The mother of a fatal stabbing victim has blamed television programmes like Peaky Blinders as one of the “many reasons” for the rise in knife crime among youngsters in the UK.
Alison Cope's rapper son, 18-year-old Joshua Ribera, died after being stabbed in the heart in the car park of a Birmingham nightclub in September 2013, following an argument over a woman.
Speaking to talkRADIO's Julia Hartley-Brewer, Ms Cope said: “We’re giving them such mixed messages and there’s no justification to ever carry a knife but young people are so confused.
“On one hand we say to them it’s not okay to join a gang, on another hand we promote gangs like Peaky Blinders."
The BBC series is a dramatisation of a real criminal youth gang that ran in Birmingham after the First World War.
Ms Cope continued: “On one hand we show lots and lots of negative imagery but then we don’t expect them to be influenced.
“And then when they do get arrested, the penalties are so inconsistent they grow up thinking there are no consequences to their actions."
Her comments come after a London police officer was stabbed multiple times with a machete and left in a critical condition.
The youth violence campaigner said the attack was “horrific” but claimed its news coverage showed that knife crime against young people “seems to be less of a priority”.
“If it was a fight on the street, this wouldn’t make national headlines,” she added.
Going forward, Ms Cope called for “alternative punishment”, suggesting an automatic 12-month tag and therapy the first time a young person is caught with a knife.