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Action not rhetoric needed to tackle the scourge of knife crime across Islington & London


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A murder investigation has been launched after a 17-year-old boy was stabbed to death in Holloway.

Following the tragic murder of a 17-year-old boy in Holloway last week,  police have launched an investigation into the incident which occurred just before 9pm in Yorke Close, off North Road.  In response to the ever growing number of knife deaths on the boroughs streets local Liberal Democrats have called for a major “Crusade” to tackle the issue.

The fatal stabbing comes ahead of this week’s visit by London Mayor Boris Johnson to the Ben Kinsella Trust, which aims to tackle knife crime. The Trust was set up by the family of the teenager Ben Kinsella, who was stabbed to death near the scene of last night’s incident in June 2008. It comes only days after the Liberal Democrats launched a detailed report into knife crime in London.

Local Liberal Democrats have accused both London and Westminster politicians of hiding from the real facts about the level of knife crime in London and its impact on young people.  It’s new hard report on knife crime was undertaken by the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon and local parties across London.

Statistics gathered by the London Assembly Member reveal that during the six-week General Election period (26th March – 8th May) there were in London 789 recorded victims of serious youth violence, 1231 victims of knife crime and 441 victims of knife crime with injury. 

This equates to 40 reported victims of knife crime a day, every day over the six week period.  Yet during this critical period of public debate the issue of knife crime hardly got mentioned by Westminster and London politicians.

Caroline Pidgeon and local Liberal Democrat Campaigner Terry Stacy met with Islington Police Borough Commander only recently to discuss the issue of knife crime in the borough, and what action they were taking to deal with the issue.

Caroline Pidgeon’s report, based on extensive research and consultation with organisations such as The Ben Kinsella Trust and the charity Redthread puts forward 10 practical recommendations to effectively tackle knife crime, including:

 

- Taking the message about the need to tackle knife crime into every school in London - schools that overlook knife crime are ultimately not helping their children.

- The full implementation of the Cardiff Model, where anonymous data collected through A&E departments of knife offences is immediately shared with the police  – leading to far more effective policing

- Greater funding for Redthread and other organisations that provide dedicated youth workers who focus on intervention in every London A&E

- The MPS making greater use of knife arches and handheld metal detectors, using data collected by A&E Departments which identify knife crime hotspots

- Proper collection of data about weapons; sweeps conducted by the police to improve their effectiveness

- Calling for the Mayor of London to review and renew his anti-gang strategy

- Introduce a multi-agency mental health approach should be taken to supporting people affected by knife crime

 Following the latest horrific stabbings in Holloway and at a school in West Dulwich involving two teenage boys Caroline Pidgeon AM commented:

“In London over the last decade 125 young people have been fatally stabbed on our streets.  This alone is a devastating statistic but we should also remember that for every young person who is murdered another 20 are admitted to hospital with knife offences.

“The Mayor, London and Westminster politicians can no longer claim that current policies are working when knife crime with injury offences rose by 14% in the last year. 

She was joined by Islington Liberal Democrat Campaigner Terry Stacy who said:

“It is time we finally recognised just how serious knife crime is on the lives of young people, we have seen yet another pointless death on the streets of the Borough.  All agencies need to redouble our efforts to prevent such violence on our streets.

The policies of simply responding to knife crime are neither adequate or effective. 

We need real action not rhetoric to tackle the scourge of knife crime across Islington and London as a whole.”


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