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Opinion: Stabbings a new low for our community

PUBLISHED: 08:30 25 January 2020

Following Sunday's stabbings, Ilford South MP Sam Tarry wants knife crime made a public health issue.

Following Sunday's stabbings, Ilford South MP Sam Tarry wants knife crime made a public health issue.

Archant

The fatal stabbings in Seven Kings are deeply shocking and I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to the families of the three men who died.

Sunday's attacks marked a new low for our community in Ilford, with knife crime an all-too-regular occurrence on our streets.

While I have no desire to politicise this issue, it's clear that the closure of hundreds of youth clubs across the capital, cuts to mental health services, rising levels of deprivation and inequality, and the loss of tens of thousands of police officers, have created the conditions for knife-related crime to thrive in constituencies like Ilford South.

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London has been hit harder than any other part of the country, following years of cuts to its police forces. Spending on policing per person in London fell by 20 per cent between 2012 and 2017. There is an irrefutable direct link to these cuts and a rise in violent knife-related crime.

Indeed, between 2016 and 2018, there was an increase in knife-related crime of more than 30pc. And from 2018-19, there were 424 reported knife-related crimes in our borough.

If we're serious about ending the scourge of knife crime, we must adopt a much more comprehensive and holistic approach, and address this as a public health issue, as much as a crime issue. This approach has had remarkable success in Scotland, where organisations such as 'No Knives Better Lives' have led to an 85pc reduction in the number of people carrying knives.

Only then will we be able to move forward with decisive action and build community cohesion.

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