Sadiq Speaks: tackling knife crime
The rise of knife crime on our streets and in our schools is a tragedy that is affecting more and more Londoners. Knife crime has devastating consequences for young people in particular. This year alone, 33 Londoners under the age of 25 have been fatally stabbed on our streets.
Knife crime ruins lives and shatters communities - one death on our capital’s streets is one too many. Murders and serious injuries are needlessly destroying young lives and leaving families bereaved. It’s not just affecting the lives of victims, but also those who witness knife crime.
This problem is not unique to London. Violent crime has been rising both across the country and in our city since 2014. Many other cities are grappling with the same crisis. Wherever it occurs, knife crime, and the widespread fear that people are living with daily, is unacceptable.
None of us should ever have to attend another funeral of a teenager, perhaps killed by a fellow young Londoner they knew from school. No parent should have to go through the pain of losing a child like this, or send their child off to school fearing for their safety.
As Mayor, I’m doing all I can to stop the growing scourge of knife crime. This is a problem with complex social, economic and cultural roots. While the police are working to bear down on the violence, they cannot solve it alone. We must also focus on education and prevention, because arresting and sentencing offenders alone will not stop knives being accessible on the streets or prevent young people making the choice to carry a knife.
My Knife Crime Strategy, published in June, is not just about targeting those committing the crime. It’s also about offering Londoners ways out of offending, keeping deadly weapons off our streets, and standing with communities and supporting victims. This year, I committed an additional £625,000 for knife and gang crime projects so that communities can protect and educate young people, taking total spending to £7 million. I’m also extending services including the London Gang Exit Service and the work of Major Trauma Centres - specialist hospitals caring for severely injured patients involved in major trauma.
I’m passionate about making sure every young person in London can grow up in safety, with the chance to reach their potential. Schools have an especially vital part to play. I’ve pledged to ensure every school in the capital has a nominated Safer Schools Officer. And today, I’ve announced I’m working closely with Ofsted and headteachers to make sure schools have a mandatory plan in place to help prevent knife crime. I will do everything in my power to support our teachers in creating a safe, positive place for students, spotting danger signs early, and spreading the message that carrying a knife is more likely to ruin your life than save it.