‘Parents need to talk to their children about knife crime’, says Seven Kings campaigner

An anti-knife campaigner, who wants to use empty shops in high streets to offer advice and information on knife related crimes, believes a “lack of communication” among youngsters is leading to attacks.

Danny O’Brien, who founded the action group Anti Knife UK, organised a special pop up event last week in Cameron Road, Seven Kings.

He said: “There are so many empty shops in the area so it made sense to use one of these outlets to help engage people and raise awareness of knife crime. It can be a taboo subject for many.

“Sometimes people have the blinkers on and forget that people can become a victim of knife crime anywhere, which was highlighted by the recent stabbing in Henley Road, Ilford.”

The 46-year-old has been working with communities across London to stop young people carrying weapons since the tragic death of 16-year-old Holloway School student Ben Kinsella in 2008.

The group offers free posters and leaflets to schools and businesses across Redbridge to make young people “think again” about knives.

Mr O’Brien, whose nephew was involved in a knife attack, said: “People often ask me how they should communicate with their kids as so many parents don’t know what their children are doing, and before they realise, their kids are involved in gang culture.”

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Bushra Tahir, chairman of AWAAZ, which runs sessions to help educate parents about knife and gun crime, said: “Events like this are worth doing, as parents need to be educated on how to help their children stay away from crime.

“It starts with the parents who need to open up and talk to their children.”

Anti Knife UK will also be raising money for Children in Need by walking from Trafalgar Square to the BBC studios on November 16, and remembering those youths who have died due to knife crime.

Mr O’Brien added: “Youngsters need to know the consequences of knife crime. The main problem is a lack of communication.” For more information please visit Anti Knife UK’s Facebook page.