2014 closed with eight knives related murders towards teenagers, which have been considered a vast improvement from the 23 people stabbed to death in 2008. As of March, however, there has already been five knife related murders toward teenagers. Although this is perceived as low, it could also be seen as a concern as it is still relatively early in the year.
In the wake of the fatal stabbing of Alan Cartwright on Caledonian Road, the concerns of safety for young people have once again been raised. Although there have been arrests relating to his death, many are asking what can be done to prevent such an incident happening again.
Speaking with Yohana Franklin, a representative for the Ben Kinsella Trust a number of reasons were bought up for not just knife crime, but teenage related crimes in general. One reason that was discussed was the relationship between the young people and the authority, namely the police.
“I think that there needs to be a relationship between the police and the young people,” she said: “They do have a police liaison officer system and I think it works really well.”
A single police officer will usually be sent to a school to communicate with the students and staff. “That officer will be the person between the young person and the police force,” said Franklin. “Once they get to know the young people, they’re almost not on their side but they can, put forward their voice, which is important.”
The trust was established in 2008 after the fatal stabbing of Ben Kinsella. It actively campaigns in the ongoing battle to put knife crime to an end. An exhibition is also available to see, which includes a short film detailing the aftermath of Ben Kinsella’s death and the effect it had on his family. “ We’re trying to get people to understand, if you were the person who committed the crime how would that affect your own family as well as the victim’s?” Campaigners said.
Many tactics to decrease youth crime have proved to be controversial, one being the ‘stop and search’ scheme.
Redler Mpembe was stopped and searched by the police whilst dropping his siblings to primary school. “I think that they’re wasting people’s time and that they stereotype,” he said. When they arrive at the scene of a crime, I feel like they tend to treat the victim as a suspect.”