Knife Crime

July 18, 2008 at 2:57 pm / by

It seems like I can’t wake up without hearing yet another story of knife crime on the streets of London.

Gordon Brown has spoken about toughening up punishment, toughening up enforcement and toughening up prevention. The £100 million Youth Crime Action Plan set out by the government is a good one as it outlines tough enforcement measures and support for parents to tackle offending. It plans to support families with complex problems in all areas of England and offers a programme of action for priority areas where youth crime is highest.

But how about early profiling to identify those most at risk? I’m also thinking that it might help to have a Youth Officer in every Safer Neighbourhood Team who could liaise between young people and the police.

The main problem is that young people feel alienated from mainstream society and carrying a weapon is their way of asserting some form of authority. The government needs to give young people a voice and reengage with them so that they don’t resort to carrying knives to affirm their status in society.

Furthermore, a lot of young people say they carry knives as protection rather than to be offensive, so we need to do more to provide safe places for youngsters to hang out which means more investment in youth facilities in poorer areas. At this stage, perhaps it is worth thinking about partnering with big businesses who want to get involved in community initiatives.

Lastly, the media have a responsibility not to over hype these incidents as we don’t want to create a climate of fear in the country.