As the government announces its latest bid to tackle knife crime, the CEO of a knife crime awareness charity has said that education is the most important first step in preventing young people carrying weapons.
Patrick Green, the chief of the Ben Kinsella Trust, said that the home secretary’s newly-announced Knife Crime Prevention Orders will “give police extra powers to deal with habitual knife-carriers”, but are “not the answer to addressing knife crime with all young people”.
- Read more: Home secretary launches 'social media ASBOs' in bid to tackle knife violence
- Read more: ‘Zombie knife’ attacker’s sentence increased by court of appeal
“The announcement which the home secretary made yesterday about Knife Crime Prevention Orders, there’s two sides of the coin,” Mr Green told Mike Graham on talkRADIO.
“It will give police extra powers to deal with habitual knife-carriers - these are people who are intent on carrying knives and carry knives because they’re linked to other activities, like drugs, gangs, or robberies.
“What these orders do is they enable the police to start to disrupt their activity, such as restricting them to certain areas, restricting their social media, and we know the criminals hate this. They hate to have their livelihood messed with.”
'They increase the risk to themselves'
He explained that young people may begin carrying knives to “protect themselves” and educating them as to why they could be “increasing the risks to themselves” by doing so, as the Ben Kinsella Trust does, is the first step in tackling knife crime.
“The point I want to make about these prevention orders, is that they’ll work well against high-end criminals,” Mr Green said.
- Read more: Knives 'dumped in the street' after fatal stabbing in Islington
- Read more: Police call for ‘more boots on the ground’ as homicides increase 14%
“They are not the answer to addressing knife crime with all young people. If you stop young people carrying knives in the first place, you don’t need these orders, and you don’t need to bring any criminal action against them.
“But the knife prevention orders are not the answer to stopping people carrying knives, that lies in education.”
The Ben Kinsella Trust was set up in memory of teenager Ben Kinsella, who was 16 when he was stabbed to death in Islington, North London.
Crime figures show offences involving a weapon are at their highest level since the year ending March 2011, with 42,957 such crimes recorded during the year ending September 2018.