Knife Crime report - Bringing the voice of the street to the House
In the summer of 2006 Kids Count assembled a group of volunteers to form a working group to write a report on preventing and reducing knife crime. The volunteers, from voluntary, private, local authority organisations and youth representatives, all have extensive experience and expertise working directly with young people in community settings aimed at reducing knife crime. Especially important in the work of the group has been the unique contributions made by young people and their families directly affected by knife crime. The report was published in July 2008, and launched at Westminster.
KIDS COUNT CALLS FOR PREVENTATIVE EDUCATION IN KNIFE CRIME REPORT TO BE LAUNCHED IN PARLIAMENT
A NEW ‘Knife Crime’ Report will be unveiled in Parliament today that will call for current and potential knife carriers and users to be actively targeted in primary and secondary schools with urgent preventative education and mentoring campaigns.
The Report, which will be published by Kids Count, a grass-roots think tank that aims to find practical solutions to the broad spectrum of issues that affect children and young people in urban and rural communities, has identified vulnerable at risk children and young people and called for education to be applied both in school and in the community for those most at risk of involvement in knife crime. A full list of the recommendations and members of the ‘Kids Count Knife Crime Group’ can be found at the end of this press release.
The Report will be launched following a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Child and Youth Crime who are currently holding an Inquiry into young people carrying knives and bladed weapons in conjunction with Kids Count. The Inquiry will today hear from a group of young people from across the UK who will work with a panel of MPs to identify actions and practical solutions that the family, youths, schools and the Government itself can take to stem the tide of growing knife crime on our streets.
Kids Count has for over three years been investigating the foundations of the knife crime crisis currently gripping the UK. The Think Tank has teamed up with a number of voluntary organisations and young people from across the UK to develop the “Knife Crime : Bringing the voice of the Street to the House” Report.
The Report will also call for the Office for Criminal Justice Reform to liaise with Local Criminal Justice Boards (LCJBs) to consider giving specific authority to target knife crime as this process empowers all elements of the LCJB to work robustly together so that police action, CPS review and action and courts prioritise this area of criminal offence.
Linda Lawrence, Founder and Director of Kids Count said, “This report is distinctive in that it combines established current research evidence from a wide variety of sources, including parents’ and young people’s accounts of the impact of knife crime whether as victims or perpetrators and the views of small community organisations who have first hand knowledge of tackling the problem on our streets. There have been numerous reports looking at the issues of knife crime in recent months, but far too often, the issue has been viewed from a narrow vantage point and a ‘big vision’ has been lacking. The pinprick solutions offered have proved too limited.”
Lawrence continued, “This publication provides some potential answers. It is the fruit of a unique collaboration that has brought together a great concert of expertise. The views of victims’ families, youth groups, relevant charities, senior police officers, council activists and academics, among others, have united to create a composite vision. It is a crucial first step in identifying the problems and understanding the context. It explores how we have found ourselves in a society, confronted by the steel on our streets and discusses how we can begin to gauge the answers Britain’s young people are looking for.”
The Kids Count Report is also calling for properly funded research and for anti knife crime projects and campaigns to receive Government funding for a minimum of three years with infrastructure costs built in, especially where funding is given to small organisations. Kids Count believes that by bringing together the right combination of experts and real life experience, the right solutions to the real issues can be found.
Linda Lawrence concluded, “Kids Count is determined to continue its work with young people and to search for the long term solutions to these issues. We highly commend this vital study to colleagues in Westminster and to all those in positions of responsibility across the country, and we look forward to the next phase in its timely programme of research and programme pilots which will identify and evaluate solutions.”