Mercy Muroki: We are in a war against knife crime - and we’re losing it

We need a National Knife Crime strategy

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Eight men have been arrested after two teenage boys were stabbed to death in Essex over the weekend.

These are just the latest tragic deaths in a long list of stabbings across the country.

When it comes to knife crime, I find myself sounding like a broken record.

Yet again, a young person has been mercilessly slain at the hands of someone wielding a blade.

And yet again, politicians are silent on the issue.

Knife crime have been rising year on year in England and Wales since 2013, with the exception of last year. It took a global pandemic and a total shutdown of the country to curb yet another annual rise in knife crime last year.

And its not just actual stabbings that have gone up – people are clearly feeling bolder in carrying and using knives.

Police figures show that over the last decade, threats to kill using a knife have gone up 252%.

Rapes where a knife was involved – up 128%.

Attempted murder using a knife – up 109%.

And this is not just a London issue.

The highest rate of knife offences per head can be found in the West Midlands. And Surrey has seen a 632% increase over the last decade.

And all this begs the question: why on Earth do we not have a national knife crime strategy? Our approach to knife crime in this country is so futile and incoherent that one police force set up a knife bin outside their station so that those carrying knives could safely discard them without getting into trouble.

Fine so far.

Except the hole to drop the knives into was so big that you could literally fit your hand inside and take the knives back out – which is exactly what one man was able to do.

Needless to say, this idea was swiftly scrapped.

Which is exactly why we need a National Knife Crime strategy. Complete with a national knife crime unit, a dedicated tsar, backed up by funding, with targets so police forces and ministers can be held accountable.

The Chancellor has repeatedly said during the pandemic that the government would do “whatever it takes” to support the economy.

That it would behave like a wartime government to tackle the pandemic.

Well we are in another war – a war against knife crime.

And we’re losing it.

If only the government would do ‘whatever it takes’ on the knife crime pandemic.