Children as young as thirteen are being stabbed in a tide of violence sweeping Britain, but the reason for the spike is the subject of heated debate.
Knife crime in the UK is the most pressing concern for teenagers today, according to a survey conducted of more than 1.1 million 11- to 18-year-olds by the British Youth Council.
Speaking on behalf of UK Youth Parliament, Brahmpreet Kaur Gulati, said: “Knife crime in the UK continues to escalate and for far too long, the threat of knife culture has not been addressed by decision makers and this needs to change”
The results come just after knife crime hit a new record in England and Wales, as the latest statistics show violence continuing to soar and the number of cases solved falling. The Office for National Statistics said the total of 14,987 knife crimes in the year to the end of June was a 15 per cent rise on the comparable figure 12 months earlier.
Meghan Elkin, head of the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said knife crime has been rising for four years “There have been some improvements in recording by police, but we do think this is a genuine increase”
Meraki News asked Jay Odell, 19 ; a second-year film student at LSBU who was held at knifepoint in May by a boy on a bike outside a cash machine, how it affected him “I feel anxious since the incident and have to look over my shoulder on a daily basis due to this knife epidemic.”
The disclosure of the bleak statistics will heap pressure on both the Metropolitan police and London Mayor Sadiq Khan as a report by the government cited drug dealing and social media as key drivers, but police have called for more funding to turn around the loss of thousands of officers and voluntary groups are attacking cuts to youth services.
According to a recent Unison report, between 2010 and 2016 – £387m was slashed from youth services; between 2012 and 2016 – a grand total of 603 youth clubs were closed.
Sian Berry, a Green member of the London Assembly, revealed that in the last five years £28m has been slashed from council youth service budgets in the capital, resulting in the closure of 36 youth centres and a 48% cut in council youth service employment. “It’s really hard to prove a direct link between youth crime and youth services,” Berry told me. “But there has to be a link between young people having nowhere to go and young people being left to hang out in unsafe spaces and interact with each other in ways that are not constructive and also feel alienated from society.”
Cuts to youth services combined with one in three local authorities in England admitting they have nowhere for excluded children to go, leaving them vulnerable to violence and criminal exploitation.