Knife crime is on the rise in the UK. Here Natalie Kejhova reports on a mother’s grief and what is being done to solve the problem…
“I was in labour for 23 hours with him, yet it took less than four minutes to stab him to death,”
Yinka Bankole is still struggling to come to terms with the death of her son 17-year-old Folajimi Orebiyi who was stabbed in the neck by a 15-year-old boy in West London.
“How many more of our children have to die before the government act?” Yinka told The Guardian.
The 15-year-boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced at the Old Bailey in February 2017 to being locked up for 13 years for murdering Folajimi, in an ambush in Notting Hill.
In the UK knife crimes have been reported increased by 21% to 37,443 incidents in the past 12 months up until September.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, is the man who is leading the battle to tackle the knife crime epidemic in the capital.
“The bad news is that it’ll take some time before we see a positive change, but we need everyone to join our fight to try and reduce knife crime and ultimately end it,” he told The Voice.
It may not seem very reassuring if the Mayor of London isn’t feeling hopeful about knife crimes stopping anytime soon.
However, Mr.Khan does feel confident about doing as much as he can as the Mayor. He says £45 million was invested in youth services to help young Londoners which included mental health facilities to address one of the underlying causes of knife crimes.
“We will work tirelessly in 2018 and beyond to stamp out this scourge. I want to be absolutely clear – if you use a knife the full force of the law will be brought down on you,” The Mayor told The Independent.
We should feel safer knowing that laws surrounding the ownership and use of knives will be stricter this year in the capital and the country as a whole.
However, this issue goes beyond that. Sarah Jones chair of the all-party parliamentary group on knife crime expressed her concern to The Guardian.
“I know that the government have a cross-departmental committee that meets to talk about violent crime, knife crime – the seeds are there. But this is something that goes beyond the Home Office, way beyond policing. It is a public health issue, it’s an epidemic.”
Statistics released by the National Health Service show that there’s a 13% rise in hospital admissions for knife wounds in the past year. This shows that this issue is affecting the health of citizens on a bigger scale.
Closer to home, Derbyshire police have an ongoing campaign Zao in response to current national issues with knife crimes. This month the Derbyshire Constabulary revealed that almost 50 pupils in the area were found carrying knives in school in the past couple of years.
The campaign has been running for the past two years ago and takes an educational approach in schools with interactive activities about the consequences and dangers of carrying knives. Leaflets and online resources are also available to parents to keep their children and others safe.