As a BBC analysis has revealed that knife crime is higher in some regional towns and cities than in many London boroughs, JAN Trust CEO, Sajda Mughal OBE, has spoken to the inews about how this in part is a result of the deprivation suffered by many young people across the country. Sajda highlights the need to “invest in young people’s futures” to drive down this rise in knife crime.
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Dispelling the myth that the issue of knife attacks is confined to London, the BBC said there had been a sharp increase in offences outside the capital.
The report follows Donald Trump’s repeated critiques of Mayor of London Sadiq Khan over violent crime, including calling him “a national disgrace who is destroying” the capital.
However, the BBC‘s analysis of police figures also showed London, which had 16 of the top 25 areas for knife crime (more than one crime per 10,000 people), was still more dangerous than other cities.
According to the corporation’s Freedom of Information responses from 34 of England and Wales’ 43 police forces, in Manchester there were 24.6 knife crimes per 10,000 people between 2016 and 2018. For Liverpool, Slough and Blackpool it was 16.3, 15.6 and 14.3 per 10,000 people respectively.
‘Small cities get no mention’
Knife crime grew 1.7 times in Preston between 2016 and 2018, and 1.6 times in both Stoke-on-Trent and Bedford.
Byron Highton, whose brother was 18 when he was stabbed to death with a sword and an axe in Preston five years ago, said the whole country was suffering from knife crime but “small cities in the north like Preston get no mention”.
He told the BBC: “Young people have a lack of respect for life. The scary part is how bad is it going to be in 10 years if this generation isn’t fixed.”
Sajda Mughal OBE, CEO of the Jan Trust which runs programmes to tackle knife crime, told i: “As the number of young people living in poverty up and down the country grows, more and more are pushed into finding ways to support their families and themselves financially. They are forced as a result of the deprivation they suffer to find a way to earn money.
“The way to earn fast cash can result in young people becoming involved with drugs and therefore knives. Tackling this growth means we need to invest in young people’s futures and provide them with viable and meaningful opportunities and the services that allow them to flourish,” she added.
In the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Haringey and Hackney knife crime grew 1.3 times. In Newham, the rate of knife crime stayed the same – at 19.1 per 10,000 people – between 2016 and 18.
Among the safest places in England and Wales were Dorset and the Cotswolds.
Commenting on the BBC report, the Home Office said: “We are taking action to tackle the violent crime which has such a devastating impact on our communities.
“This includes supporting the police by recruiting 20,000 new police officers over the next three years, making it easier for them to use stop and search powers, and investing £10 million in additional funding to allow forces to increase the number of officers carrying Tasers.
“This week the Home Secretary announced an additional £20 million to tackle county lines, including expanding the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre.”