Letter: We need to get a grip on knife crime crisis

This letter sent to the Star was written by Steve Oversby, Director Barnardo’s East Region

Tuesday, 20th August 2019, 1:03 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 6:27 am
The Knife Angel is touring the UK.

Children should be having fun and relaxing in the school summer holidays, but the majority of people are concerned children will become the victims of knife crime.

A recent Barnardo’s YouGov poll of more than 1,000 adults across cities in England and Wales reveals that two-thirds of adults surveyed are worried children aged 10-18 may become knife crime victims. Similarly, 61 per cent of respondents surveyed worry children feel unsafe in their local area because of knife crime. Nearly six in 1, (58 per cent), of the adults felt children carry knives for protection because they feel vulnerable. This matches Barnardo’s experience of working with children.

Almost two thirds of adults, (65 per cent), responding to the YouGov survey agreed that more safe places and activities for children such as youth clubs, sports clubs, community centres would make their area safer for children from knife crime. While 60 per cent surveyed think more investment in neighbourhoods to combat poverty, inequality and unemployment will help. This polling shows that most adults realise that knife crime is a complex issue. The answer does not lie in tougher sentences but in making sure our children and young people are safe.

We want the Government to ensure children can thrive in their own communities, provide safe environments and activities for children, alongside more investment in neighbourhoods and services to combat poverty. We need to urgently work together as a society to get a grip on this national crisis. Government needs to work with children’s services, educationalists, charities, social workers, youth workers, the criminal justice system and local communities to tackle the real causes of knife crime.

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For more information, please visit www.barnardos.org.uk