Afzal Sayed Munna:
Knife crime becomes epidemics in recent years where we lost many valuable young lives. According to a Home Office report, there were 39,818 knife crime offences in the 12 months ending September 2018. This is a two-thirds increase from the low-point in the year ending March 2014, when there were 23,945 offences, and is the highest number since comparable data was compiled (BBC, 14 March 2019). Mayor Sadiq Khan is taking action against the scourge of violent crime in London, together with the Metropolitan Police. With the tragic rise in knife killings this year he’s introduced tough, immediate measures to address the violence. The Mayor is determined to ensure criminals are caught and punished. On his London Assembly measure he mentioned combating this serious violent crime by boosting police power, which includes forming a new Violent Crime Task Force of 272 officers using additional funding from City Hall. The £15 million task force will focus solely on violent crime, weapon-enabled crime and serious criminality. On the other hand, the Metropolitan Police has introduced patrols using targeted stop and search for areas worst affected by knife crime. He also introduced the Knife wands, which are now available for every school in London to help keep young people safe, with 200 schools so far taking up the offer. There would also be a Trading Standards for London retailers to stop knives getting into the hands of underage Londoners. However, all this measures seems failing, as there is no possible sign of reducing the crime number and percentage. What could possibly be done to reduce and or stop the violent crime? We want to introduce a sustainable measure not to stop rather eradicate the crime from the society. I was talking to many young people’s from varied ethnic background in past couple of months and was not shocked listening to them. Many of them mentioned to me that, it is all about ME versus HIM. This clearly indicates that, many young does not carry knife to attack or kill someone rather they carry knife to protect themselves from being a potential victim. It seemed, if I do not have a knife, I would be killed. So, the problem lies somewhat deeper in the root of the societies moral values, which alone cannot be solved using the measure that the Mayor initiated. We need to educate our parents and then allowing them a platform to educate their children’s the possible potential consequences of using and or carrying a knife. If I do not have a threat to be killed I would stop carrying knife from now (stated by one of the respondent). Thus we need to crate an inclusive teaching and learning environment where everybody would be welcomed to have their own views about lives and by allowing everyone an equal opportunity we might be able to draw their attention. There are few possible areas have to be blamed for this rapid increase of the knife crime, which are as follows: 1. Reducing the number of police 2. Closing the community police patrol 3. Continuous closing down the youth centres 4. Rapid increase of dropout in schools and colleges due to poor performance 5. No selling standards for retailers 6. No job new job creation for youths 7. No active measure to ban/stop selling illegal drugs 8. Lack of appropriate knowledge on the consequences of using knifes and many more. Now lets have a look on the possibilities to ensure safety in an inclusive way. First of all, no one will deny that we need to increase our police force. The community police are very much engaged in the community building which has to be reintroduced again to ensure peoples’ safety and security. The council should invest more money on youth centres and also ensure job creation. Side by side the private investors should consider building youth and soft skills centres along with council as part of their corporate social responsibility. The police should start more stop and search, not only the affected areas but also in all areas. The school should introduce a new policy to remind their pupils’ everyday on the assembly about the consequences and the government should appropriately fund them. The Metropolitan and community police should work with the local community champions and various community organisations to address the issues of illegal sell and use of drugs and brought criminals under punishment. Community centres, mosques, church, temples and any other form of worship centres should regularly hold events on the consequence of using a knife and making people understand the value of life.
Government need to rethink what is important. Is it important to save money by cutting funds on police, education and youth centres or they should fund more in these sectors and stop unnecessary expenses on their foreign trips by their MP’s and Ministers and stop funding war. Time has come to rethink a policy reform and introduce heavy penalty system for the offender’s regardless age, race and sex. Every life is precious and living life is beautiful and thus everyone should be allowed a fear free happy life with his or her beloved one.
Afzal Sayed Munna
Lecturer, Doctoral Researcher and Political Campaigner, Liberal Democrats’