The Tashan Daniel Stop Knife Crime campaign wants an urgent rethink on how we as a society deal with the prevention of knife crime. We know it’s not one single issue and we don’t pretend to be the experts. We look to encourage a debate and get everybody focused on solving the problem which is only getting worse.
1. Put Knife Crime Top Of The Government’s Agenda
By this time next week 5 more people will have lost their life to knife crime. The social issues around knife crime run deep and need to be above and beyond party politics.
We will be organising a string of events all targeted at raising awareness of knife crime. Some will be aimed at the government calling for a change to policy. Others will be in memory of Tashan aimed at bringing together communities and raising money for our charity.
2. Make Knife Carriers Fear They Will Be Caught and increase the deterrent.
No one should be carrying a knife without the fear of being caught. We want measures implemented that will make knife carriers feel that they will be caught. When Knife carriers are caught a suitable punishment is required to act as a deterrent to others.
- Sign our Petition
- Police need improved powers to stop and search. There is a direct correlation between the sharp reduction in stop and search in 2013/14 and and sharp increase in knife crime.
- Currently section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 allows a police officer to stop and search a person without suspicion in an area which has been authorised by a senior officer of Commander rank. This power can only be authorised where there is a reasonably held belief that serious violence will take place. Lets consider a change where section 60 can be used to create an area for random stop and search.
- There needs to be more teams with mobile body scanners (knife arches) moving between school gates, train stations and night spots.
Knife crime will result in a custodial sentence if a person is convicted of using the knife to threaten another person where that person is at immediate risk of serious physical harm. Repeat offenders also receive a custodial sentence if are convicted of carrying a knife in a public place or on school premises, and they have at least one previous “relevant conviction” of possession a weapon or threatening people with a weapon. We want to push for the following changes in government policy.
- Introduce a minimum sentence for carrying a knife, equal to carrying a firearm. There’s a minimum 5-year sentence for carrying a gun if you’re over 18. Currently the minimum sentencing guidelines for knife crime are as follows: Age 16-18 4 months, 18+ 6 months.
- Make knife Homicide (25 years) equal to gun homicide(30 years).
- Create a knife carrier register that gives the Police more powers of stop and search individuals who are high risk. Being caught in possession of a knife at any age should result in the offender being added to this register immediately. Individuals are removed from the register after 5 years. This is a police register not a public register. We believe that is is important that offenders are not impeded in changing their lives and being on the register should not affect the individual’s ability to get a job.
3. Social Change
We need to understand the motivation behind carrying a knife.
What leads someone to carry a knife?
Fear, Hatred, Retribution, Insecurity?
Whatever the immediate reason for carrying a knife these emotions are just a culmination of events, life experiences, life. To tackle knife crime we need to wind back the clock to before a life is taken, before a knife is taken. In some cases we recognise that some individuals are criminals who have chosen a path of crime as a genuine option. Others may have
- Fear being a victim of crime
- Have a perceived lack of options and the increased pressures from social media to lead a certain materialistic life encourages kids from a young age to try and find an easy route. Generally that easy route is petty crime.
How do you stop young people from turning to crime?
- Alternative more appealing options with strong role models is part of the answer. Sport is a good area to focus on as it captures the imagination and encourages discipline. Funding should be provided for coaches of local sports clubs to go into schools and youth clubs inspiring children from a young age with inspirational videos about the lives of the clubs celebrated athletes, talks about the sport and demonstrations. This should be backed up with an open doors policy where ability is not a barrier. Funding should also be provided to break down barriers of attendance for example providing transport where required. Free match or meet tickets for kids from all backgrounds should be the norm not an occasional select gift.
- It is important that this approach is not just limited to sport. From an early age children imagine themselves in job roles. The enthusiasm to be a nurse, fireman, doctor or shopkeeper should not be lost as children grow older. Role models from all industries are required to cover each child’s individual ability and ambition. This is all about plotting a different path for each child to follow, one that does not lead to crime.
- Family is key. Sports clubs, youth clubs and schools should be encouraging parental involvement as much as possible strengthening the link within the immediate family. Where there is no immediate family, clubs need to be able to fill the gap and become the extended family. Without this support network some young people don’t stand a chance.