by a fall in the high-volume offence of computer misuse and no change in other high-volume offences such as overall violence, criminal damage and fraud."

There are two measures of crime - police-recorded crime, which shows offences up 9%, and the Crime Survey of England and Wales which shows a 1% drop.

Officials tend to prefer relying on the Crime Survey, saying it gives a more accurate picture.

Both both sets of statistics are officially sanctioned and officials warned there had been a "genuine increase" in knife crime.

The knife crime figure excludes Greater Manchester Police, who were left out of this season's statistics after a review discovered officers were under-recording knife crime in the city.

(1st November 2018)


HUGE RISE IN KNIFE CRIME IN STOKE ON TRENT AS YOUTHS TOLD TO REPORT FRIENDS WHO CARRY WEAPONS
(Stoke Sentinal, dated 11th October 2018 author Richard Ault)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.stokesentinel.co.uk/news/local-news/huge-rise-knife-crime-stoke-2098122

Young people have been asked to use an anonymous hotline to report friends who might be carrying knives - after figures showed a dramatic rise in crime across Staffordshire.

Independent charity Crimestoppers has launched a two-week campaign in the county, aimed at protecting young people from harm.

It comes as the latest figures show that from April 2017 to April 2018, Staffordshire Police recorded 1,175 knife crimes - a 22 per cent increase on the previous year when 957 offences were committed involving blades.

The Crimestoppers campaign is aimed at people aged 25 or younger, and is focusing on social media with Facebook and Instagram posts and leaflet handouts.

It aims to help raise awareness and encourage people to report knife crime, while remaining anonymous.

Pauline Hadley, Crimestoppers West Midlands regional manager, said: "The recent rise in knife crime - not only across the country but also here in Staffordshire - is hugely worrying.

"Knife crime devastates families and harms communities and if you carry a knife, you increase the risk of being injured, sometimes fatally.

"While I understand it's a difficult area for some people to talk about, it's completely wrong to believe that you can protect yourself from danger by having a weapon on you such as a knife.

"We all need to work together to help make our communities safer. If you're concerned about someone you know, perhaps a friend, relative or workmate, who's resorting to taking a knife out with them, you can pass on that information via our charity 100 per cent anonymously.

"In over 30 years of Crimestoppers, our charity has always kept its promise to protect everyone's identity who contacts us."

Recent violent incidents involving knives which have taken place in across North Staffordshire have include:

- A 17-year-old old boy was taken to hospital after being stabbed repeatedly in a street attack on Hartwell Road, Meir.

- A 22-year-old man suffered life threatening injuries after he received multiple stab wounds in an attack at Pennycroft Court Flats, Corporation Street, Stafford.

- Two people were taken to hospital with suspected stab wounds following a disturbance in Minton Street, Wolstanton.

- A 42-year-old man was stabbed in the abdomen following an incident at a property in King Street, Longton.

n July StokeonTrentLive reported how all 15 high schools in Stoke-on-Trent had joined forces to organise activities aimed at preventing pupils getting drawn into street gangs and knife crime.

Then last month it was announced that Potteries-based Engage Communities had been awarded almost £30,000 of Government funding to tackle knife crime in the area.

The cash will allow the non-profit organisation to expand its Safer Stoke programme, which delivers mentoring, training and diversionary activities for at-risk and vulnerable young people.

Engage Communities founder and director Yaser Mir said: "I think the Crimestoppers campaign will help.

"We've been doing a lot of diversionary work with young people, and providing sporting sessions, like cricket and boxing. We work with a lot of young people to keep them out of trouble and off the street, I think it is working."

Superintendent Ricky Fields, Staffordshire Police's strategic lead for knife crime, said: "Knife crime continues to go up and so we are keen to do everything we can with partners to deter people from using and carrying knives. We wholeheartedly welcome this campaign from Crimestoppers as it focuses on educating young people about the dangers of carrying and using a knife.

"We will be providing support to the campaign where we can and continuing our own efforts, alongside partners, to educate young people and reduce knife crime in Staffordshire."

Contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or through the non-traceable anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

(1st November 2018)


HUNDREDS OF CHILDREN UNDER 12 ARRESTED OVER WEAPONS POSSESSION IN LONDON
(London Evening Standard, dated 8th July 2018 author Olivia Tobin)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/nearly-300-children-under-12-have-been-arrested-for-carrying-a-weapon-in-london-a3878371.html

Nearly 300 children under the age of 12 were arrested for carrying a weapon in London over the last three years, figures show.

Metropolitan Police figures from 2015 to 2017 reveal children as young as ten being arrested in London - including arrests over serious violent crimes including rape and drug trafficking.

In the last three years, 1,423 children aged between 10 and 12 have been arrested in London, with the highest number of these arrests taking place in Bromley and Bexley.

Schoolchildren have been arrested on suspicion of committing arson, rape, harassment offences, possession of a weapon and drug trafficking.

The largest number of arrests among children was for weapons offences.

Between January 2015 and December 2017, 270 children were arrested for possessing an offensive weapon.

During the same time period, 243 children were arrested over 'assault with injury' offences, according to the data from Scotland Yard.

In the three year period, seven children were arrested on suspicion of rape. Children as young as ten were arrested in Camden, Barking, Hackney, Bexley, Richmond, Croydon and Hounslow. It is not clear how many of these youths were charged.

There was also 36 arrests for "other serious sexual crimes" in London.

Detective Chief Inspector Richard McDonagh explained how support is given to youngsters who are arrested through a partnered approach with police and local authorities.

He said it was of "paramount importance" to make sure a child is not arrested again, and they are set on the right path.

The boroughs with the highest number of children under 13 arrests were Bromley, with 124 youths arrested, Barking, with 90, and Bexley, with 86.

The boroughs with the fewest arrests were Kingston with only 16 arrests each in three years and Richmond, with 17.

DCI McDonagh, for Croydon, Bromley and Sutton, has sad a "combination" of factors could contribute to the high figure in the borough.

He said: "We have to look at things like the size of the youth population, although it is not as big as Croydon's, there are about 70,000 young people living in Bromley. We also have the issue of transient population of people coming in to the borough for schools and to visit.

"The other significant issue is people coming into the borough just for the shopping centre [The Glades]."

There is evidence that the number of children arrested for serious crimes is falling.

In 2017, 86 fewer children were arrested than in 2016. DCI McDonagh said this could be down to media campaigns and early intervention work by police.

DCI McDonagh added: "I would like to think there's less young people getting involved in crimes.

Total number of children under 13 arrested in each borough

Bromley : 124
Barking : 90
Bexley : 86
Southwark : 74
Sutton : 69
Newham : 66
Tower Hamlets : 63
Croydon : 55
Greenwich : 54
Enfield : 50
Harringey : 48
Brent : 46
Hammersmith : 45
Waltham Forest : 44
Lewisham : 44
Lambeth : 43
Islington : 42
Camden : 36
Havering : 35
Ealing : 32
Hackney : 32
Redbridge : 30
Hillingdon : 29
Westminster : 27
Barnet : 25
Kensington : 24
Wandsworth : 24
Harrow : 18
Wimbledon : 18
Richmond : 17
Hounslow : 16
Kingston : 16

(17th July 2018)


VIOLENT LONDON : A NEW WAY FORWARD
(London Evening Standard, dated 18th July 2018 author David Cohen)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/violent-london-treat-crimewave-like-public-health-emergency-experts-say-a3890321.html

The current approach to tackling the violent crimewave is failing and should be replaced by a pioneering system that has reduced the murder rate in another British city, according to a landmark report published today.

The Youth Violence Commission brands the bloodshed a preventable "national shame" and recommends that London adopts a public health-focused model that has more than halved the murder rate in Glasgow from 39 in 2005 and cut the teenage murder rate to zero.

Vicky Foxcroft, chairwoman of the commission and one of the authors of the interim report, accused Mayor Sadiq Khan of failing to show leadership on the issue and called for him to set up a body with London-wide authority to copy the Glasgow model.

London detectives are investigating at least 82 killings this year, many of people under 25, including Katerina Makunova, 17, who was stabbed to death at a block of flats in Camberwell on Thursday last week.

The report, prepared with cross-party support after 18 months of fact-finding, says London should learn from the work of the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) in Scotland.

Led by Karyn McCluskey, a forensic psychologist, the VRU transformed Glasgow from the most violent city in western Europe to one of the safest.

Speaking to the Standard in the wake of our special investigation into serious youth violence, Ms Foxcroft, the Labour MP for Lewisham Deptford, said: "I am loath to criticise City Hall because we need to work with them and Sadiq is a good mayor, but they need to embrace a different way of working. The problem is that we have 32 boroughs and each borough does its own thing.

"Sadiq needs to step up and create a central unit that has city-wide authority to cut youth violence and he needs to find a dynamic figure to lead it who will be the Karyn McCluskey of London."

Ms Foxcroft added: "Sadiq's approach has been to back a police-led approach through Mopac, the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, but the lack of trust between communities and the police in London means that a public health approach cannot be effectively led from within Mopac."

Sophie Linden, deputy mayor for policing and crime, rejected the criticism, saying: "The problem in London is not lack of leadership, it's lack of funding. We don't have enough police officers and vital support services. Mental health and youth workers have been cut by central government.

"Our crime strategy published last June focused around enforcement and giving police the resources they need. As for leadership, we adopt a partnership approach with the Metropolitan Police and London councils which I co-ordinate on behalf of the mayor."

But Ms McCluskey told the Standard: "It isn't about money, it's about leadership. The Scottish VRU only had about 20 people and was run on a budget of less than £1 million. It's about getting people to use money they already have better."

The Scottish VRU's goal was to diagnose the problem and treat its cause - just as a health epidemic would be tackled. It recognised that police tactics could only be part of the solution and instead brought in a co-ordinated response involving mental health services, schools, housing, social services, police and community groups.

Ms McCluskey also cast doubt on the Mopac-led strategy of City Hall. "When I started in 2005, our murder rate was the highest in Europe," she said. "At that time, we looked at youth violence through the prism of police and justice and we filled our jails. The breakthrough moment was understanding that violence works like an infectious disease - it's passed on, you can catch it.

"We realised that most young people caught up in violence have been victims at some point and that the violence clusters in hotspots, just like in Tottenham, Lambeth and Waltham Forest. Once you see this, you realise that it needs a public health approach that focuses on early years and prevention.

"I think Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick gets this. The police can do a lot but they cannot lead a public health approach. Fundamentally it's about a different type of emphasis and leadership. That leadership needs to be city-wide and it needs to come from the top at City Hall."

The new model

What is it?

The public health model recognises that most people involved in serious youth violence have a history of trauma. It understands that police tactics - from stop and search to stiffer sentences - can be only part of the solution. Instead, it seeks to approach youth violence with the same preventative and wrap-around care you would deploy to contain and disrupt the outbreak of an epidemic, but instead of cholera or HIV, here the "infectious disease" is violence.

Where has it been deployed?

It has been used to reduce violence in Scotland and in Chicago and in London it is being piloted by Lambeth council.

What are its hallmarks?

In Scotland they created a central Violence Reduction Unit with the authority to co-ordinate a response from mental health services, schools, housing, social services, police and community groups.

(1st August 2018)


POLICE FAILING TO SOLVE TWO-THIRDS OF KNIFE CRIME AS FIGURES SOAR
(Independent, dated 23rd June 2018 author May Bulman)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/knife-crime-young-people-unsolved-stabbings-soar-police-figures-a8410491.html

Police are failing to solve 63 per cent of knife crimes committed against under-25s as stabbing incidents soar, The Independent can reveal.

So far this year in London alone there have been 21 youth murders - while knife crime against young victims across England and Wales has surged by 69 per cent in the last four years.

Politicians and youth workers accused the government of failing to act on the rise in stabbings, and warned of the "disastrous" effect cuts to police and youth services were having on young people.

Figures obtained through freedom of information requests show the overall number of knife incidents against victims under the age of 25 surged from 3,857 in 2013-14 to 6,503 in the year to March 2018. The number of knife-related incidents involving youth that led to no further action by police increased in the past four years from 33 per cent to 63 per cent.

The number of these crimes that led to criminal charges plummeted, with the proportion of perpetrators who faced charges falling from more than one in three (35 per cent) to just 15 per cent, raising questions about why a growing number of these crimes are going unsolved despite the rise in young people getting caught up in knife violence.

Other outcomes included youth cautions and community resolutions. Collated from responses by 21 out of 43 police forces, the data paints a stark picture of the knife crime epidemic gripping the nation. All the forces were approached but many refused to hand over their figures.

Ministers have cited drug-related gang culture and social media as key drivers, but police have called for more funding to turn around the loss of thousands of officers while voluntary groups have condemned cuts to youth services.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott told The Independent the increase in knife crime was "disastrous for our communities" and accused the government of failing in its "basic duty to keep the public safe".

"With this government's scathing cuts of 21,000 officers since 2010, it's no surprise that understaffed and overstretched police forces are struggling to cope," she said.

Vicky Foxcroft, Labour MP for Lewisham Deptford, who established the Youth Violence Commission, said: "Cuts in police numbers - particularly community support officers - are having an impact in terms of trying to get intelligence on these crimes. Young people need to know that if they've got an issue they can go to the police and they will keep them safe.

"The government's serious violence strategy contains warm words on prevention, but it must back that up with the necessary resources if we are to see a genuine reduction in serious violence.

"That means sustainable funding for youth workers, community support officers, mental health support in schools; you can't cut millions from youth work and schools funding and sure start and early childhood centres and not expect this to have a knock-on effect."

In London, the number of youth knife crimes soared by 79 per cent in the four years, from 910 to 1,630, with the number of young people killed by knives more than doubling, from 19 to 40, according to figures provided by the Metropolitan Police.

Yet the proportion of offences that led to charges dwindled from a third (33 per cent) to just 18 per cent over the same period, while those resulting in no further action increased from 62 per cent to 80 per cent of crimes committed, the data shows.

Thames Valley Police showed an even steeper rise in unsolved crimes, soaring from just 4 per cent in 2014-15 to more than half (58 per cent) in the year to March 2018, while the proportion of charges dropped from 44 per cent to just 16 per cent. The overall number of youth knife crimes in the area rose more than twofold, from 150 to 325.

The data also reveals a worrying upward trend in victims who decline to identify the suspect or do not support police action, which youth workers said was due to a fear of retaliation that has increased due to the rise of social media and diminishing trust in police.

In Northumbria, the number of young knife victims who did not support police action rose from just one in 2013-14 to 28 (26 per cent) in 2017-18. In Merseyside, it increased from two (2 per cent) to 26 (22 per cent) in the same period. A similar trend was seen across other police forces.

Leroy Logan, a former superintendent who retired from the Met Police in 2013 after 30 years of service, told The Independent the country was in a "crisis situation that is not showing signs of improving".

"This government has got blood on its hands because they have allowed vital services to erode and failed to understand the long-term impact of this," he said.

"When I was in the police, if someone had committed a murder you had a good chance of resolving it. Now, there's a good chance that person will get away with it.

"But when you cut all the police numbers, young people just don't feel safe. They don't have that relationship with the officers so they're not going to speak to them, and unfortunately they buy into the street justice and feel the need to carry a knife.

"So you get this vicious cycle of young people being sucked into that lifestyle, and it's not being offset by the safeguarding agencies which, like police, have also been run into the ground."

Tom Isaac, manager of Oasis Youth Support, a service that offers youth support to victims of violence in the emergency department of St Thomas's Hospital in London, said he frequently saw young stabbing victims who do not want to tell police about what happened.

"The biggest indicator for many of the young people we work with is the fear factor. They feel it will put them at more risk because if things aren't solved or they aren't protected and relocated, they could be labelled as 'snitching', and then might be at greater risk of further violence," he said.

"They feel that police can't protect them - they tell us they think it will make the situation worse.

"Young people often get direct threats after they get stabbed, often through messages or videos on social media. Things can spread quicker and get filmed these days."

Ebinehita Iyere, a youth worker in south London, said she had witnessed many young people taking situations into their own hands, describing a "cycle of retaliation".

"We're breeding kids who are leaving hospital beds, and the first thing they are going to do is pick up a knife," she said, adding: "There isn't enough emotional support for these young people."

In response to the figures, a National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) spokesman said: "Knife crime is on the rise and it is more important than ever for police forces across the country to robustly deal with this heinous crime.

"All police forces across England and Wales took part in the most recent phase of Operation Sceptre, which ran for a week in February. This major police operation saw forces carrying out weapon sweeps, knife surrenders, testing whether retailers are prepared to sell knives to children and holding educational events."

He claimed that although officers were using a range of powers available to them to crack down on knife crime, it was not something police forces could do alone and that it required a "whole system approach".

"We continue to work with schools, charities and community schemes to educate young people and explain why carrying a knife is never the right choice. This early intervention plays a vitally important role in stopping young people from turning to a life of crime," he added.

A government spokesperson said: "This government is taking action to end the deadly cycle of violence that has such a devastating impact on individuals, families and communities.

"Our new serious violence strategy puts a greater focus on steering young people away from violence alongside a tough law enforcement response, and our Offensive Weapons Bill will go further in restricting access to knives.

"Repeat offenders who carry a knife are more likely than ever to go to prison."

(17th July 2018)


HOME DELIVERIES OF KNIVES AND ACID TO BE BANNED IN GOVERNMENT CRACKDOWN
(Independent, dated 20th June 2018 author Lizzie Dearden)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/knives-acid-home-delivery-stabbings-attacks-home-office-crackdown-sajid-javid-a8408346.html

The delivery of knives and acid bought online to people's homes will be banned under laws proposed by the government to tackle a nationwide rise in serious violence.

The new Offensive Weapons Bill aims to make it harder for young people to purchase deadly weapons and make the possession of knuckle dusters, "zombie knives" and "death stars" illegal - even in private.

Sellers will be required by law to impose rigorous age verification measures to prove that anyone purchasing blades or corrosives is over 18, or face prosecution.

The proposals would also make it a criminal offence to sell a minor a corrosive product, either online or offline, and to possess a corrosive substance in a public place.

The Home Office said it had listened to concerns raised by police officers, who have struggled to stop people suspected of carrying acid and seize liquids for testing under current laws.

Sajid Javid, the home secretary, said: "It is totally wrong that young people are able to get their hands on dangerous weapons such as knives and harmful acids. That is why we are making the laws around this even tighter. 

"Earlier this week I saw the great work our frontline officers do to keep our communities safe - and I am determined to do everything I can to help them keep weapons off our streets."

The government said the law, which was first announced in April but delayed by Amber Rudd's resignation, allows exemptions from the home delivery ban for bladed items that cannot cause "serious injury", are made to order, are used for sport or are for historical re-enactments.

Delivery companies transporting products to under-18s on behalf of sellers outside the UK would also be prosecuted under the proposals.

It will be illegal to possess rapid-firing rifles and "bump stock" devices of the kind used to massacre 58 people in Las Vegas last year, with owners of prohibited items allowed compensation.

An existing law banning possessing offensive weapons in schools is also being expanded to cover other educational institutions. 

Violent crime has risen by 17 per cent across England and Wales over the past year, causing fierce debate over the underlying cause of a bloody wave of attacks.

More than 70 people have been murdered in London alone, where officials vowed not to "accept that this horrifying situation is the new normal".

Steve O'Connell, chair of the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee, said: "We need to understand the reasons why our communities have become susceptible to this malign criminality."

The new bill is part of the government response set out in its serious violence strategy, which was heavily criticised after leaks revealed that a Home Office document suggesting police budget cuts may have "encouraged" offenders was cut from the published version.

The document attributed increasing violence to factors including changes to the drug market and incitement on social media, while critics have pointed to the loss of 20,000 police officers since 2010 and cuts to youth services and mental health provisions.

On Tuesday, policing minister Nick Hurd told the Home Affairs Committee it was "too simplistic" to put the rise in violent crime down to a lack of police resources.

"I think the context has changed," he added. "The police system has been very stretched in recent years and in light of the evidence in front of us, we have taken steps to put more resources in the system - £460m more this year, £1bn more than three years ago, and we intend to do something similar for the 2019-20 settlement."

In a dramatic departure from his two predecessors, Mr Javid acknowledged that resources were "an issue" for struggling British police forces last month and vowed to fight for more cash in a government-wide spending review.

Yvette Cooper, the Labour chair of the influential committee, raised concerns that "across the board we are seeing more criminals getting away with it".

She pointed at figures showing a drops in arrests, charges and summons for violent crime, robbery and sexual offences, which are all rising.

"Serious crime is starting to go back up and the number of crimes brought to justice is dropping," Ms Cooper said. "It looks like the Home Office is not exercising its fundamental responsibility to keep people safe."

Mr Hurd argued that the changing nature of crime and dramatic rise in the amount of evidence being examined from digital devices meant offences were taking longer to progress through the criminal justice system.

He said that moped-enabled crimes were already falling, thanks to government and police initiatives, and vowed to help forces work more effectively.

In the same session HM chief inspector of constabulary warned that criminals are adopting increasingly sophisticated tactics fuelled by their exploitation of modern technology.

Sir Tom Winsor told MPs the "complexity and volume" of demand is the biggest challenge for police, after criticising technology companies for letting terrorists, paedophiles and organised criminals conceal their activities.

(17th July 2018)


EX-HEAD OF MET POLICE CALLS FOR MORE STOP AND SEARCHES AND CLAIMS MIGRATION IS FUELING KNIFE CRIME
(The Telegraph, dated 16th June 2018 author Steven Swinford)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/16/ex-head-met-police-calls-stop-searches-claims-migration-fuelling/

Note : The original article includes a dropdown facility for the reader to check crime in their area.

Police should increase the use stop-and-search to tackle soaring tackle knife crime and violence in London, the former head of Scotland Yard who oversaw a huge decline in the use of the powers has said.

Lord Hogan-Howe, the head of the Metropolitan Police between 2011 and 2017 when Theresa May was Home Secretary, believes that the surge in violence means "we now need to increase the amount of stop and search again".

Nearly 50 people have been fatally stabbed in London since the start of the year, while the overall number of knife offences in the capital rose by more than 20 per cent last year to 14,680.

He also linked migration and higher birth rates in parts of London to increased violence because it means that there are growing numbers of young men.

He said that "London is getting younger" that there is a "high correlation" between areas which have seen a significant rise in the number of young men and violence.

Speaking in the House of Lords last week, he said that one of the "large problems" in London is that so many people carry knives, meaning that "too often an argument is turning into murder".

The use of stop and search peaked in 2008 when Boris Johnson was Mayor of London in response to a significant rise in violence.

The powers were used 600,000 times in that year, but reforms introduced by Mrs May led to a dramatic decline in the use of the powers.

In 2015/16 they were used 160,000 times. It came after Mrs May introduced changes in 2014 that meant police were only allowed to stop people when there were "reasonable grounds for suspicion" amid concerns that the policy was alienating black and ethnic minority communities.

Lord Hogan-Howe said: "In my time as commissioner, we reduced stop and search very significantly. I cannot blame the present Prime Minister for this, because I believe it was the right thing to do.

"Yet even though we reduced stop and search over the succeeding four years by 60 per cent, we arrested more people-rising from 43,000 to 45,000 people-and we saw crime reduce by 20 per cent, including knife crime and violence.

"I think we now need to increase the amount of stop and search again, but it must be intelligently targeted or its risks will outweigh its benefits."

He said that the Home Office must help produce new scanning devices to make it easier for offices to find knives on people or in cars.

He also called for the development and role out of facial recognition technology to make it easier for police to identify suspects.

He called for more front-line police in parts of the capital which are struggling to cope with increasing levels of violence, linking the trend to increased birth rates and migration.

He said: "London getting younger is contradictory to what is happening in the rest of the country; there are contradictions, too, within London.

"It is in the north-east of the capital where we are seeing more young people. This is caused by higher birth rates and migration.

"Research shows us that where there are more young men in society we tend to see an increase in crime generally and an increase in violence in particular.

"If we look at a heat map of the violence in London during the past 18 months to two years, we see a high correlation between the increase in the number of young men and the increase in the incidence of violence."

(17th July 2018)


POLITICIANS PLAY THE BLAME GAME OVER SPATE OF VIOLENCE BLIGHTING LONDONS STREETS
(London Evening Standard, dated 4th April 2018 author Nicholas Cecil)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/politicians-play-the-blame-game-over-spate-of-violence-blighting-londons-streets-a3805606.html

A row erupted today as Boris Johnson's former police deputy claimed officers had been withdrawn from parts of London where killings have spiralled.

Stephen Greenhalgh claimed that the Met could learn from New York by pouring more officers into neighbourhoods where gun and knife crimes are expected to be committed.

"The reality is that we have seen the police withdraw," said Mr Greenhalgh, deputy mayor for policing between 2012 and 2016.

"We need to get police officers into these neighbourhoods blighted by violence otherwise they will fall in on themselves. We also need the Mayor and all senior politicians to give political cover to police officers to use intelligence-led, targeted stop-and-search to take knives and guns off the streets."

Government minister Kit Malthouse, who was also a deputy mayor for policing when Mr Johnson ran City Hall, criticised Mayor Sadiq Khan over the spate of shootings and knifings. He retweeted another former top aide of Mr Johnson, Daniel Moylan, who messaged: "Tragic events in London in recent days show that @SadiqKhan can only get so far by self-publicity and blaming the Government."

However, Sophie Linden, Mr Khan's deputy mayor for policing, argued that funding cuts were leading to the "glue of society" becoming unstuck. She stressed that £110 million allocated from City Hall would ensure 1,000 more officers on the streets to respond to the rise in stabbings and shootings.

"But the police can't do it alone," she added. "It's about communities and families working together, with schools, with mental health services."

uaware comment

I wonder where the £110 million has come from ? Why are they only spending it now ?
Where are a 1000 more police officers coming from, you can's just take a person off of the streets. It takes at least a year before they can be classed as probationary. Or, are they going to make existing police officers work extra hours, that will help their stress levels.

Update (6th April 2018) : It appears there are not going to be 1000 extra officers. They are just not going to sack a 1000 officers for now !

(1st May 2018)


LONDON MURDER RATE HIGHER THAN NEW YORK AS POLICE INVESTIGATE 31st STABBING IN CAPITAL THIS YEAR
(Telegraph, dated 1st April 2018 author Martin Evans)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/01/police-launch-murder-hunt-30th-stabbing-london-year/

London's monthly murder rate has overtaken that of New York Cityfor the first time, after the  worrying surge of stabbings continued across the capital.

The death of a 20-year-old man in Wandsworth yesterday (Sun) took to 30, the number of people stabbed to death in the London since the start of 2018.

Soaring levels of knife crime has helped the UK capital outstrip New York in terms of murders for the last two months running.

In February, London recorded 15 homicides compared to New York's 14, while in March there were 22, as opposed to 21 in the US city.

Eight Londoners, most of them under 30, were murdered in the six days between March 14 and March 20.

The latest victim was stabbed to death after leaving a bar in the Earlsfield area of south West London in the early hours of yesterday morning, getting April off to a bloody start.

Police were called at around 1.10am following reports that a man had been found injured in Ellerton Road.

When officers and paramedics arrived at the scene they discovered a 20-year-old man suffering from a stab wound.

Despite their efforts they were unable to save his life and he was declared dead at the scene shortly before 2am.

It is believed the victim had been drinking in nearby bar and was attacked after leaving.

Scotland Yard said the victim's family had been informed, but he is yet to be formally identified.

A 21-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently in custody at a west London police station.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell said: "Sadly, another family has been left devastated with the tragic death of a young man from an act of violence. We are appealing to anyone who was in the area to come forward."

While the populations of London and New York are similar with around 8 million people living in each, the number of murders in the US city it still around twice that here.

But the gap has been narrowing in recent years with the experts crediting the NYPD's zero- tolerance neighbourhood policing model with driving down the homicide rate from a high of around 2,000 in 1990 to some 230 last year.

Crime statistics also suggest you are almost six times more likely to be burgled in the British capital than in the US city, and one and a half times more likely to fall victim to a robbery.

London also has almost three times the number of reported rapes, although differences in the way the figures are recorded is thought to impact on the overall statistics.

The Met Commissioner, Cressida Dick, has vowed to tackle the epidemic of knife crime across the capital and has suggested that social media could be responsible for street violence.

She has announced a new task force of about 100 officers to help tackle violent crime in London.

-----------------------
THE POLICE GANGS UNIT BEHIND A DRAMATIC KNIFE CRIME DROP IN ONE LONDON BOROUGH
(London Evening Standard, dated 2nd April 2018 author Eleanor Rose)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/the-police-gangs-unit-behind-a-dramatic-knife-crime-drop-in-one-london-borough-a3802096.html

A police gangs unit in Islington is behind an innovative scheme that has helped to secure a dramatic drop in youth knife violence as rates soared elsewhere in the capital.

Detective Inspector Will Lexton-Jones of the Met's Integrated Gangs Team put the reduction down to the unit's work to reach potential offenders earlier "when the seeds are being sown".

Islington saw the dramatic drop in youth stabbings after the team was launched two years ago with not a single under-25 person killed by a knife since then.

In the past 12 months there have been 72 stabbings of under-25s, said DI Lexton-Jones, down 13 per cent on the previous year, while the figure rose by 15 per cent elsewhere across the capital.

13 Londoners were killed in two weeks this month and fatal stabbings in England and Wales rose to their highest levels since 2011.

Neighbouring Camden which is now policed by a joint team of officers since a merger last year saw an increase to 99 incidents in 12 months.

Camden was also the scene last month of the tragic stabbing deaths of Abdikarim Hassan, 17, and Sadiq Aadam Mohamed, 20, knifed within hours of each other on February 20.

DI Lexton-Jones said of the comparison: "It isn't a matter of good and bad practice. But it is a borough where you might expect relatively similar crime figures, yet knife crime is an area where Camden is simply far higher.

"There are a lot of reasons behind knife crime in Camden. But it's also true that they don't have as developed an integrated approach."

Islington's £500,000-a-year highly integrated scheme was launched in mid-2016 after a spate of knife deaths the previous year, including the brutal killing of 18-year-old Stefan Appleton who was stabbed through the heart in a local park.

Forty staff from police and young offenders support officers to probation services, the NHS and the Job Centre, work together from the same office with a group of up to 70 people aged 10 to 24 deemed at risk of offending.

It can be challenging because agencies approach the issue from different "philosophies", said DI Lexton-Jones, but being on the same site helps, and: "Our shared vision in this partnership is to stop the kids hurting each other."

The team's welfare-oriented approach echoes that of Glasgow's Violence Reduction Unit, which hit headlines after its mission to treat knife crime as a public health problem halved the city's murder rate over ten years.

DI Lexton-Jones said: "The VRU is going into families far earlier in the timeline, asking who is going to be a murderer in 15 years' time and working to understand the evolution of violence from birth.

"We are also trying to understand who could become entrenched in violence, although the difference is we are working with people from 10 to 24, so we are further along that timeline.

"But we are taking an approach where we are not simply trying to arrest our way out of it," he said, adding that law enforcement is not "mutually exclusive" with giving young people support.

Islington, where a third of people are thought to be living in poverty, is a hard place to grow up for some, and disenfranchisement feeds into youth offending.

"Some young people lead difficult lives. They live in rough estates, maybe near where gangs are operating. It can be quite a concerning walk to school," said DI Lexton-Jones.

Teens sometimes turn to knives in a bid to make themselves feel safer - not realising they are statistically more likely to become a victim of crime if they are carrying a blade.

And those from tougher backgrounds being supported by the state find much of that help falls away when they turn 18, yet their problems have not disappeared.

With the IGT, they can meet once or twice a week with a case worker who supports them as they seek education, training or employment.

There is still much work to be done, he said, but: "It does appear to have worked in this challenging environment, and it is certainly something worth looking at in other parts of London."

The scheme is funded until 2020.

-------------------------

(1st May 2018)


LONGER JAIL TERMS LIKELY FOR KNIFE AND ACID POSSESSION
(The Guardian, dated 1st March 2018 author Owen Bowcott)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/law/2018/mar/01/longer-jail-terms-likely-for-knife-and-acid-possession

Adults convicted of possessing a knife or acid for use as an offensive weapon in public are likely to face longer prison terms when new sentencing guidelines for judges in England and Wales are introduced.

Recommendations by the Sentencing Council published on Thursday state that the starting point for a judge assessing punishment for anyone over 18 caught with a "bladed article" in a public place should be six months in jail. For young people, the starting point is four months.

One significant mitigating factor judges must consider - which permits them to impose non-custodial sentences - is whether it is the first time a defendant has been arrested with a knife.

Those convicted of a second possession offence are subject to statutory minimum terms, meaning that in most circumstances they will go to prison. Offenders who make threats with knives or highly dangerous weapons will always receive sentences longer than six months.

For those convicted of carrying a knife in a school or prison, the punishment will be much higher, with an initial reference point of 18 months' jail before the individual facts of the case are taken into consideration.

Acid is explicitly listed as a potentially dangerous weapon for the first time in the judicial guidelines, in response to the rise in the number of people having corrosive and disfiguring liquids thrown at them.

Those who film their crimes and post them on social media will face tougher punishments. Other factors to be assessed will include the age, maturity, background and circumstances of young offenders.

The guidelines, which come into effect in June, "may ... lead to some increases in sentence levels, predominantly in relation to adults convicted of possession offences", the Sentencing Council acknowledges.

 Rosina Cottage QC, a member of the council, said: "Too many people in our society are carrying knives. If someone has a knife on them, it only takes a moment of anger or drunkenness for it to be taken out and for others to be injured or killed. These new guidelines give courts comprehensive guidance to ensure that sentences reflect the seriousness of offending."

The guidelines are not directly comparable with previous Sentencing Council recommendations. They take account of recent legislation and court of appeal judgments. They are intended, according to the council, to "reflect parliament's concern about the social problem of offenders carrying knives".

The council promotes greater consistency in sentencing across courts in England and Wales by issuing and updating guidelines for judges, while aiming to increase public understanding of the decisions made by judges.

The latest figures show that knife crime in England and Wales rose by 21% to 37,443 offences in the year to last September - the highest level for seven years.

Welcoming the guidelines, the justice minister Rory Stewart said: "Knives ruin lives and fracture communities, and carrying a weapon is often an indicator of further devastating crimes to come.

"We must equally recognise the emerging threat of other weapons, such as acid. Those caught with any offensive weapon must feel the full force of the law."

The guidelines respond to concerns about minimum prison terms raised by some lawyers and others who took part in the consultation.

The guidelines explain: "In considering whether a statutory minimum sentence would be 'unjust in all of the circumstances', the court must have regard to the particular circumstances of the offence and the offender.

"If the circumstances of the offence, the previous offence or the offender make it unjust to impose the statutory minimum sentence then the court must impose either a shorter custodial sentence than the statutory minimum provides or an alternative sentence."

The guidelines do not apply to situations where knives have been used; those are dealt with as wounding, murder or manslaughter charges.

(1st April 2018)


SHOCKING PICTURES OF 300 WEAPONS, GUNS AND A GRENADE SEIZED DURING LONDON SCHOOL HOLIDAYS
(International Business Times, dated 22nd February 2018 author Josh Robbins)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.ibtimes.co.uk/shocking-pictures-300-weapons-guns-grenade-seized-during-london-school-holidays-1662914

The Metropolitan Police seized more than 300 deadly weapons and made nearly 300 arrests in just over a week during the latest phase of its ongoing operation against guns and knives, code-named Sceptre.

The announcement comes a day after two teenagers were stabbed to death in north London less than a mile apart and within the space of an hour - the fifth and sixth teens to lose their lives to bladed weapons this year.

The proactive targeting of knife and gun crime crime suspects and hotspots was timed to coincide with half-term in schools.

Pictures released the Met show an array of of knives, swords and guns seized since 12 February.

At one address in Croydon, officers recovered 16 knives, a smoke grenade and more than £50,000 ($70,000).

In Camden, A number of prohibited knives, a knuckle duster, multiple firearms and a crossbow were seized from a property.

In total, police seized:

    265 knives
    Six firearms
    45 other weapons

"Today, two families are mourning the loss of loved ones, the two young men murdered in Camden last night," said DCS Sean Yates.

"Our thoughts are with them in this incredibly difficult time. At this early stage there have been no arrests, but we are carrying out urgent inquiries to establish the full circumstances."

"There is an ongoing, concerted effort by officers across the Met to tackle this scourge on our streets," he added.

"But such proactive action is only part of the solution as enforcement can only get us so far. This is not just a policing issue, we need everyone to join together to tackle knife crime."

It involved 100 specialist Sceptre team members working in coordination officers from various boroughs.

A total of 289 arrests were made in London, including 63 arrests for possession of a knife or offensive weapon.

Forces across England made additional arrests and seizures as part of a week of national action.

On 21 February shortly after 9pm, Abdikarim Hassan, 17, died in Bartholomew Road. An hour later, Sadiq Adan Mohamed, 20, died after being stabbed in nearby Malden Road.

Met detectives are working to establish whether the stabbings are connected. Mohammed's brother and cousin were previously murdered in the capital.

(1st March 2018)


NUMBER OF YOUNG PEOPLE PENALISED CARRYING KNIVES AT EIGHT YEAR HIGH
(The Guardian, dated 14th September 2017 author Damien Gayle)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/sep/14/number-of-young-people-penalised-for-carrying-knives-at-eight-year-high

More young people are being cautioned or sentenced for carrying knives than at any time for nearly eight years, new figures have revealed.

Under-18s were penalised for knife possession 1,180 times from April to June, Ministry of Justice statistics show - the highest quarterly tally for that age group since the period July to September 2009.

In total, 5,237 knife possession offences were dealt with by the criminal justice system in the three months to the end of June - up 6% on the equivalent period in 2016.

An MoJ report accompanying the statistics said knife possession offences fell between 2008 and 2014, but the trend has reversed in the last three years.

The figures come amid fresh concern about knife crime, particularly in London where 13 teenagers have been fatally stabbed so far this year. Teenagers have also been charged in many cases where adults have been the victims of deadly stabbings.

Police have shifted their outlook on youth knife crime away from a narrative of gang violence, and now say young people are more often carrying blades for status and self-protection.

Whitney Iles, of Project 507, a social enterprise that tackles the causes of violence, said the increase in knife crime had created a vicious spiral that spurred more young people to carry weapons. Fewer educational opportunities and a lack of decent jobs has also left young people feeling dismal about their future, making them more likely to take risks and adopt violent lifestyles, she said.

"These kinds of things spread, so you have to look at it from the more people that are carrying knives it means that more and more people are going to want to protect themselves," Iles said. "If you carry a knife it means that you are willing to put your life in danger and it means that you feel like your life is in danger - you go straight into survival mode.

"If we've got young people that are not seeing themselves as able to live a longer life or have the opportunities that they need or deserve, then what we have is a lot of young people who are thinking more in the moment."

Two in five adult offenders and 13% of juveniles were given an immediate custodial sentence. Three in 10 juvenile offenders and 7% of adults received cautions.

Under a "two strikes" system introduced in 2015, minimum sentences were introduced for those aged 16 and over who are convicted of a second or subsequent offence of possession of a knife or offensive weapon.

The punishments are at least six months imprisonment for adults, while young offenders face a minimum four-month detention and training order.

Dominic Raab, the justice minister, said: "We're catching and prosecuting more of those who carry a knife or blade. Those convicted are more likely to go to prison, and for longer terms. Knives are a scourge of communities. Our message to those carrying a knife is that you should expect to end up in jail."

So far, 26 young people have been killed by knives in the UK in 2017, according to the Guardian's count.

(1st October 2017)


KNIVES ARE TOO SHARP AND FILING THEM DOWN IS SOLUTION TO SOARING VIOLENT CRIME, JUDGE SAYS
(The Telegraph, dated 27th May 2018 author Joel Adams)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/05/27/knives-sharp-filing-solution-soaring-violent-crime-judge-says/

A judge has proposed a nationwide programme to file down the points of kitchen knives as a solution to the country's soaring knife crime epidemic.

Last week in his valedictory address, retiring Luton Crown Court Judge Nic Madge spoke of his concern that carrying a knife had become routine in some circles and called on the Government to ban the sale of large pointed kitchen knives.

Latest figures show stabbing deaths among teenagers and young adults have reached the highest level for eight years, and knife crime overall rose 22 per cent in 2017.

In the past two months, he said, there have been 77 knife-related incidents in Bedfordshire, including three killings.

Judge Madge told the assembled  judges, barristers and court staff: "These offences often seem motiveless - one boy was stabbed because he had an argument a couple of years before at his junior school."

He said laws designed to reduce the availability of weapons to young would-be offenders had had "almost no effect", since the vast majority had merely taken knives from a cutlery drawer.

He said: "A few of the blades carried by youths are so called 'Rambo knives' or samurai swords. They though are a very small minority.

"The reason why these measures have little effect is that the vast majority of knives carried by youths are ordinary kitchen knives. Every kitchen contains lethal knives which are potential murder weapons.

"Accordingly, it is very easy for any youth who wants to obtain a knife to take it from the kitchen drawer in his home or in the home of one of his friends."

As a result - said the judge - the most common knife a youth will take out is eight to ten inches, long and pointed, from his mother's cutlery tray.

He asked: "But why we do need eight-inch or ten-inch kitchen knives with points?

"Butchers and fishmongers do, but how often, if at all, does a domestic chef use the point of an eight-inch or ten-inch knife? Rarely, if at all."

"Acknowledging that any blade could cause injury, the judge pointed out "slash wounds are rarely fatal."

So, he said: "I would urge all those with any role in relation to knives - manufacturers, shops, the police, local authorities, the government - to consider preventing the sale of long pointed knives, except in rare, defined, circumstances, and replacing such knives with rounded ends.

"It might even be that the police could organise a programme whereby the owners of kitchen knives, which have been properly and lawfully bought for culinary purposes, could be taken somewhere to be modified, with the points being ground down into rounded ends," he said.

Office for National statistics figures published in February revealed 215 fatal stabbings had been recorded by police in the 12 months to March 2017.

This was on par with the previous year's 212 stabbing deaths but a marked increase on the 186 in the year to March 2015.

The latest figures show ten 16 or 17 year olds lost their lives in the year to March 2017, as well as 51 people aged between 18 and 24. The combined total is the highest since 2008/9.

In the first 100 days of 2018, 53 people were killed in the capital alone, many of them victims of knife crime.

New tougher sentencing guidelines for knife crime were introduced in March, with gang membership or carrying a concealed weapon both identified as aggravating factors which can increase a jail term handed down for a knife offence.

The Sentencing council said the reforms were intended to "reflect Parliament's concern about the social problem of offenders carrying knives."

Knife possession has soared in the last four years

Police-record crimes for possession of article with blade or point in England and Wales
(Annual figure for April to March)

2009 : 13,985
2010 : 10,885
2011 : 10,474
2012 :  9,762
2013 :  8,425
2014 :  9,050
2015 :  9,876
2016 : 11,493
2017 : 14,171

(16th July 2018)


A&Es TREAT YOUNG KNIFE VICTIMS UP TO 5 TIMES BEFORE THEY DIE IN ATTACK
(London Evening Standard, dated 13th June 2017 author Justin Davenport)
www.standard.co.uk [Option 1]

Victims of serious or fatal knife attacks have usually attended local A&E units up to "four or five times" before with less serious injuries, a charity leader warned today.

John Poyton, chief executive of Redthread, called for earlier intervention by agencies to catch young people before they become involved in serious violence.

His charity deals with about 200 young people a month who are treated at London's four major trauma centres for serious assault injuries, mostly from gun or knife violence.

Its youth workers meet victims, mostly aged 16 or 17, as they are brought in by ambulance or helicopter and, if the patient survives, try to help them turn their lives around.

Mr Poyton said: "By the time a kid comes in as a major trauma patient having been stabbed they will have attended four or five times at their local A&E with a number of previous injuries and, anecdotally, those injuries will be rising in severity."

He said he feared that early stages of violence were being missed or ignored when young people walk into hospitals with more minor injuries. "We should be asking have they had a beating or have they got involved as a perpetrator of violence," he said. "We see lots of broken knuckles, for instance, there is an anecdotal spiral of violence."

The charity hopes to expand to more A&Es in London in an effort to intervene earlier.

Police have seen a 24 per cent rise in knife crime in the capital in the past 12 months, and nine youngsters have died in stabbings this year.

Redthread youth workers operate in shifts at the four trauma centres: St Mary's in Paddington, St George's in Tooting, King's College in Denmark Hill, and with the St Giles Trust at the Royal London in Whitechapel.

Mr Poyton said the youth workers engage with victims and can also help the doctors and nurses who are treating them: "This cohort of patient, adolescent men, are often quite a difficult group to treat because they are scared, worried, and that can come across as angry, possibly abusive."

But he said the youngsters are often in a "teachable moment" when they are seriously injured in a hospital.

"We find young people who are known to services such as the Westminster Gangs Unit and have been offered support for years but have refused to engage. But when they are aware of their own vulnerability they are more open to how they can change their lives."

The charity has seen a rise in youngsters with knife injuries, many arriving at hospital in school uniform.

Mr Poyton welcomed police statistics showing that 75 per cent of young people carrying knives were not involved in gangs. "These are children who are doing normal things but getting caught up in violence," he said.

(1st September 2017)


MET CHARGES 2709 PEOPLE WITH CARRYING KNIFE IN JUST ONE YEAR
(London Evening Standard, dated 19th June 2017 author Justin Davenport)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/met-charges-2709-people-with-carrying-a-knife-in-just-one-year-a3567986.html

Police have charged more than 2,700 people with possessing knives in the capital in the past year, Scotland Yard said today.

The figure was revealed as the Met launched a new crackdown on criminals and gangs carrying knives in London.

Officers will conduct weapon sweeps and operations to confiscate knives and target hundreds of known knife carriers.

The Met said that since May last year, a total of 2,709 individuals had been charged with possessing knives - about 85 per cent of the number arrested for the offence.

A total of 474 people were given cautions for possession. Police did not give further details of why they were not charged.

Police also released an image of a so-called zombie knife, a type of weapon which is now banned from sale, which was seized in Lambeth.

Last month, police launched a 100-strong taskforce to combat a 24 per cent increase in knife crime in London over the 12 months to April. Specialist squads were deployed to outbreaks of violence.

This week, in the latest phase of the Operation Sceptre initiative, the taskforce, a mix of detectives and uniform officers, will be out in force in areas with high rates of weapon attacks.

Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Sean Yates, the deputy head of Operation Sceptre, said: "We need to change attitudes to carrying knives and are encouraging key people in positions of influence to drive this messaging forward.

"The introduction of the taskforce, working closely with boroughs, allows us to create a more co-ordinated and consistent approach to reducing knife crime by carrying out intense weapon sweeps, intelligence-led stop and search and tackling those offenders who are wanted in connection with knife-related offences and violent crime.

"This type of activity is essential and has a real impact; however it will only ever be part of the solution."

He added: "We are starting to see a mobilisation from the community against knife crime and we need this to continue."

Earlier phases of the operation led to the seizure of 29 knives, one electric shock baton, knuckle-dusters, ammonia spray and one firearm.

City of London and British Transport Police will also be taking part in Operation Sceptre for the first time this week.

(1st September 2017)


SCOTLAND YARD CREATES SQUAD TO TACKLE KNIFE CRIME
(London Evening Standard, dated 3rd May 2017 author Justin Davenport)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/met-police-creates-crack-squad-to-tackle-knife-crime-as-another-man-is-stabbed-to-death-in-london-a3529171.html

Scotland Yard today launched an 80-strong task force to tackle the epidemic of soaring knife crime as another young man was stabbed to death in London.

A squad of covert and uniform officers is to be deployed to trouble spots at a moment's notice to curb flare ups of violence across the capital.

The moves comes as police are battling a 24 per cent rise in knife crime in London amid a stream of stabbings and murders across the city.

In the latest incident a 23-year-old man died after staggering into Barnet Hospital with stab injuries at 7.30pm last night. He received emergency treatment but died an hour later.

Detectives believe he was attacked in Masefield Crescent, Southgate before being driven to hospital. There have been no arrests.

In another incident last night a 17-year-old was repeatedly stabbed in a suspected gang related attack outside the Arcola Theatre in Dalston.

The teenager was first described as critically injured but his condition this morning was described as stable.

Last week six men were killed in knife attacks in London and a total of 17 men under the age of 25 have died in stabbings this year.

Today the Met launched the eighth phase of its Operation Sceptre campaign against knife crime with details of a new squad to tackle violence and a series of measures aimed at deterring crime with a focus on working with schools.

Police say they are also rolling out a more community-led approach to tackle stabbings with elements taken from a US anti-gang strategy called the Boston Ceasefire project.

One new approach is to recruit role models and leaders from within communities to deliver anti-crime messages to young people at risk.

Detective Chief Superintendent Michael Gallagher, the operational head of the Sceptre campaign, said: "We are pushing initiatives and messages which are delivered by communities.

"It used to be the police who delivered these messages but now we are trying to get community representatives to put them across.

"The group we are trying to influence don't want to hear messages from people like me, it will have far more impact if it comes from a mum or someone who is a role model for that group of Londoners."

Among the role models is a street pastor from north London and a mother with a strong links to the local community.

DCS Gallagher said: "These individuals are out there in our communities, they can be anyone. I am meeting more and more people who want to do something about it. Communities are coming to us and saying 'What can we do? These are our kids.'"

Over 900 activities are planned in London in a week of action which will include intelligence-led stop and search to target known knife offenders, weapons sweeps of estates and parks and initiatives in schools to divert young people from knife crime.

DCS Gallagher, the current commander of Brent police, said the Sceptre Task Force of 40 covert officers and 40 uniform police was being deployed to boroughs with the worst record of stabbings.

The squad, which was used in Croydon and Tower Hamlets yesterday, will support local police, carry out high visibility patrols and deploy covert teams in hotspots of knife crime.

The unit, whose officers are being drawn from boroughs, is expected to become a permanent fixture in the fight against knife crime. 

DCS Gallagher said : "This is a cohort of officers that I can drop into an area to have a fast time impact, virtually immediately. It is about protecting kids.

"We will review where it deploys on a day to day basis. We have to be flexible because this is not a predictable challenge we have."

He said the officers would be carrying out stop and search activity but said it would be done with "dignity and respect" and local community members would be encouraged to accompany patrols.

Academics, researchers form the University of London and the Office of National Statistics are also being employed by the Met to examine crime data in a bid to understand what is driving the surge in knife crime.

DCS Gallagher said: "What is clear is that it is not just the victim who is vulnerable, what is becoming quite clear is that the suspect cohort come from a chaotic background.

"It is not just driven by socio-economics, there are also mental health issues and some real vulnerability which has put them into that space of carrying or using knives."

He said the research showed that both knife victims and suspects came from the same group adding: "This is not a black or a white thing, it is a crime thing. "Regardless of ethnicity, it is about understanding  the problem.

"What I need to know is have we had a cultural shift, is it because we have a rising youth population or is it because there is more of a criminal violent element in society at the moment."

He added: "It is a huge concern. We need to understand exactly what is going on. Hopefully, the research will give us a better idea of how to tackle this problem with the resources we have got."

KNIFE CRIME IN LONDON
Source : Met Police statistics

n = Knife crime (n) = Fatal [n] = Serious <n> = total injuries

Barking and Dagenham   : 618 (3) [34] <140>
Barnet                 : 613 (2) [23] <120>
Bexley                 : 345 (1) [15] <64>
Brent                  : 797 (2) [61] <204>
Bromley                : 463 (0) [20] <93>
Camden                 : 558 (4) [28] <111>
Croydon                : 1026 (60) [61] <190>
Ealing                 : 749 (4) [48] <196>
Enfield                : 746 (1) [38] <136>
Greenwich              : 606 (1) [33] <151>
Hackney                : 939 (0) [56] <188>
Hammersmith and Fulham : 408  (2) [12] <75>
Haringey               : 1001 (4) [45] <199>
Harrow                 : 308 (1) [21] <93>
Havering               : 421 (1) [13] <71>
Hillingdon             : 474 (2) [31] <94>
Hounslow               : 574 (1) [32] <133>
Islington              : 757 (3) [57] <161>
Kensington and Chelsea : 497 (1) [34] <83>
Kingston upon Thames   : 138 (1) [8] <34>
Lambeth                : 1156 (1) [80] <247>
Lewisham               : 910 (4) [51] <190>
Merton                 : 324 (1) [21] <68>
Newham                 : 1165 (3) [63] <246>
Redbridge              : 578 (2) [30] <131>
Richmond upon Thames   : 186 (0) [10] <30>
Southwark              : 1258 (3) [63] <237>
Sutton                 : 232 (0) [13] <37>
Tower Hamlets          : 1087 (2) [52] <195>
Waltham Forest         : 701 (0) [35] <130>
Wandsworth             : 510 (3) [30] <108>
Westminster           :

(1st June 2017)


VIOLENT CRIME RISING IN ENGLAND AND WALES, POLICE FIGURES SHOW
(The Guardian, dated 27th April 2017 author Alan Travis)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/apr/27/violent-rising-england-wales-police-figures-ons

There have been "small but genuine" increases in murder and other violent crimes, including 13-14% increases in gun and knife crime in 2016, according to the latest police-recorded crime figures.

The Office for National Statistics said the police data showed a 9% rise in overall crime in 2016, but that had to be viewed alongside the more authoritative crime survey of England and Wales, which showed an apparent 5% fall over the same period. These figures do, however, show an increase in violent crime, with a 10% rise in robberies, a 35% increase in public order offences and a 12% rise in sexual offences, including rapes.

The English and Welsh police figures include an apparently alarming 21% rise in the number of murders, up 121 to 697, but the figures include 96 cases of manslaughter at Hillsborough in 1989. Once those are excluded the increase is much lower, at 4%.

The police data also shows a 19% rise in offences involving violence against the person, but the statisticians say 40% of the increase is accounted for by the inclusion of certain types of harassment offences for the first time.

The ONS says the police figures show "small but genuine increases in some types of high-harm but small-volume violent crime". They include a 13% increase in gun crime to 5,864 incidents, driven by greater criminal use of handguns and shotguns. These figures are confirmed by ambulance response records.

The police figures also show a similar 14% rise in knife crime, with improvements in police-recording practices contributing to the increase.

"There were also small increases in some offences where recording practices are less likely to have been a driving factor," the ONS said. "For example, it is likely that recent rises in burglary and robbery reflect some genuine increases in crime. However, these recent increases should be seen in the context of substantial falls in such crime over the longer-term."

The crime survey of England and Wales, based on the public's experiences, estimated there were 6.1m offences in 2016 - a fall of 5% from the previous year.

There were a further 11.5m offences of fraud, online crime and computer misuses in 2016, which experimental statistics suggest is rising.

"The police recorded a total of 4.8m offences in the year ending December 2016, an annual rise of 9%. However, the large volume increases driving this trend are thought to reflect changes in recording processes and practices rather than crime," the statisticians said.

Both surveys showed continuing large declines in domestic burglary (down 7%), car theft (9%) and bicycle thefts (10%).

Ch Con Bill Skelly, of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said the figures showed total levels of crime were broadly stable compared with recent years. Police forces continued to see increases driven by better recording procedures and improved victim confidence in coming forward to report crimes such as domestic violence and non-recent sexual abuse.

"There are some genuine increases that police forces across the country are responding to, particularly with regard to 14% rise in knife crime and 13% increase in firearms offences. The trend, which had been declining for many years but has now begun to climb more sharply, is a key priority for the police service. Forces will continue to target habitual offenders and conduct wide-ranging proactive operations to seize thousands of illegal weapons before they can be used to cause harm," Skelly said.

"The experimental statistics also highlight the complex picture around fraud and computer misuse, with significant increases and an estimated 5.4m incidents occurring in the past 12 months. Police forces are working with partners locally and nationally to strengthen people's defences against online crime and develop new tactics and capabilities for digital policing to tackle the cyber threat."

(1st June 2017)


BRITAIN HIT BY SURGE IN VIOLENT CRIME : SENIOR OFFICERS CRITICISED FOR IGNORING BASICS AS GUN AND KNIFE OFFENCES SOAR
(The Telegraph, dated 12th April 2017 authors Gordon Rayner, Kate McCann, Martin Evans)
Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/12/britain-hit-surge-violent-crime-senior-officers-criticised-ignoring/

Britain is in the grip of a sudden surge in violent crime, Scotland Yard warned yesterday, amid criticism of senior officers.

Following years of decline in gun and knife crime, the Metropolitan Police reported a leap in recorded offences in the capital, with gun crime rising by 42 per cent year on year and knife crime up by 24 per cent.

Sex offences, robberies and assaults also increased.

The force said the pattern was being repeated around the country and referred to "significant reductions in resources" in its official explanation of the figures.

It also blamed "increased demand" on its officers caused by issues including "child protection and mental health".

The warning from the force came just days after the Met's new commissioner, Cressida Dick, started her job. The figures were pro-actively released by Scotland Yard and will be seen as an attempt by Ms Dick to press the Government over budget cuts.

But critics pointed out that in recent years the Met and other forces have together wasted tens of millions of pounds on high-profile pursuits of celebrities, journalists and politicians that went nowhere, and said resourcing must not be used as an "excuse".

Meanwhile, an official report published by HM Inspector of Constabulary yesterday said the Met's approach to dealing with serious and organised crime was "not as effective as it could be".

Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, the Met officer responsible for territorial policing, said: "We are concerned about the rise of gun crime and rise of knife crime offences committed by young people and the changing nature of the offenders.

"Young people carrying knives are doing so for a variety of reasons including status, criminality and self-protection, but only around a quarter are affiliated with gangs.

"There is a phenomenon of people feeling that you need to carry a knife to be safe. There is a lot greater sense that 'I need this to protect myself'. The problem comes when you then get a confrontation."

Colin Sutton, a retired detective chief inspector who solved some of the Met's most notorious cases, said a decision to reduce "stop and search", as well as mis-spent resources, was the real reason for the crime wave. He said: "The priorities seem to have gone a little bit awry in recent years. Things that do not impact the lives of the majority of people have been given too much emphasis."

Last year Scotland Yard closed down its £15?million Operation Elveden inquiry into journalistic sources which ended with every journalist who was tried being cleared of wrongdoing. The force also spent £25?million on its phone hacking probe and £2.5?million investigating an alleged Westminster paedophile ring before it was forced to apologise and accept that the allegations were baseless.

In January, the then Commissioner of the Met, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said the "warning lights are flashing" after official figures showed that violent crime was on the increase nationally.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that knife crime was up by 11 per cent to more than 30,000 and gun crime had risen by 7 per cent to more than 5,400 recorded incidents. Overall, crime was up by ?8 per cent to 4.7?million, according to the ONS, driven largely by a 22 per cent increase in violence against the person.

David Winnick MP, a Labour member of the Commons Home Affairs select committee, said: "It is a very serious concern that knife crime is undoubtedly increasing and the victims in so many instances are very young, often in their teens. Under-funding of the police is a problem... but nevertheless that mustn't be some kind of excuse for not dealing with this increased plague of knife crime."

A Home Office spokesman said: "Every violent crime is a significant concern and this Government is taking action to tackle it and keep our communities safe. Last year, we banned zombie knives, extended our work with retailers to prevent underage sales of knives and supported police in a week of action where they seized more than 1,200 weapons and made 300 arrests.

"We know there is more to be done. We will continue to work with the police, retailers and voluntary groups to tackle knife crime and ensure support is available for victims of gang violence and exploitation."

Violence against the person offences recorded in England and Wales over the last four years

2013 : 604,123
2014 : 699,832
2015 : 882,921
2016 : 1,075,511

Source : Police recorded crime, Home Office, ONS

(1st June 2017)


THREE PEOPLE KILLED OR SERIOUSLY INJURED EACH DAY BY KNIVES LAST YEAR
(London Evening Standard, dated 21st February 2017 author Hatty Collier)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/revealed-three-people-killed-or-seriously-injured-by-knives-last-year-in-london-a3471366.html

The shocking scale of knife crime in London was revealed today as new figures showed three people were killed or seriously injured in stabbings on the streets of the capital each day in 2016.

The Met statistics showed 60 people were stabbed to death last year, while 1,159 sustained serious injuries.

In total officers dealt with 21,365 knife crimes, including domestic assaults involving knives and gang attacks, in London in the 12 months of 2016.

The statistics, obtained by the Standard under Freedom of Information rules, show the total number of knife crimes rose by 17 per cent last year compared to 2015 when there were 59 deaths, 1,089 serious injuries and 18,202 less serious offences.

Last year, 4,316 people were threatened or injured with a knife or other sharp instrument compared with 3,846 in 2015, a 12 per cent increase.

Senior Scotland Yard detectives say they have managed to reduce gang-related knife crime but there is concern more young people are carrying knives for their own protection.

Police are now expanding tactics used by specialist squads, such as checks on retailers and weapon sweeps, to patrol officers in boroughs.

Southwark is the worst affected borough with 1,258 knife-related offences followed by Newham with 1,165 and Lambeth with 1,156.

They are followed by Tower Hamlets (1,087) and Croydon (1,026).

In terms of injuries, Lambeth had the worst record last year with one death and 246 people injured closely followed by Newham which recorded three murders and 243 people injured. Croydon recorded the highest knife related murder rate with six deaths.

So far this year five people have been stabbed to death in London including teenagers Djodjo Nsaka, 19, a university student from Streatham and 15-year-old school boy Quamari Barnes from Harlesden.

Quamari Barnes, a pupil at Capital City Academy, was stabbed to death aged just 15

Patrick Green, manager of the Ben Kinsella Trust, set up in the wake of the murder of 16-year-old Ben Kinsella in Islington in 2008, said the statistics confirmed their "worst fears".

He said: "This data shows that in the last year more families have lost a loved one and more victims are having to rebuild their lives after a serious injury.

"If these crime figures tell us anything it is that we can't sit back and watch this problem continue to grow, tackling knife crime has to be the policing priority for London."

Barry Mizen, 65, whose 16-year-old son Jimmy was murdered in Lee in 2008, said : "The stark reality of what these figures convey should be alarming to all of us.

Djodjo Nsaka was stabbed to death in Wembley

"The collateral damage and the impact on people's lives following these incidents can be huge. Hand on heart I don't think much has changed.

"I don't doubt that there are good intentions but we need to sit down and think about what we can do to tackle this."

Sophie Linden, the deputy mayor for policing and crime, said: "Every death on the streets of London is an utter tragedy, and the Mayor and I are deeply concerned about the rise in knife crime in the capital."

She said she was working with knife retailers to explore what could be done to reduce the underage sale of knives.

She added :"We've got to work with communities, schools and the young people themselves to spread the message that carrying a knife is more likely to ruin your life than save it."

Detective Chief Superintendent Kevin Southworth said police were constantly reviewing tactics on tackling knife crime.

He added: "The most recent phase of Operation Sceptre in January involved nearly 900 activities across the capital and we have similar proactive activity planned throughout the year."

Knife crime in London 2016 by London Borough
(Source : Met Police Statistics)

n : Fatal [n] : Serious (n) : Moderate

Barking and Dagenham :
Barnet : 2 [23] (34)
Bexley : 1 [15] (17)
Brent : 2 [61] (52)
Bromley : 0 [20] (28)
Camden : 4 [28] (32)
Croydon : 6 [61] (59)
Ealing : 4 [48] (52)
Enfield : 1 [38] (40)
Greenwich : 1 [33] (53)
Hackney : 0 [56] (55)
Hammersmith and Fulham : 2 [12] (17)
Haringey : 4 [45] (55)
Harrow : 1 [21] (24)
Havering : 1 [13] (19)
Hillingdon : 2 [31] (16)
Hounslow : 1 [32] (49)
Islington : 3 [57] (37)
Kensington and Chelsea : 1 [34] (14)
Kingston upon Thames : 1 [8] (14)
Lambeth : 1 [80] (71)
Lewisham : 4 [51] (59)
Merton : 1 [21] (16)
Newham : 3 [63] (80)
Redbridge : 2 [30] (33)
Richmond upon Thames : 0 [10] (10)
Southwark : 3 [63] (86)
Sutton : 0 [13] (8)
Tower Hamlets : 2 [52] (43)
Waltham Forest : 0 [35] (45)
Wandsworth : 3 [30] (25)
Westminster : 1 [41] (44)

uaware note : For full data on knife crime see the actual Evening Standard article.

(1st March 2017)


SAMURAI SWORDS AND DEADLY THROWING BLADES AMONG HUNDREDS OF KNIVES HANDED INTO POLICE IN LEAFY STOCKBROKER-BELT
(The Telegraph, dated 22nd February 2017 author Telegraph Reporters)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/22/samurai-swords-deadly-throwing-blades-among-hundreds-knives/

An incredible array of dangerous weapons has been removed from the leafy streets of stockbroker-belt Surrey as part of an amnesty into knife-crime.

Samurai swords and deadly throwing blades were among hundreds of knives which were handed into the police from one of the country's most affluent counties.

An average of one weapon was handed in every three hours for a month as part of a Surrey Police amnesty campaign which ended this month.

A spokesman for the force who on Wednesday released this photograph of the 237-strong haul of weapons which were handed in from police stations across Surrey said they will now be donated to a controversial national art campaign.

"The force encouraged knife owners to 'save a life, surrender your knife' anonymously, by depositing blades in knife bins at Guildford, Reigate, Staines and Woking police stations," said the police spokesman.

"All knives surrendered as part of the amnesty will now be given to the British Ironwork Centre and used in a spectacular 27 foot tall 'Knife Angel' by artist Alfie Bradley in memory of those whose lives have been tragically lost to knife crime."

Surrey Police Superintendent Bex Smith added: "I'm pleased that so many people have taken this opportunity to get these potentially deadly weapons safely off our streets. Thank you if you have made the decision to hand in your weapon - your action has the potential to save a life.

"If carrying a knife is still a temptation for you, our message is clear: it isn't cool, it won't protect you - in fact you're more likely to be hurt yourself - and we will arrest and prosecute you if we catch you. Please think twice before taking a knifeout with you."

The creation of the "Knife Angel" sculpture has divided opinion among families of the victims of knife crime across the country.

The sculpture will be made of more than 100,000 knives collected in amnesties from 43 police forces and some have carved the names of their loved ones on to blades to be used in it.

Other victims' families have, however, criticised the monument ahead of its planned tour of the country, including standing in Trafalgar Square in London, with a Facebook group set up called "Say no to the knife angel".

(1st March 2017)


THE DEADLIEST WEAPONS SEIZED BY POLICE DURING CLAMPDOWN ON KNIVES
(London Evening Standard, dated 26th January 2017 author Justin Davenport)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/revealed-the-deadliest-weapons-seized-by-police-during-clampdown-on-knives-a3450231.html#gallery

It comes as it was revealed 11 people are injured in knife attacks every day. A terrifying array of weapons seized by police after just two days of a purge on knife crime in London.

Officers seized the knives in more than 200 'weapon sweeps' in the seventh phase of the Operation Sceptre crackdown on knife crime across London.

More than 49 knives, six guns, 129 rounds of ammunition and 23 offensive weapons were recovered in the searches.

Among them were a zombie knife found in Newham, hunter knives with deadly serrated edges, a machete and other knives found in a park in Hounslow and ordinary kitchen knives.

Commander Jim Stokley, head of the Met's Gangs and Organised Crime Command, said the weapons had been "put down" by gangs on estates and hidden so they could be picked up and used in attacks or clashes with rivals.

The seizures came as figures obtained by the Standard showed that 4,151 people were injured by knives in London in the 12 months to October last year, an average of 11 people being injured in knife attacks each day in London.

The figures obtained by a Freedom of Information request show 63 people were killed by knives over the same period. A total of 1,115 people suffered serious injuries.

The statistics came as police also revealed that intelligence showed that just a quarter of all knife crime in London is now linked to gangs.

Police believe tactics used by the Trident gang unit has driven down gang related knife crime but more young people with no links to crime are carrying knives in a mistaken view that they are protecting themselves. 

The latest police figures show knife crime is rising by 14 per cent year on year.

Commander Stokely, whose command includes the Trident unit, told the Standard : "There was a strong link with gangs around knife crime but because of the strong tactics that Trident we have seen a reduction in gang related knife crime uses over the last 18 months to the point now where it is under a quarter of knife crime."

He spoke as a teenager continued to be questioned by police in connection with the knife murder of 15-year-old Quamari Barnes outside the school he attended in Willesden.

Detectives do not believe the attack was gang-related.

Commander Stokely said tactics used by Trident were now being rolled out to all Met boroughs to tackle a wider issue of knife crime.

He said these would include weapon sweeps and test purchases on retail stores to check they were not selling knives to children.

Commander Stokely said: "We are doing everything we can do, all the men and women on the command, to reduce the threats that knives pose.

"The difficulty with knives is that they are so easy to get hold of and everyone, not just the police, has a role to play, whether it is friends, teachers or parents, everyone has a role to play.

"Statistically if you take a knife with you, you are more likely to be stabbed as is the person with you. We are just trying to hammer that message home."

----------------------

THOUSANDS OF KNIFE CRIME VICTIMS AGED 18 OR YOUNGER
(BBC News, dated 25th January 2017 author Ed Thomas)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38752258

A BBC investigation has revealed the extent of knife crime across the UK. Figures show that a knife or blade was used in a crime every 16 minutes on average last year.

The number of incidents involving machetes has risen by more than 60% over the last 3 years in England and Wales according to Freedom of Information request responses from just over half of police forces.

Knife crime across England and Wales is up 11% in the last year and nearing levels of five years ago.

The Home Office says knife crime remains below levels in 2010 but it recognises there is more to be done.

(1st February 2017)


MET CHIEF ISSUES WARNING OVER RISE IN MURDER AND KNIFE OFFENCES
(The Guardian, dated 19th January 2017 author Alan Travis)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jan/19/crime-figures-show-and-knife-offences-rising-ons-england-wales

The Metropolitan police commissioner has declared that the "warning lights are flashing" as the latest official figures confirmed a rise in violent crime across England and Wales, particularly in murder and knife crime.

Violent crime in England and Wales has risen by 22%, including "genuine but small" increases in murder and knife crime, and overall crime rose by 8% in the 12 months to September, according to police recorded crime figures.

The quarterly crime figures published by the Office for National Statistics also report industry data showing a 39% increase in fraud involving UK-issued debit and credit cards to 1.9m.

The Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW), which is based on interviews with people about their experience of crime, however, shows no statistically significant rise in violent crime.

For the first time, official estimates of online crime including 3.6m fraud offences and 2m computer misuse offences have been included in the headline crime survey estimate, giving a total of 11.8m estimated offences in England and Wales in the year to September. This compares with the 4.7m offences recorded by the police - a rise of 8%.

The ONS said while the police recorded an annual rise of 22% in violence against the person offences, the increases were largely driven by changes in recording processes and the inclusion of additional harassment offences within the series.

However, the official statisticians said there did appear to be genuine smaller increases in some of the lower volume but higher harm categories of police recorded violence including homicide and knife crime.

The Met commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said: "After the last few years when we have reduced crime significantly in London, as you'll have seen from the crime figures today, the warning lights are flashing. The number of traditional crimes is rising, including in London, and the scale of online crime and fraud is just becoming apparent.

"The mayor of London said this week that inadequate funding will make it 'near impossible to maintain the number of police on our streets.' He's worried. I'm worried."

Hogan-Howe added: "But the previous chancellor, George Osborne, said in 2015 that 'there will be real terms protection for police funding. The police protect us, and we're going to protect the police'. I know people were pleased to hear that commitment, and I'm sure this government will want to honour that promise to Londoners."

John Flatley, head of ONS crime statistics and analysis, said: "In its 35-year history, the crime survey has charted changing trends in crimes experienced by the population. In the past burglary and theft of vehicles were the high-volume crimes driving trends but their numbers have fallen substantially since then. When the CSEW started, fraud was not considered a significant threat and the internet had yet to be invented.

"Today's figures demonstrate how crime has changed, with fraud now the most commonly experienced offence. However, it should be emphasised that the new headline figures, including fraud and computer misuse, are not comparable with those from earlier years."

The detailed figures show a 22% rise in the murder rate in England and Wales to 695 homicides, 125 more than the previous year. However, this increase includes the 96 people killed in the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 which have been recorded as manslaughter. The ONS said the rise in the murder rate was 5% if the Hillsborough deaths were excluded.

The quarterly police recorded crime figures also show an 11% increase in knife crime to 30,838 offences. While the statisticians say there are reporting and recording issues involved in police recorded crime figures, they say the recent increase in knife crime is supported by NHS A&E data showing a 13% increase in hospital admissions for knife wounds.

Knife crime has risen over the past two years, but the ONS says the current level remains below that of 2011, which was followed by a three-year decline.

The majority of police forces (35 of the 44) recorded a rise in offences involving knives and sharp instruments compared with the previous year. The largest contributor to the total rise was the Metropolitan police (accounting for 15% of the increase)," said the ONS.

The figures also show an increase of 12% in sexual offences recorded by the police in the latest year - up to 112,021 offences - including a 13% rise in rape to 37,813 attacks compared with the previous year. But the ONS says police recorded crime data does not currently provide a reliable indication of trends in sexual offences, and the increases are believed to have resulted in part from an improvement in the recording of sexual offences by the police.

The ONS said the CSEW showed the proportion of adults who had been victims of sexual assaults in the last year had not significantly changed at 2% and had been at the same level since 2009.

The crime survey figures show that younger women were more likely to be victims of domestic abuse than other groups with 11.9% of women aged 16 to 19 reporting offences between the end of March 2014 and the end of March 2016.

In comparison, 6.1% of all adults and 6.9% of men aged 16 to 19 were victims of domestic abuse for the same time period.

uware comment

Online banking started in 1983 by the Bank of Scotland, the earliest mobile banking started in 1999. So it has taken the Crime Survey for England and Wales 36 years to determine whether fraud could be carried out using those mediums. There excuse "Its new technology" !

(1st February 2017)


KNIFE CRIME : WHY ARE MORE YOUTHS CARRYING KNIVES ?
(BBC News, dated 8th December 2016 author Lesley Ashmall)

Full article : www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38237496

BBC Victoria Derbyshire programme

Knife crime is on the rise across the UK, particularly in London, and police say most of those caught carrying blades have no links to gangs. So why are more young people carrying knives?

"There are situations where your fists aren't going to help you. That's why people carry knives. People are scared."

Dontae, 15, from south-east London, has never been in a gang, although he says he has carried a knife in the past.

He believes boys carry blades because they want protection from each other. "They're thinking, if there is sufficient danger, then I'm going to pull it out, threaten with it then get rid of it. "You can't always roll with your friends. You're not always going to have someone to back you."

Knife crime has risen by 9% across the UK, and in London it has increased by 16% in the past two years.

The police say the type of person involved has changed too. Whereas in the past it was often a gang-related issue, now they estimate 75% of those caught have no connection to gangs. This can make it harder for officers to target those responsible.

Now, a cross-party group of politicians say they are determined to find solutions to the rising level of knife crime on Britain's housing estates.

Set up by Labour MP Vicky Foxcroft, the Youth Violence Commission is meeting with the police, authorities and youngsters to try to find solutions. "We're very much focusing on what we can do as a society, to make sure young people don't carry knives," she says. "It's simply not OK for young people to be going to round stabbing each other."

Ms Foxcroft says the commission will look at punishments and policies such as stop and search, and consider more pastoral options such as more youth clubs and opportunities for young people in inner cities. Its findings will be released in 2017.

LONDON BOROUGHS WITH THE MOST KNIFE CRIME
Source: London Assembly (Figures exclude domestic abuse)

All London boroughs : www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/mayors-office-policing-and-crime-mopac/data-and-research/crime%20/gangs-dashboard
 
Victims of knife injury where patient was aged under 24

Lambeth : 110
Tower Hamlets : 106
Newham : 96
Southwark : 95
Haringey : 92
Croydon : 84
Islington : 81
Hackney : 76
Lewisham : 71
Brent : 70

Malika, who is 17 and also from south-east London, has had two of her friends stabbed to death. One of them was actually killed by another of her friends. She sometimes visits him in jail. "It's really hard to see the victim and the murderer and to know them both," she says. "And you don't really know what happened or how the argument started, but it's just a little argument and one boy has died and the other is in prison."

The problem is overwhelmingly a young male one. In London, 95% of those caught with a knife are male and 60% are under 25 years old. In London this year, 15 people under the age of 25 have been stabbed to death, 10 of them teenagers.

Orlando, another Londoner, is 18 and knows two people in jail for knife crime offences. He thinks the root problem is far deeper. "No-one is born with a knife, but what people are also not born with is purpose. People where we live, we ain't got no purpose," he says. "We don't know our worth."

Tekisha, who is 15, agrees. She says boys try to pretend they are tough. "When you're consistently shown one image, you're going to start to conform to that image," she says. "A lot of young people living in this part of London are conforming to this 'road man' persona, and I know a lot of people who think that, because of where they live, they have to act in a certain way and carry themselves a certain way."

Sentences for knife crime have increased over the past 18 months. Now, if you are an adult and are caught twice with a knife, you will go to jail. If you are under 16, you could be given a custodial sentence but are more likely to get community service. The Sentencing Council is reviewing this and will publish its revised findings next year.

But Dontae says people are not scared of jail.

"People would rather risk it than actually get hurt by the weapon itself," he says. "So for them, going to jail would be a better alternative to them not seeing the next day."

And Malika does not think tougher sentences will help. "It's more about understanding, more opportunities, more deeper understanding of why the young person actually commits the crime," she says. But she says the problem is becoming rife, and she is convinced it is going to get worse.

'Tougher sentences'


Sharon Fearon thinks tougher penalties are the only answer. Her 17-year-old son, Shaquan, was stabbed to death last year. Two teenagers were arrested and the case went to two trials, but on each occasion the jury was hung and the case was dismissed. Sharon feels the system has let her down because no-one has been punished for her son's death.

"What message is this sending out to young people?" she says. "They're just going to carry knives.

"It needs sentence for carrying the knife itself. Straight away, even if you walk with the knife once.

"If kids don't get punishment for carrying knives, how many other mothers will be like me?"

(20th December 2016)


YOUNG KNIFE CRIMINALS WHO FOLM OFFENCES TO SHARE ONLINE MAY FACE TOUGHER SENTENCES
(International Business Times, dated 6th October 2016 author Nandini Krishnamoorthy)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.ibtimes.co.uk/young-knife-criminals-who-film-offences-share-online-may-face-tougher-sentences-1585053

The Sentencing Council has proposed that young knife criminals should face tougher punishments if they film their offences to post them on social media. The draft states that youngsters in England and Wales, who carry knives or blades in public - when in a group - could face longer jail sentences.

The proposal noted that young people film their offence to "deliberately humiliate" victims and listed a number of probable "aggravating factors" for judges and magistrates to consider when deciding a punishment. These include, "deliberate humiliation of victims, including but not limited to filming of the offence, deliberately committing the offence before a group of peers with the intent of causing additional distress or circulating details/photos/videos etc of the offence on social media or within peer group", the Press Association reported.

These factors also include attempts to hide their identity and targeting victims working in the public sector or someone, who they find vulnerable.

Speaking about the proposal, Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said: "Knife crime ruins lives. Our crackdown is working - under this Government more people are being sent to jail for carrying a knife, and for longer. I want those who carry knives to feel the full force of the law. These new guidelines will help ensure sentences reflect the devastation caused to families and communities."

While the new proposals are aimed at bringing about changes to knife crime laws, they do not cover offences where another weapon is used to injure a victim. It also does not include the use or possession of guns.

The Sentencing Council stressed that it was aware of the use of social media to intentionally embarrass victims of knife crimes and that it has increasingly become common practice among young offenders. The council is seeking tougher sentences to help address public concerns as knife crimes are on the rise.

Nearly 29,000 knife-related crimes were recorded in the 12 months up to March 2016, while 7,800 adults and 1,400 young offenders were sentenced for the crime in 2015. The possession of knives and blades also increased from almost 10,000 to 11,500 during the period, BBC reported.

Meanwhile, Council Member and District Judge Richard Williams said: "Too many people are carrying knives and it only takes a moment of anger or drunkenness for one to be pulled out with fatal results or serious injury. Through these guidelines, we want to provide courts with comprehensive, up-to-date guidance to ensure that sentences reflect the seriousness of offending."

Last year, the government introduced a new compulsory "two strikes" jail sentence for adults caught with a knife more than once, who would face a minimum six-month jail term. However, figures have revealed that nearly half of the repeat offenders escaped jail sentences arguing that there were exceptional circumstances to their case.

(1st November 2016)


LONDON KNIFE CRIME IN SHOCKING RISE AS 4000 PEOPLE INJURED BY KNIVES LAST YEAR
(London Evening Standard, dated 6th October 2016 author Justin Davenport)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/revealed-4000-people-were-stabbed-in-london-last-year-a3362201.html

London's epidemic of stabbings and knife injuries is at its highest rate for five years - with 11 people being injured in attacks each day.

The latest Met police statistics show more than 4,000 people suffered knife injuries in the capital in the last 12 months, a rise of 4.4 per cent on the previous 12 month period.

Deputy Mayor for Policing Sophie Linden described the rise as "deeply concerning," saying Mayor Sadiq Khan had called a knife crime summit later this month to tackle the crisis.

The figures also show the number of shootings in London is also rising, though the numbers involved are smaller.

Outgoing Met police chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe told a recent City Hall meeting that the force was worried about the involvement of gang members in the number of stabbings and the casual carrying of knives by young people.

He said while overall knife crime offences were falling, often cases where people reported seeing a blade, more people in London were getting stabbed.

He said : "We have too many casually carrying knives. Most of these events happen in public, they don't appear to be that pre-arranged. Casual or random arguments turn into very serious issues."

Sir Bernard said stabbings involving gangs were often linked to organised crime.  

Figures show the number of young people being stabbed is rising at a rate of five per cent - a total of 1,751 people under the age of 25 suffered knife injuries in the last 12 months, compared to 1,668 over the same period a year ago.

A total of 4,015 people suffered knife crime injuries in the 12 months to August, compared to 3,844 in the previous period, a rise of 4.4 per cent.

The last highest total was in 2011 when they were 4,135 victims of stabbings.

The figures are revealed as the Sentencing Council for England and Wales recommended tougher sentences for people caught carrying knives in the street.

Carrying a knife while in a group or gang, or filming attacks for social media could also spell more jail time.

The Council, who produces guidlines for the judiciary, says it wants sentences to better recognise public concern amid a rise in recorded knife offences.

Justice Minister Sam Gyimah said sentences should reflect the "devastation" caused by knife crime.

Ms Linden said: "Every death or serious injury of a young Londoner is an utter tragedy and the recent rise in knife crime is deeply concerning.

"This is a complex issue that cannot be solved by policing alone, which is why we are working with communities, partner organisations, local authorities, and schools to understand the causes, identify those at greatest risk and intervene more effectively to stop people carrying knives."

Statistics also show that guns were fired 302 times in London in the year to the end of August 2016, 91 more than the previous year There was also a leap of a third in the number of guns fired in the month of August this year compared to June.

There were 46 firearm discharges in both July and August this year.

Sir Bernard said he believed the rise in gun crime was due to an increase in the number of weapons being smuggled into the UK.

The Met seized 714 guns in 2015, including semi-automatic guns, which he said was "worrying".

Sir Bernard said one reason more people were carrying and using knives was the mistaken belief that they would feel safer if they carried a blade, when the opposite is true because often the same weapon was used against them.

The Met chief said he had ordered more stop and searches to be carried out in areas where there were the most stabbings. Figures compiled by the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime show victims under 25 experience half of all knife injury robberies and 48% of all serious knife assault offences.

A Met operation to tackle knife crime launched in October last year had resulted in the seizure of 4,700 knives in London.

The figures were revealed after a series of shocking knife attacks on London's streets.

Last month Ricky Hayden, 27, a celebrities' bodyguard who worked at the wedding of ex-England footballer Peter Crouch, was killed and his father Paul, 46, suffered serious injuries after they confronted four masked men armed with machetes who were allegedly trying to steal a moped outside the family home in Chadwell Heath. One man has been charged with murder.

In August 19-year-old Andre Aderemi became the eighth teenager to be stabbed to death in London this year.

He allegedly suffered multiple stab injuries. Four teenagers have been charged with his murder.

Sixteen people suffered knife injuries at this year's Notting Hill carnival while a teenager who 'stabbed people for fun' when a water fight in Hyde Park exploded into violence is facing years behind bars.

Joshua Clements, 18, has admitted wounding two men with a hunting knife at the London park.

Concern that gangs were increasingly carrying so-called Zombie knives led to a Government ban on the sale knives with 25 inch serrated blades earlier this year.

(1st November 2016)


BLACK PEOPLE SIX TIMES MORE LIKELY THAT WHITES TO BE STOPPED AND SEARCHED
(London Evening Standard, dated 27th October 2016 author Jamie Bullen)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/black-people-six-times-more-likely-than-whites-to-be-stopped-and-searched-a3380736.html

Black people are over six times more likely than whites to be stopped and searched by police, new figures reveal.

Overall use of the controversial powers reduced by more than a quarter across all ethnicities but stops of white people fell more sharply.

Official figures showed those from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups were three times as likely to be stopped and searched as those who are white in 2015/16.

Black people were over six times more likely to be stopped.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd branded the statistics "unacceptable" but added stop and search powers remained "vital" in the fight against crime.

The findings emerged as new standards and training for officers using the tactic will be rolled out.

A Home Office report said the difference between BME and white groups narrowed to twice as likely between the years ending in March 2011 and 2015 but has risen again in the latest year.

It went on: "A similar story has been seen for the black group, which fell from over six times more likely to just over four times more likely between the years ending March 31 2011 and 2015, before rising again to over six times more likely in the year ending March 31 2016."

Labour MP Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said the figures raise "important questions" for the police and the Home Office.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: "The decline in stop and search clearly shows there is some effort to use these police powers more reasonably. But there are clear signs that some communities are being disproportionately targeted.

"The overwhelming majority of all searches result in no further action."

Officers can stop and search people if they have "reasonable grounds" to suspect they are carrying items such as drugs, weapons or stolen property.

Figures showed that 16% of stops led to an arrest, up 2 percentage points from 14% in the previous year.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "The Government is clear that the power of stop and search, when used correctly, is vital in the fight against crime.

"However, when it is misused, stop and search is counter-productive, wastes police time and can have a hugely damaging effect on community confidence.

"While today's statistics show that our stop and search reforms are working, with a continuing fall in the overall number of stops and the highest ever recorded arrest rate, it is completely unacceptable that you are six times more likely to be stopped and searched if you are black than if you are white.

"I am clear that in a Britain that works for everyone, no one should be stopped on the basis of their race or ethnicity."

Further information (uaware)

NEW STOP AND SEARCH TRAINING AND GUIDANCE FOR POLICE

(College for Policing, dated 27th October 2017)

Full article : www.college.police.uk/News/College-news/Pages/Stop-and-search-APP.aspx

Police officers across England and Wales will receive new training and guidance on the use of stop and search.

?The training and guidance will give officers confidence to use their powers legally, fairly, professionally and transparently and help them recognise the potential for unconscious bias.

For the first time, evidence-based standards for training and police practice on stop and search will be set nationally. They will focus on the law, how to decide when to stop and search and how officers handle encounters as part of their continuing professional development.

To create the training the College of Policing undertook the first ever randomised controlled trial on stop and search and involved more than 1,300 officers across six police forces.

The training and guidance will help officers to recognise and challenge unconscious bias in stop and search. Unconscious bias affects everybody's decision-making. It happens when we make quick decisions in ambiguous situations that, without us realising, disadvantage particular groups of people. Our biases are influenced by our background, culture and personal experiences.

Equality and Human Rights Commission involvement

CEO at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Rebecca Hilsenrath said: "Stop and search must be lawful, non-arbitrary, non-discriminatory and based on reasonable suspicion. This is why we commissioned the College of Policing to develop a comprehensive stop and search training programme to help ensure officers meet these obligations.

"We worked closely with the College to develop and design the training to help police officers understand the importance of applying the rules fairly when stopping members of the public.  Doing so is vital in building and maintaining trust between the police and the communities they serve, and increasing public confidence in the police."

(1st November 2016)


"ZOMBIE KNIVES" BAN TO COME INTO FORCE
(BBC News, datd 15th August 2016)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37080682

A ban on the sale of so-called "zombie knives" is set to come into force in England and Wales later this week.

Inspired by horror films, the curved blades with serrated edges are often sold as collectors' items, but police say they are increasingly being carried by criminals.

Last year a north London teenager was killed with one of the weapons.

Safeguarding minister Sarah Newton said the ban would "keep communities safe".

Sold under brand names like "head splitter" and "zombie killer", the weapons can be bought on the internet for as little as £8.

Product descriptions suggest they are for use in horror-film situations like "defending oneself from the undead", or as part of an "apocalypse kit".

The new legislation, banning the sale, manufacture, rental or importation of zombie knives will take effect on Thursday. Anyone caught breaking the law will face up to four years in prison.

In April, 17-year-old Blaise Lewinson was convicted of manslaughter after stabbing teenager Stefan Appleton to death with a zombie knife in Islington, north London.

Following the conviction the Metropolitan Police issued guidance about "zombie" knives:

- There is no specific shape or style, but they are very ornate and intended to shock
- In varying lengths and often with a serrated edge, the knives carry logos or words that glamorise and promote violence
- They can cause greater damage due to their size
- They are being sold as collectors' items online and in some shops

Ms Newton said "zombie killer knives" glamorise violence, cause devastating damage and have "no place whatsoever in our society".

Alf Hitchcock, lead on knife crime at the National Police Chiefs' Council, said police were pleased that legislation had been introduced "early" to tackle the "growing problem" of zombie knives.

He said the "vast majority" of knife crimes involved kitchen knives, but zombie knives had "suddenly become very popular as a sign of bravado in gangs".

"In weapons sweeps we've been finding these weapons on the street, hidden in places for use," he said.

"When we've seen gang videos being uploaded on to the internet they've been bragging about having these knives."

Yvonne Lawson, whose son Godwin was stabbed to death in north London in 2010, welcomed the ban.

Her son was not killed with a zombie knife, but she said she was "terrified" when she first saw one, and said young people could "easily" buy them online.

'Responsible sale'

Morris Bright, of the Local Government Association, said the ban would "help reduce the number of lethal blades in society and stop online retailers unwittingly fuelling criminal activity".

"An industry-backed code of practice on the naming, promotion and packaging of all knives also needs to be created - similar to that of the alcoholic drinks industry - which would promote their responsible sale," he added.

Carrying a knife in public without good reason is already illegal across the UK.

The legal change in England and Wales will outlaw selling, manufacturing, renting or importing zombie knives.

In Northern Ireland, Justice Minister Claire Sugden has said action is being taken to ban zombie knives.

A Scottish government spokeswoman said: "While we are not aware of any specific incidents in Scotland of 'zombie knives' being carried or used, we do keep the law in relation to knives under review and will consider carefully whether further steps are necessary in this area."

She said zombie knives were covered by existing laws on possessing weapons in public and restrictions on selling "any knife in such a way which suggests it can be used in combat or violent behaviour".

Knife crime statistics

There has been a 12% decrease in crimes involving knives in the last five years, according to police figures for England and Wales.

However, police recorded 28,664 such offences in 2015-16 - a 10% rise on the previous 12 months.

There were 214 suspected homicides in England and Wales where a knife or sharp instrument was used in 2015-16. The number of deaths has varied between 187 and 237 in the past five years.

Crime in England and Wales: year ending Mar 2016 :

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/crimeinenglandandwales/yearendingmar2016

(1st September 2016)


POLICE CALLED TO 9000 KNIFE CRIMES IN JUST ONE YEAR
(London Evening Standard, dated 30th May 2016 author Hatty Collier)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/revealed-police-called-to-9000-knife-crimes-in-just-one-year-a3257891.html

Police were called to more than 9,000 knife crimes in London in the past year alone, shock new figures show.

Some 1,623 victims under the age of 25 including 866 teenagers were stabbed, according to the data released by Scotland Yard.

Twelve teenagers were knifed to death and 291 people were seriously injured in the 12 months from April 1 last year, police said.

Young musician Myron Yarde, 17, became the latest teenager to lose his life to knife crime when he was stabbed to death in New Cross, south-east London on April 4.

Just a month later, Rukevwe Tadafe, 21, was fatally knifed less than three miles away in Lewisham town centre. The pair shared mutual friends. 

During the Met's most recent operation to tackle knife crime, police made 439 arrests, 82 of which were for possession of a knife or an offensive weapon.

A total of 194 knives and offensive weapons were seized by officers during the seven-day operation from April 25.

The 9,000 knife crimes from April 2015 to April 2016 amount to about 25 a day on average.

The figures have been released as part of an online campaign by young police cadets to encourage Londoners to pledge their support to stop knife crime using the hashtag :
#ChooseALifeNotAKnife.

Striking posters and a video highlighting the impact of knife crime were produced by the cadets from Redbridge and the Met's Youth Council.

Sixteen-year-old police cadet Olivia, who appears in the posters, explained why she got involved in the campaign.

"For young people it can be quite scary for them to log onto social media and see that there has been yet another victim of a stabbing or that someone has been killed just down the road," she told the Standard.

"I was shocked when I saw the numbers. A lot of people carry knives for self-defence and think they are safer carrying one. It's not something that they should have to turn to protect themselves."

Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh, of the Met's Youth Council, said: "This project came about as they like many Londoners have had enough of violence.

"They wanted to create some energy and through informed discussion discourage people from carrying knives."

He added: "All they ask is, for every young person to start having a discussion about how we stop the needless violence and tragic deaths of young people.

"If this campaign stops one person from carrying a knife it will have been a success."

To watch the video and find out more about the campaign :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4nTYljVSFo

(1st June 2016)


LONDON'S NEW VIOLENT CRIME HOTSPOTS
(London Evening Standard, datd 5th May 2016 author Justin Davenport)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/londons-new-crime-hotspots-revealed-a3240796.html

Data collected from hospital A&E departments in London has revealed dramatic new hotspots of violent crime in the capital.

Anonymous intelligence collected from victims of knife crime and violence shows different results from the picture painted by police figures.

The data is collected under a scheme to cut violent crime in which intelligence from A&E hospitals is shared with police and local authorities.

So far, 17 hospital departments in London are involved in the data sharing scheme, which allows police to create maps of violent crime hotspots and plan strategies to tackle them. 

Researchers say the results also reveal new information about weapon use and gang violence.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, the architect of the original violence reduction scheme in Cardiff, said: "The data reveals new hotspots in London not apparent from the police data.

"Also the surprise for me is that it has clearly got relevance for understanding gang violence. This is useful for identifying gang violence hotspots. People who are injured do not want to go to the police, but they do go to get their injuries treated."

In Hackney, the new intelligence is already being used by the borough's Integrated Gangs Unit to direct police to areas of gun and knife crime activity.

Writing in the magazine Police Professional, Professor Shepherd and colleagues from the Greater London Authority and the Met highlight contrasts between the hospital data and police figures.

He says targeting hotspots at the right times is crucial: "It is clear that scientific policing, like precision surgery, is more effective, less harmful and less costly than interventions informed by tradition and scattergun approaches."

The use of hospital data by police has proved successful in reducing violence in cities such as Cardiff but Professor Shepherd said it was too early to say if it was having an effect in London.

Researchers said examples of the new hotspots included Tower Hamlets where the A&E data shows concentrations of violence around the Royal London Hospital, Stepney Green park and to the west of Bethnal Green Technical College. This compared to police recording data which shows most violence occurring around the junction of Whitechapel Road and Mile End Road.

In Southwark, Rye Lane in Peckham and the Old Kent Road stood out as hotspots of violence according to the A&E data but they did not show up on the police records.

In Lambeth, the Tulse Hill estate showed up as a hotspot from A&E data which was not reflected in information gathered by police or the ambulance service.

There were similarities between the two recording methods in revealing seasonal variations in violence, with both police and hospital data showing peaks of trouble in June and dips in December.

Professor Shepherd says targeting the hotspots at the right times is crucial. "It is clear that scientific policing, like precision surgery, is more effective, less harmful and less costly than interventions informed by tradition and scatter-gun approaches."

For example, A&E data showed there was more violence around Camberwell Green and Leicester Square on Friday nights whereas on Saturdays trouble was concentrated more towards Stockwell.

The hospital data also revealed that victims of suspected gang violence often travelled long distances for hospital treatment. Data from nine A&Es revealed knife related injuries that occurred in 22 boroughs.

Analysis also highlighted specific pubs and streets in Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Hackney where glass related injuries took place at night.

(1st June 2016)


MAJOR RETAILERS PLEDGE CRACKDOWN ON KNIFE SALES TO CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS
(London Evening Standard, dated 23rd March 2016 author Laura Proto)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/major-retailers-support-crackdown-on-knife-sales-to-children-and-teenagers-a3210346.html

Major UK retailers have signed a pledge to crackdown on the sale of knives to children and teenagers.

Numerous online retailers along with high street stores have committed to requiring proof of age at point of purchase, collection or delivery under a voluntary agreement announced by Home Secretary Theresa May on Wednesday.

Supermarkets Tesco, Lidl UK, Asda, Sainsburys, Morrisons and Waitrose have all made the commitment alongside Amazon UK, Wilko, Argos, Poundland and John Lewis. eBay UK said it also "supports" the crackdown.

Legislation to ban "zombie killer" knives is also set to be introduced, Mrs May confirmed.

Mrs May told a policing conference in London the Government has struck an agreement with retailers on a set of principles to prevent the under-age sale of knives in their shops and through their websites.

She said: "The agreement means that the retailers will have committed to requiring proof of age at point of purchase, collection or delivery, that knifes will be displayed safely and packaged securely and that staff will receive regular training."

Law enforcement agencies will carry out follow-up test purchases in six months.

The Home Secretary added the Government will work closely with the British Retail Consortium to get other retailers to commit to the principles.

She said: "Knife crime has a devastating impact on victims, families and communities, and I am determined to do all I can to prevent it."

Action is also being taken to ban the sale, manufacture and importation of "zombie killer knives". Under secondary legislation, offenders will face up to four years in prison.

Mrs May said they "glamorise violence and are clearly targeted at young people".

She added: "These are dangerous weapons and have absolutely no place on our streets."

It came as the Government launched a new Modern Crime Prevention Strategy which identified six key "drivers" of crime - opportunity, character, the effectiveness of the criminal justice system, profit, drugs and alcohol.

--------------------------

POLICE KNIFE PURCHASES WILL CHECK IF WEBSITES ARE SELLING TO JUVENILES
(Extract)
(London Evening Standard, dated 23rd March 2016 author Martin Bentham)
www.standard.co.uk [Option 1]

Police are to make secret knife purchases on internet shopping sites to check whether firms such as Amazon and eBay are complying with the law banning sales of blades to juvenile.

Home Secretary Theresa May announced today that online giants have signed a new commitment to conduct age verification checks.

However, the deal also includes a plan for police to conduct secret "test purchases" of knives, to establish whetherflaws in the implementation of the new measures could still allow youths to buy blades. Officials say "feedback" will be provided in such cases, although prosecutions will remain possible if the  law is being deliberated  flouted.

Last week, Mrs may met retailers at an anti-knife crime summit. It followed warnings, including from mayroral candidate Zac Goldsmith, that age restrictions to stop knife sales to under 18s are not being adequately enforced.

-----------------------

(1st April 2016)


40,000 DEADLY WEAPONS SEIZED AT UK BORDERS
(International Business Times, dated 8th January 2016 author Paul Wright)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.ibtimes.co.uk/revealed-40000-deadly-weapons-seized-uk-borders-including-death-stars-hidden-daggers-1536854

Tens of thousands of deadly weapons - including "death stars", concealed swords and daggers hidden in belts - have been seized by border police over the past five years, shocking new Home Office figures reveal. Customs officials have been bombarded with people trying to smuggle almost 40,000 lethal weapons between 2010 and 2015, with many likely destined for UK streets and to be sold on the black market.

The figures, from the UK Border Agency (UKBA), show everyday items - like belt buckles, key rings and walking sticks - being illegally adapted to conceal knives and swords.

The haul also saw hundreds of more bizarre weaponry confiscated, such as blowpipes, ninja shoe spikes and kyoketsu-shogs - double-bladed ninja weapons attached to a long chain that can be hurled at victims.

It comes as the police forces across the UK continue to run weapon amnesty campaigns in the face of a growing concern over the number of stabbings and violent attacks.

Last year, knife crime rose across England and Wales for the first time in four years. Figures showed a 23% increase in stabbings in London in the first 12 months to May 2015 compared to the previous year.

It led to a crackdown by Met Police in July, part of which saw officers seize a significant arsenal of dangerous weapons that managed to get into the UK unnoticed.

In 2011, Border Agency chiefs warned that "vicious" weapons its officers were seizing at ports of entry were becoming "more and more sophisticated".

But since then a steady stream of many thousands have continued to be confiscated. In a one year period over 2014/15, some 6,735 weapons were seized by customs, compared to the 6,064 taken in 2010/11. In total, from 2010 to November last year some 38,613 weapons were confiscated.

The most common weapon confiscated by customs officials since 2010 - reaching 13,700 - were knuckle dusters, banned items used to improve the power of a punch and which can break bones. Flick knives were second, at just over 6,000, while truncheons and batons were third, with about 3,800 taken by customs officials.

The UK government publishes a long list of what it classes "offensive weapons" that are banned or restricted in the UK.

But many are still able to be bought online and shipped from abroad, with even the retailer Amazon recently caught allowing spiked knuckle-dusters and stun guns to be sold on its website.

Holidaymakers can also be caught out at border checks after what they think are souvenirs bought abroad turn out to be illegal under UK law.

Items confiscated by the UKBA are either sent to a special warehouse to be disposed of or are put on display at the UKBA's "Seized" museum in Liverpool.

Police forces also regularly launch weapon amnesties in which banned items can be handed into a police station or disposed of in a special bin without risk of being arrested.

The border force figures were published on 7 January after a parliamentary question submitted by Labour MP Keith Vaz, the chair of the Commons' Home Affairs Committee. He was not available for comment.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: "Border Force already works closely with the police and National Crime Agency to prevent the importation of weapons into the UK. And we have intensified checks on people, goods and vehicles entering the UK from the near continent and elsewhere.

"Border Force officers use some of the most high-tech equipment available to keep offensive weapons off our streets and we keep this intelligence-led work under continued review to ensure we are always using the most effective approach. Anyone caught trying to smuggle dangerous weapons into the country will have them confiscated and could face prosecution."

What counts as an offensive weapon (source: Home Office)

Offensive weapons are items designed to kill or inflict serious injury that have no real legitimate use. Such weapons are restricted and in the case of flick and gravity knives are banned from being imported into the UK and can be seized by Border Force officers. These include:

- knuckledusters, handclaws and push daggers
- footclaws - i.e. spikes designed to be strapped to the foot
- flick or gravity knives - i.e. with blades that are spring-loaded or can be opened using gravity or a flick of the wrist
- weapons with a concealed or disguised blade or sharp point - e.g. swordsticks, stealth knives, butterfly knives and belt buckle blades
- martial arts weapons such as death stars, hollow kubotans and kusaris
- batons and telescopic truncheons
- blowpipes or blowguns, except for use by vets or registered animal handlers
- curved blade swords with a blade over 50cm

The 10 types of weapons most seized by the UK Border Force between 2010 and 2015:

Knuckle duster: 13,718
 Flick or gravity knives: 6,043
 Truncheon or baton: 3,826
 Martial arts weapons: 2,084
 Disguised knife: 1,254
 Butterfly knife: 872
 Death star: 770
 Swordsticks: 273
 Hollow kubotan: 124
 Stealth knife: 108

(1st February 2016)


NEW STOP AND SEARCH SCHEME FORMALLY LAUNCHED
(Police Oracle, dated 1st December 2014 author Helena Hickey)
www.policeoracle.com [Option 1]

Police forces across the country are today (Dec 1) fully implementing a new scheme to reform stop and search powers.

Home Secretary Theresa May announced the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme in April, with many forces launching aspects of it in August.

Thirty five forces are now implementing all aspects of the voluntary scheme, which aims to contribute to a reduction in the overall use of the practice, lead to more intelligence-led stop and search and deliver more effective outcomes. 

Measures include increasing transparency by recording all outcomes of stop and search, restricting use of Section 60 "no suspicion" powers and giving members of the public the opportunity to observe stop and search in practice.

A community complaints trigger will be also be introduced, ensuring complaints are properly monitored and scrutinised.

The remaining eight forces are already implementing some aspects and have said the scheme will become fully operational over the next few months. British Transport Police is also set to join the scheme before the end of the year.

"These powers are vital in the fight against crime when used correctly. However, they must be applied fairly and only when needed - and in a way that builds community confidence rather than undermining it," said Ms May.

"Our stop and search reforms are working. The number of searches are down under this government, by 15 per cent in the last year alone. But we cannot be complacent and must ensure that the public can hold the police to account for their use of these powers."

She added that following an eight-week consultation on revising the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE), she will lay a revision to Code A - which governs the use of stop and search - in parliament this week.

This will make it clear to officers what constitutes reasonable grounds for suspicion and emphasise that any misuse of the powers will lead to performance or disciplinary procedures.

Sussex Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith said he was confident the new scheme will have a positive impact.

He said: "I am pleased to say that Sussex Police has adopted the Home Office scheme, which will lead to greater transparency and allow the community to hold us to account on the way we use our stop and search powers.

"By using the powers effectively we can prevent crime and build public trust and confidence with the communities we serve."

(1st January 2015)



WE'RE SEEING 11 YEAR OLD GANG VIOLENCE VICTIMS, WARNS TRAUMA DOCTOR
(London Evening Standard, dated 20th October 2014 author Ross Lydall)
www.standard.co.uk       [Option 1]

Children as young as 11 are part of an "exponential rise" in victims of gang violence requiring life-saving treatment, London's busiest major trauma centre has revealed.
 
About a quarter of the 2,500 cases handled by the unit at St Mary's hospital are patients aged 11 to 25. Last year it saw almost as many young victims of stabbings, shootings and beatings with a blunt weapon (170) as those injured in road collisions (200).

The figures were revealed as St Mary's today set out plans to "embed" youth workers in the unit for three years  to help young people escape from  gangs. A pilot project at King's College hospital found that victims of gang culture are most likely to be swayed when their presence in hospital brings home the risks they face.

John Poyton, chief executive of Redthread youth charity, which runs the schemes, said: "The moment young people are injured,  they realise they're not immortal.  It's a window of opportunity."  Last year the major trauma centre - one of four in London - treated an average of 11 serious stabbings and one shooting each month. Medics also reported a rise in "humiliation wounds".

Dr Asif Rahman, a consultant in emergency medicine, said: "At the Notting Hill Carnival, we had a lot coming in with buttock wounds."

"Hundreds" of patients were victims of gang-related sexual violence and exploitation. Dr Rahman said the hospital was seeing "more and more" victims of violent crime, adding: "Some of our patients, at 11 years old, have been involved in some form of gang violence."

The £648,000 intervention project is funded by Imperial College Healthcare Charity and the Home Office. Crime prevention minister Norman Baker said he would like to see it become "standard practice" across the NHS.

He said: "The idea you can get to somebody at a moment when they are prepared to listen to you, and stop them being involved in potentially damaging behaviour to themselves, has got to be good."

(1st November 2014)


5800 POLICE LAUNCH RAIDS ACROSS LONDON IN BLITZ ON KNIFE CRIME
(London Evening Standard, dated 25th June 2014 author Justin Davenport)
www.standard.co.uk

Scotland Yard today launched a blitz on the epidemic of knife crime which is claiming 60 victims a week in London.

More than 5,800 officers took part in operations across the capital including raids on more than 160 suspects.

Police also set up knife arches to check on people using train and bus stations, mounted checks on cars using number plate recognition cameras and held weapons sweeps on estates.

The operation came even though police said overall knife crime offences were at a seven-year low with 1,300 fewer offences in the past 12 months than in the previous year.

However, figures obtained by the Evening Standard show 3,094 people were injured in assaults involving knives in 2013/14, just 21 fewer than the previous year. These included 52 knife murders, up from 47, 862 serious injuries, 1,038 "moderate" injuries and 1,142 minor injuries.

Temporary Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Allison, the head of the gangs unit Trident, said: "Our primary aim is keeping Londoners safe. We have seen significant reductions in both gun and knife crime in recent years, however we recognise that knife crime continues to have a considerable impact on London.

In 2013/14, over 50 per cent of murders were committed with knives in comparison with 12 per cent involving a firearm and 43 per cent of the UK's knife-related offences take place in the capital." In Hillingdon officers swooped on three addresses linked to a family suspected of drug-dealing. Nine officers executed a warrant at a semi-detached house in Hoppner Road at 7.55am. Police arrested one man for cannabis possession. A man at another address was arrested for possession of Class A drugs. At a third address, the home of a suspected drug dealer, officers found £120,000 in cash. A 17-year-old was arrested in Islington on suspicion of possession of a firearm after a loaded revolver was found in a moped.

In unconnected incidents, a man, 28, was arrested in Hillingdon for two knifepoint robberies and a 15-year-old youth was arrested in Islington with a knife.

(3rd July 2014)


STEPHEN LAWRENCE'S FATHER : WE MUST ACT TO STOP KNIFE KILLINGS
(London Evening Standard, dated 20th May 2014 author Martin Bentham)

Full article :

www.standard.co.uk/news/london/stephen-lawrences-father-calls-for-london-campaign-to-stop-disaster-of-knife-killings-9402416.html


The father of Stephen Lawrence today called for a new London campaign against knife crime in a bid to end the "disaster" of young deaths from stab wounds.
 
Neville Lawrence, whose son was stabbed to death in 1993, said that tough automatic sentences and improved education about the dangers of knives were needed to reduce the death toll on the capital's streets. "My son was killed by a knife and every year I see the fact that the message hasn't got through to the younger generation about how devastating it is for a family to lose a loved one," he said.

In an interview with the Evening Standard Mr Lawrence, left, also spoke of his anguish on reading in this newspaper about the fatal stabbing of teenager Jamil Palmer in Feltham. Jamil, 18, died on May 6 after being knifed as he walked through a nature reserve with a friend - making him the second London teenager to be stabbed to death in less than 48 hours following the killing of Alim Uddin, 17, in Brixton.

Mr Lawrence said the continuing loss of young lives had convinced him that current efforts to combat knife crime were inadequate and should be overhauled.

He called for more police on the beat, better liaison between officers and local communities, and the greater provision of youth centres and employment opportunities to prevent young Londoners being drawn into gangs.

He said he had also decided to speak out now to support his murdered son's friend Duwayne Brooks, who is bidding to become mayor of Lewisham in this Thursday's local elections, because of the new ideas that he was offering about how to tackle the problem.

Mr Lawrence described his dismay that young Londoners were still dying from knife wounds 21 years after Stephen was fatally stabbed by a gang of racist white youths in Eltham.

"I'm looking at the Evening Standard now where this boy was stabbed and the woman was saying that she was cradling the boy while he was lying down," he said. "I could hear the pain in her voice. It's too frequent that people just carry a knife.

"If one person gets stabbed per year, it's a disaster. From my point of view, the struggle to regain your life and get to grips with what's happened and losing your loved one is devastating. Some of these kids that have been killed are really talented people who would have done a lot to help their community and that's a tragedy in itself.

"When I sometimes talk to youngsters and ask them why they carry a knife, they say 'it's protection and I won't use it'. Now if you carry a knife for protection and something happens, you are going to use it. So if there's any way that a youngster can feel more protected in the community to stop them carrying a knife that would be welcome."

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has called for people convicted of carrying a knife for a second time to be given a mandatory six-month prison sentence.The proposal, which has won the backing of Met Commissioner Sir Bernard-Hogan Howe, has been blocked by the Liberal Democrats amid a Coalition row over the idea.

But Mr Lawrence said that he believed tougher automatic sentences could play a role in preventing knife crime.

He added: "Anything that would deter people from carrying a knife would be very welcome. If it means that you are caught with a knife and you are getting a heavy penalty, a set fee, maybe something like that would deter people."

Mr Lawrence, 72, said a lack of parental guidance and job opportunities coupled with the closure of youth centres was also fuelling the problem and leading some youngsters into gangs.

Mr Lawrence said one answer was to take young people "off the streets" by expanding youth centre provision.

"A lot of these youngsters are very gifted. Get them doing something and they will excel," he said. "You see these guys on the streets, just standing there doing nothing every day, you need to get them off the streets into some kind of situation where they are not idle." Mr Lawrence said the absence of constructive alternatives was adding to London's gang problem and expressed concern that high unemployment, rising house prices and other pressures were making some youths "desperate" and frustrated.

He said another issue was a lack of police on the beat. "There are too few officers walking in the community, getting to know the people on the streets, making friends with them," he said. "You can't make friends in the office, you make friends walking the streets?...? all that has gone, officers who get to know the community and help to resolve conflict."

Mr Lawrence said that Mr Brooks, who was with Stephen when he died, had his support because he was "looking at things in a different way" and was promising early intervention in schools and families to prevent children falling into crime, along with a drive to create 2,000 job and training opportunities.

"When I see or hear of a young boy being stabbed the first thing that comes into my head was 'how did I cope, how is this family coping, how can I help if they ask me to help, what do I tell them?'

"It makes me really, really sad that after 21 years I'm still hearing of a young boy being stabbed. If one young man is stabbed in the street in all the year, it's still one too many."

(21st May 2014)


MET CHIEF AND MAYOR SAY NICK CLEGG IS WRONG FOR OPPOSITION TO TOUGHER STANCE ON KNIFE CRIME
(London Evening Standard, date 8th May 2014 author Joseph Watts)
www.standard.co.uk   [Option 1]

The knife-crime row engulfing the coalition government escalated today as both Boris Johnson and Met Chief Bernard Hogan-Howe said that Nick Clegg was wrong for blocking tougher sentences.
 
The London Mayor said Mr Clegg was "wrong" to veto automatic six month jail-terms for those caught with a knife a second time and accused him of "ducking the issue".

Sir Bernard said tougher laws were "vital" to prevent more young Londoners dying at the hands of knife thugs.

Lib Dem Leader Mr Clegg said he could not support the proposals because he believed it risked pushing youngsters into becoming "hardened criminals".

The row follows the death on Tuesday of an 18-year-old Londoner stabbed in broad daylight as he walked through a park with a friend.

Just 48 hour earlier another 17-year-old was stabbed to death in Brixton following a row over a bicycle.

After Mr Clegg went on the radio to attack the tougher-sentence proposals as an attempt to "catch headlines", Mr Johnson told the Standard: "Nick Clegg is wrong.

"I do believe it's vital that we work to educate and rehabilitate those caught up in the culture of knife carrying.

"But equally it is imperative that police and the courts are given every support to tackle the scourge of knife crime. That means backing this amendment not ducking the issue."

Mr Johnson, whose office has already been lobbying ministers for tougher laws, sent a letter off support to the London Tory MPs Nick De Bois and David Burrows championing the reform in Parliament.

Meanwhile Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard said: "I'm afraid I don't agree with [Mr Clegg].

He went on: "I'm afraid knives generally do one thing, which is they either wound people, and if they wound people they might kill them. So for me it's vital we send a clear message to our young people."

The Met has made headway against knife crime in recent years - there were 84 knife murders in 2008 down to 41 in 2013.

But London continues to suffer a higher rate of knife crime compared to other regions with 43 per cent of the entire country's offences occurring in the capital.

The majority of offenders sentenced for possession of a knife still do not obtain custodial sentences.

In London only seven per cent of those under 18 receive a custodial sentence for possession, compared to 13 per cent nationally.

The Tory plan would see 16 to 18 year olds given a mandatory four month detention sentence for being caught with a knife a second time.

But speaking on his LBC Radio show Mr Clegg denied he was "soft on knife crime" and claimed young gang members bullied into carrying knives may be wrongly jailed.

He said: "I just think to say that if you were found to be carrying a knife for the second time...that in all circumstances, all the time, no exceptions, no questions asked you'll end up in prison, seems to me to be a very blunt way of going about things."

The issue has put David Cameron in a difficult position as Ms May and Tory Justice Secretary Chris Grayling are both believed to support the move.

A Downing Street source said the Prime Minister "wanted" to see what more could be done to fight knife crime.

Meanwhile a source for the Labour party, needed to pass the laws if Lib Dems withdraw support, said the party was "looking closely" at the plan and was "sympathetic".

(10th May 2014)


1000 PUPILS CAUGHT WITH WEAPONS IN SCHOOL
(Sky News website, dated 23rd April 2014 author Afua Hirsch)

Full article :

http://news.sky.com/story/1247235/1000-pupils-caught-with-weapons-in-schools


Almost 1,000 pupils were caught with weapons including guns, axes and a meat cleaver in schools in the last three years, a Sky News investigation has found.

New figures show 981 children have had weapons confiscated on school premises since 2011.

They include at least 80 primary school children, the youngest of whom was an eight-year-old caught with a knife.

Some 36 pupils were found with an assortment of guns, including two hand guns, seven air-powered weapons and 27 BB guns.

Of those found with weapons, 329 caught with items including an axe, a cut-throat razor and a stun gun were charged with a criminal offence.

One 18-year-old, who is taking part in a young offender's programme in London, said: "I carried a weapon ... but only because of the environment I was in.

"My generation is a bit wild ... so it's a normal thing to carry a weapon because you know everyone else is. It's making it fair, basically."

Campaigners warned the scale of the problem is likely to be much worse, as 21 of the UK's 52 police forces did not supply figures requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

Data from West Midlands Police, which alone recovered weapons from 538 people during the same period, was not included because it also accounts for colleges and universities.

The figures raise questions about whether schools and the Government have failed to tackle the problem.

Jayne Walmsley, whose son Luke was murdered at a Lincolnshire school in 2003 aged 14, said: "Something is happening to the society we live in.

"We need to think and educate these kids. It's got to stop. We've got to do something about it."

Patrick Regan, CEO of charity XLP, which was founded in response to a school stabbing, added: "There's a culture of fear that needs to be broken down."

The Government said it had given teachers powers to take action if they suspect a pupil has brought a weapon into school.

"Teachers can now search pupils without consent, confiscate prohibited items and use force to remove disruptive pupils from the classroom when necessary," a spokesman for the Department for Education said.

"We've also given heads the final say on expulsions by removing the right of appeal panels to put pupils back in the classroom."

However, Chris Douglas, a youth worker with St Giles Trust, which engages with young people caught up in crime, warned the use of weapons is a growing problem.

"We're not hearing about stabbings because they're becoming more common," he said.

Last year, a study by UCL and charity Kids Company found half the young people working with the organisation had seen someone shot or stabbed in their community in the past year.

In 2009, the then-Government announced new measures to curb the problem of weapons in schools after a spate of attacks against children.

There were plans to introduce airport-style metal detectors as part of a violent crime action plan.

But campaigners are concerned the issue has disappeared from public discourse, leaving children vulnerable.

"Sometimes it's a bit like banging your head on a brick wall," Mrs Walmsley said.

"Schools won't admit to the problem because all they want is more pupils for more money."


Total weapons confiscated from pupils since 2011

Knives : 249
BB Guns : 27
Baseball Bats : 18
Hammers : 17
Metal Bars : 16
Lead piping : 14
Sticks with nails : 13
Other : 31
Knuckle dusters : 8
Unspecified weapons : 588
Hand guns : 2
Air weapons : 7
Taser stun gun : 1
Axes : 3

(25th April 2014)


STEPHEN LAWRENCE : MURDER INQUIRY WAS DOGGED BY CLAIMS OFFICERS WERE CORRUPT
(London Evening Standard, dated 6th March 2014 author Justin Davenport)
www.standard.co.uk  [Option 1]

Allegations of corruption involving detectives employed on the  Stephen Lawrence murder investigation have dogged the Met almost from the beginning.
 
They were raised by Stephen's family, who have always believed that corruption played a key part in the failure of the original inquiry into his death.

After the A-level student, 18, was stabbed in Eltham in 1993, five suspects were arrested. But despite a series of investigations, and a private prosecution brought by the family, no one was convicted until two years ago.

In January 2012, two of the original five suspects, Gary Dobson and David Norris, were jailed for Lawrence's murder after the discovery of new forensic evidence.

Judge Sir William Macpherson's original report, in 1998, branded the Metropolitan police "institutionally racist" over its handling of the case. He found that the investigation was riddled with blunders and incompetence, including the fact that the names of five prime suspects were given to police within hours of the attack, but detectives did not arrest them for two weeks.

However, Sir William found there was insufficient evidence to prove corruption played a decisive role in the failure to catch the killers.

The main claims of corruption raised by the Lawrence family and their lawyers centred on two officers: former Met commander Ray Adams, who was a leading officer in the south London area where Stephen was murdered, and former detective sergeant John Davidson, who was a senior detective on the first inquiry.

In 2006, a BBC documentary interviewed Neil Putnam, a former corrupt detective turned whistleblower, who claimed that Clifford Norris, the father of David, was paying Mr Davidson to obstruct the case and protect the suspects. Mr Adams and Mr Davidson were both subjects of internal corruption probes, though did not face disciplinary or criminal charges. Both were accused of having links with Clifford, a known drug smuggler, but none of the claims were proven. Both denied wrongdoing.

The Macpherson report criticised Mr Davidson's role in the original inquiry but found no evidence he tried to thwart it. It also found Mr Adams played only a peripheral role in the investigation. Mr Adams, who left the force because of a bad back, later worked in a security role for a firm owned by Rupert Murdoch.

uaware comment

So while a Police Commissioner states that it was the worst thing he has come across in his career.The perpetrators of the injustice are either drawing their pension or have been promoted.

After a couple of public enquiries, court cases (abort and successful) it has taken over 20 years for some form of truth to come to the surface.

There is no other way to describe this other than say it is absolutely disgusting.

(9th March 2014)


A WASTE OF YOUNG LIVES - 124 TEENS KILLED SINCE 2007
(London Evening Standard, dated 22nd November 2013 author David Cohen)

Link to actual article :www.standard.co.uk/news/dispossessed/the-dispossessed-fund-a-waste-of-young-lives--the-faces-of-just-a-few-of-the-124-teens-killed-in-london-since-2007-8957047.html

These are the faces of just some of the 124 teenagers killed in London since 2007. It is a poignant gallery of young lives cut tragically short - tragic not just for their family and friends, but a loss of potential for all of the capital.
 
Analysis of the police database shows that two thirds of the youngsters were killed by stabbing, one fifth by shooting, and that the youngest fatalities were only 14 years old.

Yet seven years after the Metropolitan police first started keeping records on teenage homicides because of burgeoning gang violence, one overarching statistic has never been made public: the total number of deaths that were gang-related. A police spokesman admitted they were reluctant to confirm individual cases as being linked to gangs because of sensitivity to the families of victims. But under a Freedom of Information request from the Evening Standard, they have revealed that almost 40 per cent of teenage homicides since 2007 have been officially flagged as gang-related. And this year alone, more than 90 per cent of teenage killings were linked to gangs.

Officially, the "gang-flag" is used for internal police intelligence purposes, to indicate that either the victim or suspect, or both, have a gang connection. In reality, though, these links emerge in the media on a case by case basis, and this tends to be interpreted by Londoners, often incorrectly, to signify that the victim was a gang member and somehow to blame for their own death. We tend to look for the "gang-related" label if only to reassure ourselves that this "does not concern me".

But our investigation has revealed this to be a dangerously misguided approach. As the shocking study by University College London, published in the Standard, made clear, 50 per cent of young Londoners interviewed had seen a stabbing or shooting in the last year, and one in five had themselves been stabbed or shot.

Killings are part of the extreme violence these young people are exposed to, and every time a teenager in their community is killed, it leads to the hardening and brutalisation of their peer group and provokes further tit-for-tat violence.

That is why the response of civil society minister Nick Hurd and the Government - which has today made £3.8 million available to support charities tackling gangs and young Londoners at risk of criminal behaviour - is such a breakthrough.

After listening to the anger and aspirations of former gang members, Mr Hurd has pledged £800,000 of this new £3.8 million pot to the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund. When added to £200,000 from our endowment, this adds up to a

£1 million windfall for charities doing transformational work on minuscule budgets to help the most vulnerable children in the capital.

Groups such as Gangs Unite, founded by former criminal gang member Colin James and backed by patron Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, which does such acclaimed work in Waltham Forest.

Groups such as Gangsline in Newham, headed up by Sheldon Thomas, another reformed gang member, that helps young people avoid criminal culture. These groups and many others across the capital stand to potentially benefit from grants of up to £50,000 over two years.

City Hall's new gangs czar Ray Lewis believes the Standard's Frontline London campaign is "a game changer" and today welcomed the £1 million fund for London as "brilliant news".

Last week, the headteacher of an award-winning primary school in Harlesden told the Standard that the colour of their blazer had to be "chosen to avoid gang colours in the area", and that their nine-year-olds had to be driven home after extracurricular activities so as to avoid local street gangs.

The police database shows that with the exception of parts of west London, the gangs problem is widespread, with 24 of London's 32 boroughs having suffered teenage killings in the last seven years, including 14 in Southwark, 13 in Newham, 11 in Lambeth and 10 in Hackney. Commander Steve Rodhouse says that despite a reduction in violent crime linked to street gangs in the last year, the problem can only be suppressed and never solved through enforcement.

Sometimes it takes the parents of victims to cut through the chaff. Barry Mizen is father of 16-year-old Jimmy, whose innocent face stares out from the gallery opposite, and who was murdered by gang member Jake Fahri in 2008 despite himself never being in a gang. Mr Mizen said: "My wife and I do prison visits and when we went into Feltham the first time and spoke to 60 inmates, we were asked, 'Did you see 60 versions of the person who killed your son?' I said, 'No, we saw 60 versions of what could have been our son's fate under different circumstances.'

"The biggest fortune in life is to be loved. A child that experiences neg-lect, anger, violence - don't be surprised if they grow up to be violent.

"That is why I welcome the Standard's campaign to get the conversation going, because we urgently need to change the perspective of those in power.

The natural reaction tends to be, 'Lock 'em away for longer, that will solve the problem.' But if that worked, I'd be at the front of the queue. Only people with blinkers on think it can be solved by harsh punishment or that we can leave it to the police to sort out. Early intervention is part of the answer, but it's a whole society issue and we need to draw in as many Londoners as possible."

With today's £1 million for the Dispossessed Fund, our Frontline London campaign can offer practical support to the experts on the ground who are primed to make a difference. The hard work to turn the tide on gangs starts here.

 
Teenage killing  Victims in London

Year        Total(Gang-Related)

2007       26  (10)

2008       30  (12)

2009       15   (3)

2010       19   (9)

2011       15   (3)

2012        8   (1)

2013       11  (10)


Five Key Facts

- The youngest stab victims were 14, the youngest shooting victims were 15

- Over 70 per cent of victims were black

- 90 per cent  of victims were male, 10 per cent  female

- 24 of 32 boroughs suffered teenage murders, the worst three being Southwark, Newham and Lambeth

- 64 per cent  of victims were stabbed, 20 per cent  were shot, 16 per cent  were beaten, strangled, or died from arson or other causes


16th January 2014)