Knife crime can only be tackled through a “jigsaw” of interventions and a systematic approach, says an Islington charity CEO.

Patrick Green from the Ben Kinsella Trust believes parents, youth workers and mentors need to work together with charities and the police to offer a comprehensive set of interventions.

Earlier this month 15-year-old Deshaun James Tuitt was fatally stabbed at Highbury Fields and two weeks earlier a 25-year-old man sustained injuries in a stabbing incident in Finsbury Park.

Patrick said: “One of the things we advocate for very strongly in terms of tackling knife crime is that it’s everybody’s responsibility and parents, youth workers, and sports leaders have a huge role in reaching out to young people to talk about these issues.

“It’s a jigsaw of interventions that’s required and that’s why it’s so difficult to solve. One mistake that keeps being made politically across the country is to look for a quick fix solution and the lack of sustained investment in tackling the issue.”

Islington Gazette: Patrick Green is the CEO of the Ben Kinsella TrustPatrick Green is the CEO of the Ben Kinsella Trust (Image: Ben Kinsella Trust)

The Ben Kinsella Trust was set up in 2008 shortly after Islington boy Ben Kinsella was murdered aged 16.

Through workshops and an immersive exhibition, the charity seeks to teach children the realities and consequences of knife crime.

The workshops focus on working with children to dispel myths about knife crime and carrying a knife and teaches them the links between choices and consequences.

Patrick said: “The exhibition and workshops help young people understand what knife crime is and what legacy it leaves behind. The devastation, the bereavement, the trauma, and tragedy of losing a young person either as the victim of a bad crime or because they end up in the criminal justice system.

“Exhibitions are an immersive space and help children connect both emotionally with subject matter, they’re able to learn at their own pace, they’re able to bring in different learning styles and it’s a very different experience to just sitting in a classroom.”

Since the exhibition was launched in 2012, 20,000 young people have visited, it with 4,000 seeing it last year alone.

The charity has seen a positive effect of its work on many young people, with 95 per cent of pupils stating the exhibition has made them think more about what choices they would make to stay save.

However, knife crime remains prevalent and according to recent data from the Ministry of Justice knife crime is up by 5pc nationwide and the Office of National Statistic even puts it at 10pc.

Islington Gazette: Ben Kinsella.Ben Kinsella. (Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images)

Patrick said: “We know knife crime certainly is on the increase and it’s a reflection of Covid. We’re out more, we’re doing more and the previous two years have probably given us a fairly false picture of things.

“Young people who live in an area where they feel unsafe are three times more likely to carry a knife than a young person who lives in an area where they feel safe. Why they choose to carry a knife could be in part because of the role of social media which has made a huge impact in the last decade.

“Social media platforms often show content which normalises, glorifies and often desensitises young people to violence and backs up the myth that if you carry a knife, you’re protecting yourself, when we know it does the exact opposite and puts you in danger.”

In 2021, 27 teenagers were murdered in London with a knife or sharp object and there has been a 46pc increase in knife crime in England and Wales compared to 2012.

In the 12 months before March 2022 there were 11,122 knife crime offences recorded in London, which continues to have the highest volume of knife crime in the country.

Patrick said: “We should remember in the dark times we’re in at the moment that violence is not inevitable and it can be solved and we know what needs to be done to solve this issue.”

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