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Opinion: I welcome Mayor’s anti-knife initiative

PUBLISHED: 08:00 19 November 2017

Archant

Moped gangs and knife crime often go hand-in-hand – and are among the gravest fears of residents in Havering.

Everyone who’s heard the stories, passed on by friends and neighbours or through the pages of this newspaper, knows what a threat they are to the fabric of our community.

Forty people under 25 have been fatally stabbed in London so far this year – many in north and east London. Across the capital knife crime is up 31per cent.

That’s why I welcome Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s initiative this week, appealing directly to young people not to carry knives.

The hard-hitting social media campaign London Needs You Alive is using the platforms of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as Grime stars to get a positive message across. It is targeted directly at those who are most at risk of being affected by knife crime.

It needs to work in tandem with well-resourced and intelligence-led policing that tackles criminals on our streets.

I have been pleased to be assured recently by Borough Commander Jason Gwilliam that moped and knife-related crimes are a top priority for police in our locality.

There has also been a cultural shift in policing attitudes towards supporting officers in their line of duty, rather than strangling them with health and safety red tape to stop them tackling the gangs.

But make no mistake, there is a long way to go before we can say the battle is being won and the moped and knife gang scourge on our streets is seriously diminished.

For the sake of this community, and others across London, we need to win that battle. As former EastEnders star Brooke Kinsella, whose brother was stabbed to death aged 16, says:“We need to remember that knife crime doesn’t just destroy one life, it destroys countless lives.

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