June 13, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

Major new report reveals full extent of britain’s knife crisis

The full extent of Britain’s knife crisis is laid bare in a major new report today released by the Ben Kinsella Trust.

Britain’s leading anti-knife crime charity spoke to more than 9,500 children and teenagers, and over 240 teachers and youth workers over two years to conduct a review into the impact knives are having across our neighbourhoods.

It revealed more than a third of respondents (36%) no longer feel safe walking the streets, and that one in four (25%) feel carrying a knife makes them safer. 

Alarmingly, the report also found 6% of kids aged just 10-11 years old have even considered carrying a blade.

The report also reveals how:

  • Over one-third (36%) of young people no longer feel safe in their own neighbourhoods.
  • Two-thirds (64%) feel anxious about knife crime in their area.
  • And, notably, 43% of girls specifically mentioned feeling unsafe where they live.
  • A quarter (25%) said they knew someone who had carried a knife.

The report, funded by the London Violence Reduction Unit, is based on data collected over a two year period (2022-2023) from participants who visited a Choices and Consequences Exhibition run by the unit in Islington and Barking. The report features the views of 9,507 young people aged 10-17 and 247 teachers and youth workers.

The workshops conducted at these exhibitions engage young people with real-life stories, immersive theatre and foster open discussions, promoting trauma-informed practices and positive interactions.

And the report found the exhibitions ” not only positively impacted  young people, but it empowered educators too.

It found teachers are more likely to integrate anti-knife crime lessons into their curriculum after participating in the program and that they felt more equipped and motivated to address this critical issue.

The report gauged beliefs before and after attendance at the exhibitions, and it found:

  • The number of young people who thought a knife would protect them drops from

24% to 5%.

  • 73% who had considered carrying a knife pledged never to do so following the

workshop.

  • 89% of attendees pledge never to carry a knife.

Commenting on the report Patrick Green, CEO, The Ben Kinsella Trust said “We see a concerning trend – fear of knife crime is driving young people, understandably worried about their safety, to believe a dangerous myth: that carrying a knife keeps them safe. 

“This report is a powerful testament to the impact of preventative education. By dismantling these myths and equipping young people with the knowledge and skills to make safe choices, we can empower them to avoid life-altering mistakes. 

“Equipping every child with knife-safety awareness and decision-making tools is absolutely vital in our fight against knife crime.”

Lib Peck, Director of the London Violence Reduction Unit, which funded the report said:

“For more than a decade, the Ben Kinsella Trust has delivered valuable work to support young people and keep them safe. Evidence shows young people are safer in school and it’s why London’s Inclusion Charter is working to tackle rising suspensions and persistent absenteeism.

“We need to do more to support young people to inform and inspire them to make positive choices. That’s why London’s Violence Reduction Unit is pleased to fund this insightful research as part of our shared belief that violence is preventable, not inevitable.”

Councillor Syed Ghani, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety (London Borough of Barking and Dagenham) added: “The Ben Kinsella Trust does incredible work within the local community which is why we were thrilled to work with them on this project The Community Safety Partnership have been carrying out a Research and Evaluation Project which in part, has been looking at interventions to reduce weapons enabled violence, particularly those that prevent knife carrying.

“A key part of the report highlights how educating people plays a huge role in changing perceptions. We adopted a similar approach to our Lost Hours campaign as we aim to educate parents around the risks of youth violence and also make them aware of the large range of positive activities and opportunities that are available to young people in the borough.

“We will continue to work closely with the Ben Kinsella Trust and have exciting plans lined up for the future.”