First guns now knives... anyone see a trend?


August 9, 2008, 12:57 PM

Knife crime has overtaken terrorism as the No 1 priority for the Metropolitan Police, one of Britain’s most senior officers said yesterday.

Deputy Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson announced the form-ation of a special knife-crime unit to address the recent spate of fatal stabbings in London as he admitted that moves to stop teenagers carrying weapons were not working.

The unit, featuring specialist officers from across the capital, will target known gang members and their associates who may be carrying or supplying knives. It will also conduct random searches.

Sir Paul’s announcement came after a 16-year-old boy became the eighteenth teenager to die a violent death in the capital this year. There were 26 youth murders in 2007.

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Shakilus Townsend called out for his mother as he lay dying in a street in Thornton Heath, South London, on Thursday. He was ambushed by masked teenage boys who attacked him with a baseball bat and a knife with a 30cm blade. A young girl with the gang watched his murder.

In an attempt to stem the growing number of young deaths, senior police in the capital have been told to divert officers from other tasks to focus on tackling knife crime. Speaking at a Metropolitan Police Association co-ordination and policing committee meeting yesterday, Sir Paul said: “These measures reflect that tackling knife crime is the No 1 priority for the Met at this time.”

Earlier this year, Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, had said that only terrorism posed a greater threat than youth violence to London.

Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor for Policing, said he was extremely pleased that the police were focusing on the issue. In May the Metropolitan Police launched Operation Blunt 2, a high-profile initiative to tackle knife crime that involved taking airport-style metal detectors and using special powers to search youths for knives within high-risk areas.

Since then 27,000 people have been searched, 1,200 arrested and 500 knives seized. Of those arrested, 95 per cent have since been charged with weapons offences.

Last Sunday Ben Kinsella, 16, died after being stabbed “numerous times” having apparently become caught up in an argument that spilt out of a pub in Islington, North London. His death prompted family and friends to stage a demonstration, urging young people to shun the knife culture.

Sir Paul said: “Sadly, in recent days, more young people have lost their lives to knife crime. This is not tolerable and clearly the message is not getting through.”

The dedicated 75-strong task force will be made up of officers from the Territorial Support Group, traffic and dog sections and specialist detectives.Cindy Butts, deputy chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, welcomed the initiative. “It would be wholly wrong if the Met had not responded to the further dreadful murders that have happened this week,” she said.

Police have tried several approaches to reach out to youngsters involved in knife crime: persuasion, coercion and even shock tactics. In May, Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, announced a £5 million package to tackle violent crime, with action to crack down on knives in hotspots across Britain. Every initiative has failed to stop the stabbings in the capital.

Ministers, the Mayor of London and senior policemen have all made it clear that they need the help of communities in London if they are to have greater success. Yesterday, Sir Paul again appealed for help.

“Everyone is being affected by what is going on and we all have to work together to get the message across that carrying knives has got to stop,” he said. “We need to broadcast the message quite simply: if you carry a knife, you are likely to be caught, you will be charged and you will be likely to go to prison.”

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August 9, 2008, 01:01 PM
Here's a remedy. Put those who commit violent crimes in jail. If there is a weapon involved, mandatory additional time. I don't care if it is a gun, knife, hammer, stick, screwdriver. If we would quit coddling crimials and treat them like they should be treated, the world might just be a better place. But no, we have to make it harder on the populace, because of those who don't care about laws to begin with.

Snapping Twig
August 9, 2008, 01:06 PM
Total repeat of history.

In order to subdue the serf, fighting and weapons were outlawed - no self defense under penalty of law, severe penalties. Only the State has the power, not the individual.

Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Tyranny fears opposition and breeds contempt by its actions.

God bless the U. S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights and woe unto those that subvert them.

We left that crap behind in Europe and for good reason.

August 9, 2008, 01:59 PM
I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

Sir 230RN

August 9, 2008, 02:41 PM
brits are digging there own grave

August 9, 2008, 02:56 PM
I thought this was supposed to be a gun forum?

August 9, 2008, 03:41 PM
THR has a non-firarms section, so I think knife crime is relevant.

The Economist is a great periodical.

Brass Rain
August 9, 2008, 03:51 PM
Ugh, same old story day after day. I want to feel bad, but they brought it on themselves.

August 9, 2008, 03:52 PM
just goes to show: people will always find a way to kill people.

if knives are banned, which they're close to doing, then limeys will use hammers, screwdrivers, and cricket bats.

many years ago, i contemplated moving to the U.K., to be with a woman i cared about. thank G*D she broke my heart.

August 9, 2008, 04:00 PM
Kind of strange if you think about it, it takes a whole lot more effort to kill somebody with a knife, than with a gun. But, murder be murder.

August 9, 2008, 04:11 PM
WAIT A MINUTE!!! (He says in mock surprise)

I thought if you outlawed all guns the killing would stop and we would all live in peace and harmony?

August 9, 2008, 04:12 PM
^ No, it was peas and hominy!

August 9, 2008, 04:27 PM
I don't know what ya expect- they JAIL you for defending yourself over there!

Joe Cool
August 9, 2008, 04:51 PM
In one of Gabe Suarez' videos, he mentions that the probably of dying from a knife wound or attack I think is something like 85% whereas a single gunshot wound is substantially lower, but I don't recall the number. Either way, I know a few UK citizens who are now happy to call the USA home.

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