Don't criminalise and imprison children - only united communities defeat knife crime

Don't criminalise and imprison children - only united communities defeat knife crime

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myriam kane started this petition to Sajid Javid (Home Secretary)

Knife crime is reaching epidemic levels in the UK - the number of fatal stabbings in England and Wales last year was the highest since records began in 1946. But the government’s new knife crime prevention orders that will criminalise children as young as 12 will make the problem even worse. The government must scrap this dangerous new policy, and increase investment in community and youth services.

I’m a member of the National Union of Students National Executive Council, the NUS Black Students Committee and the former President of Lewisham and Southwark College. The community I am from and that I live in has been scarred and traumatised by the impact of knife crime. I am expecting my first baby in a matter of weeks, and I am worried for the future of my child and the new generation of young people.

The government’s new Knife Crime Prevention Orders risk criminalising a generation of young people who have grown up unsupported and who often turn to carrying weapons out of fear. The orders can be imposed on anyone 12 years old and over who is believed to be carrying a knife, even if they are not.  They can include curfews and restrictions on social media use - but breaching the order is a criminal offence which results in up to two years in prison.

Instead, we should be looking to places like Glasgow which have seen dramatic reductions in knife crime by treating it as a public health issue. Cuts to youth centres and community centres have made things worse, as there are less spaces for young people to constructively engage in society, less spaces to interact with positive role models and to address the problems they face.   

Education, empowerment and investment in society will get knives off the street. Criminalising young people and now imprisoning children as young as 12, won’t. Please sign my petition to tell the Home Secretary to drop his knife crime prevention orders and instead invest more money in early intervention programmes.

 

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