In light of the two recent stabbings in Milton Keynes, and an overall increase of knife crime by 90% in the area, our writers Ceri Clarke and Iona Lowe discuss what should be done about knife crime in the UK.
Following the recent murders of two young men at a party in Milton Keynes, the overwhelming and devastating problem of knife crime in the UK is apparent, and it is on the rise. Despite endless promises from the government to support police officers and finance increased patrols, weapon sweeps and stop and search methods, it appears that in reality none of that has been successful in actually solving the issue of knife crime, and it begs the question, what should actually be done?
This year incidents involving knives has reached a record 44,000 and with the government breaking promises and slashing police budgets, the problem is only being fueled further. But perhaps giving police more power and authority to try to prevent these horrific crimes is overlooking the causation of them, and surely that is the most serious issue that needs to be addressed, particularly when increased stop and searches has not resulted in the decrease of knife crime.
Knife crime is an issue that predominantly centres itself around the young people of the UK. By cutting youth budgets, limiting funding to mental health, closing youth centers, and with the constant pressure of youth unemployment, it is fair to say that in recent years the conservatives have created a toxic environment for many young people, particularly those who are already in a vulnerable position. A ‘poverty of hope’ has been created, and with little trust between young people and the authorities the issue of knife crime will only get worse.
Perhaps notes should be taken from Scotland. They too suffered from an epidemic of knife crime. However, after more energy and funding was implemented into education and health services, knife crime has been more than halved, preventing the crimes at their very root. Although our government has tried to adopt this strategy, it appears that they are still playing catch-up to reduce knife crime, and a more serious attempt must therefore be taken to support the youth exposed to these horrendous crimes and prevent them from happening in the first place.
Knives have always been legal. In fact, it is legal for those aged 16 -18 to purchase kitchen knives, and although cahoots of knives are banned, it only takes one sharp edge for something so normalised to become lethal.
With the news of two young adults being stabbed in Milton Keynes, it is obvious that the UK’s knife problem has spread from the confines of London to other surrounding cities. However, while we know that the crime has been increasing, the question is, how do we stop it?
While the answer is not straightforward, there are certainly measures we can take to reduce the number of young adults being knifed, mostly as a result of group mentality.
Firstly, we need to address the root of the problem. The gangs. The drug fuelled groups who, bored and often intoxicated end up causing fights, and with the backup of their group, are encouraged to commit even more serious crimes.
It is mainly down to boredom that these fights occur, so perhaps we need to think of a way to limit the free time that these gangs have. Often unemployed, it is no wonder that they turn to crime, they must find fun in something. Perhaps if they were removed from the street before they could get into such abrasion, and offered a constructive way of life we could nip the problem in the bud.
Something as simple as making them feel part of the community could do the job. Bringing the community together and making each person feel involved would mean that people respect each other, rather than seeing these other people as a threat. If they can be shown that they are all equal, then it could be their personal choice to stop.
Last modified: 6th November 2019