LONDON MAYOR Sadiq Khan has responded to the New Year stabbings across London by reminding schools that he has offered to supply them with “knife wands” – metal detectors which help schools check that pupils are not bringing knives onto the premises.
Back in October, Sadiq Khan had offered the knife wands to schools as part of his anti-knife crime strategy – and was disappointed that only 76 schools took up the offer. Now he wants them to reconsider, in time for the new school term.
Sadiq Khan explained, “Knife crime ruins lives and devastates communities, and my thoughts remain with the families of the four young men tragically killed in four unrelated stabbings on New Year’s Eve. […] Schools have a vital part to play in our fight against knife crime by creating a safe, positive place for students, spotting danger signs and spreading the message that carrying a knife is more likely to ruin your life than save it.”
Khan launched his (Anti-)Knife Crime Strategy last June – and has given it a budget of £7 million. As well as the wands, he has also increased the number of Safer Schools Officers and encouraged co-operation between the education sector and the police to tackle the problem.
Khan’s initiatives have led to the development of a downloadable toolkit to help those in authority identify who is at risk of knife crime. Community activists have argued that an online toolkit is unlikely to strike fear into the hearts of youngsters who carry knives and have wondered if an all-out attack on poverty might reduced knife incidents further, faster.
The anti-knife crime activities include an anti-knife crime campaign, “London Needs You Alive”, which involves celebrities who have large youth followings and £250,000 to develop local projects across London.
Tower Hamlets politicians are divided over how to respond to knife crime. John Biggs issued a press release in August backing knife sweeps being carried out by the police across the borough. Cllr Rabina Khan has taken a higher profile – writing in the Independent about taking a community-led approach to stopping the danger.
Newham has been working on removing references to gang culture which glamorise knife violence from social media sites – in a project praised by the Home Office. Havering, the outermost of East London’s boroughs, is currently developing an anti-knife crime strategy.
•Read the London (Anti-)Knife Crime Strategy here:
London (Anti-)Knife Crime Strategy
•Read about Newham’s Anti-Knife Crime project here:
Newham Anti-Knife Crime project
•Read Havering’s Draft Anti-Knife Crime Strategy here:
Havering’s Draft Anti-Knife Crime Strategy
•Read more about it:
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