Knife crime problem 'will get worse' charity warns after latest teen's death

Ben Kinsella.

Ben Kinsella. - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Knife crime in London is becoming more deadly and will get worse, Islington anti-knife crime charity The Ben Kinsella Trust has warned.

Yesterday a 14-year-old boy became the capital's 27th victim of teenage killings this year, with 23 of those killed in stabbings.

Photos issued by Metropolitan Police of some of the 27 teenage homicides which have taken place in London so far in 2021

27 teenagers have died from knife crime in London so far in 2021 (From top row, left to right) Anas Mezenner, 17, Hani Solomon, 18, Drekwon Patterson, 16, Tai Jordan O'Donnell, 19, Ahmed Beker , 19, Camron Smith, 16, and Damarie Omare Roye, 16. (second row, left to right) Mazaza Owusu-Mensah, 18, Hussain Chaudhry, 18, Levi Ernest-Morrison, 17, Fares Maatou, 14, Abubakkar Jah, 18, Tamim Ian Habimana, 15, and Hazrat Wali, 18. (third row, left to right) Daniel Laskos, 16, Denardo Samuels-Brooks, 17, Jalan Woods-Bell, 15, Keane Flynn-Harling, 16, Kamran Khalid, 18, and Taylor Cox, 19 - Credit: PA

Earlier this year the Metropolitan Police warned London could reach record numbers for teenage homicides in 2021 after several boys had already lost their lives to knife crime, and figures are now the worst they have been in four years.

Patrick Green, chief executive of The Ben Kinsella Trust, said knife crime is a "problem that has continued” and “in terms of seriousness of the offences, it is getting worse, and statistics show that it is getting more deadly".

Following the "heart-breaking" killing of a 14-year-old boy in Croydon yesterday, Patrick warned that "younger teenagers are becoming victims”, and said more needs to be done to protect them.

He said: “It defies logic and disbelief that this can be happening to teenagers as young as this. The problem is getting worse, which is very concerning for parents and young people.”

The trust was founded in 2008 – the same year teenage homicides in London hit a record high with 29 deaths – following the death of Ben Kinsella, who was just 16 when he was fatally stabbed in Islington.

The chief executive said a “systematic approach” is needed to tackle knife crime, adding: “Sometimes crime is simply portrayed as a crime spike and that is something that is best dealt with through criminal justice interventions.

"We can talk about gangs, and drugs, school exclusions and absent fathers but there are a number of reasons why knife crime may be as high as it is … it can be down to a number of factors, and unless we address those systematically and all of those problems, we are never going to solve this problem.”

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He added that although violence reduction units have been set up across the country, their projects are usually only funded for a year at a time.

“The concept is really good,” he said, “but if you’re hoping to tackle something like this systematically, it needs to be something like a 10-year funding that will be ringfenced.

"You have to have a sustained approach, and not just a knee-jerk reaction.”

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