• Robin Horsfall

What I would do about knife crime.


This week everyone including me has had an opinion on knife crime. The media love stories that frighten the general public and this is one of them. The carriage and use of knives has become a problem but the chances of being stabbed are still lower than the chances of being killed in a car accident. The media don’t have much to say about cars until autumn fog causes a multiple pile up.

Most of the suggestions made by members of the public are emotional and made in the heat of the moment. These include ‘put them in the army, hang them, more police, more special constables’ and so on. I placed a comment on Facebook about the consequences of carrying knives and recommended that children understand those consequences but someone asked me what I would do if I was Mayor of London.

I need to qualify this reply as I have no idea how tough it is being Mayor of a city of eight million people but that said this is where I would start.

1.

Create an educational film for schools that is suitable for children that can be shown to all age groups from eight plus. That film must show the terrible effects of knives and knife wounds. It should show the emotional distress caused to families when a person is killed. The advice ‘never carry and always run away’ should be dominant. Many teachers and parents will be concerned about the frightening effects of such a film but understanding danger is essential to learning how to avoid it.

2.

Create a publicity campaign that uses the music and sporting heroes of young people. Footballers, boxers, MMA stars, cricketers singers, actors and athletes should all be asked to take part in the campaign. Young people do not listen to authority figures they listen to their heroes. The campaign should be continuous and placed on national television over a long protracted period.

3.

Severe punishments for first offenders who carry a knife rather than waiting for someone to be a repeat offender. Every parent knows that when they say ‘If you do that again’ the child has effectively escaped punishment.

4.

Increase targeted stop and search procedures by the police and reduce the administration required for justifying such searches. Searches should be possible with metal detectors and can be brief.

5.

Create mobile search traps in known trouble areas that funnel people into queues to be briefly searched and allowed to continue. These would require similar resources to tax and insurance checks on cars. Mobility would allow them to be used near youth clubs, schools and areas known to be frequented by gangs.

I think these proposals are achievable and affordable.

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Robin Horsfall

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