Police cannot solve knife violence problem

Date: 
Thursday, 19 October, 2017

Our Director Richard Garside today welcomed remarks by the Chair of the all-party group on knife crime that tackling knife violence was a health and education challenge, not a police issue.

The remarks by Sarah Jones, the MP for Croydon Central, came in an interview with The Guardian. She also called for a 10-year, cross-governmental strategy to tackle the problem.

'You can’t tackle it overnight and you can’t possibly say all knife crime happens because of just one thing', she told the paper. 'There are so many different factors at play. So we need someone in the centre to be holding the rings of a plan that goes across education, health, social media, mental health, that spans across it because otherwise it’ll go up and down as it has done.'

Speaking today, Richard said:

Sarah Jones is correct in calling for a broad-based approach to tackling the problem of knife violence. She is also right to question whether the police should be the main agency tasked with tackling the problem.

Our research for the Children's Commission found that police actions alone are unlikely to have a major impact on the knife carrying and knife violence. Indeed, crackdowns and enforcement action are more likely to be part of the problem, not part of the solution.

An effective strategy needs to join up a range of health, education and social welfare approaches, and engage with the big questions of disadvantage and social exclusion, as well as addressing individual, familial and neighbourhood problems.