Fresh calls for knife amnesty as amount of attacks rises
PUBLISHED: 16:49 29 December 2015
There is fresh hope of a London wide knife amnesty to help clamp down on Islington’s blade culture and the “tragic waste of life.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, police chiefs and the Mayor of London have alsl voiced their support in the last month for an amnesty as deaths in London through stabbings have increased this year for the first time since 2012.
A total of 15 youths lost their lives in knife attacks throughout London with seven of those in Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest.
Speaking to the Gazette, Labour leader and MP for Islington Jeremy Corbyn believes a knife amnesty would send out the right message.
He said: “We’ve had more knife attacks in Islington. For those who have been killed, it’s such a tragic waste of life.
“An amnesty for a short time would be a very good idea: a serious message that carrying a knife is more likely to cause problems. But it’s also an opportunity for people to mend their ways.”
According to Metropolitan Police data, knife crime with injury rose by 11 per cent in the last year, with 3,657 incidents in the year to October 2015, compared with 3,288 in the previous 12 months.
Figures released in March showed Islington to have the second highest number of knife related injuries in London.
Cllr Paul Convery, executive member for community safety, says he would be fully behind a knife amnesty in the borough but warned more needs to be done to tackle the root causes of knife crime.
He said: “We would be fully supportive of this initiative and commend the churches that come forward to provide these facilities.
“But it is not the only thing that can be done to combat the rise in knife crime.
“My view is that the Mayor of London needs to be doing more than just this one eye-catching initiative.
“We need to make sure we stop younger man getting lured into the drug business and stop them thinking that getting into gangs is not the way to make money and gain status.”
There have been a number of high profile stabbings in 2015 which have shocked residents in the borough.
Teenagers Alan Cartwright and Stefan Appleton were stabbed to death in February and a third, Shaquan Sammy-Plummer from Finsbury Park, was killed in Enfield.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has now agreed to sit down with the Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to discuss the possibility of an amnesty.
The commissioner has said he would support a “knife surrender” if it was properly planned and organised.
Sir Bernard said: “We would support a knife surrender but when to do it remains an important question.
“It’s slightly different when dealing with knives as it’s legal to posses them and people can hand in knives which would not necessarily be used as weapons.
“Something like this needs planning; I would not race into it and obviously it needs communicating.
“But in principle, any opportunity to reduce the amount of knives on our streets is a good one so we will look to see how this could be done.”
Labour Assembly Member for Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest Jennette Arnold OBE has led calls for a knife amnesty.
Ms Arnold said: “Following a recent spate of stabbings in my constituency, which has seen the loss of so many young lives in the past few months, I have urged the Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey to introduce a knife amnesty.
“I have been pushing for a knife amnesty for a while, ever since the numbers show that knife crimes are going in an upward trajectory in my constituency.
“There has been an 11 per cent increase in the amount of knife crimes with injury.
“It concerns us all that these numbers are going in the wrong direction and we need to take every measure possible to ensure we get these harmful weapons off our streets.”
Ms Arnold would like to see the knife amnesty as soon as possible in the New Year before campaigning for elections starts.
She added: “I will be following this up and encouraging an amnesty to go ahead in February or March time.
“It needs to happen before the political campaigning starts as important messages can be lost, this goes beyond political ideologies, it’s about saving lives and protecting the futures of many young people.”
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