Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Fighting knife crime..

Ben Kinsella
 The government has announced an £18million package to fight knife crime among teengers, following a report from campaigner Brooke Kinsella, the Eastenders actress whose 16-year-old brother Ben was murdered in Islington in 2008.
 The plans include educational material for schools, including primary schools, to make children think about why people carry knives and the harm they can do. The Fear and Fashion programme, which runs workshops in schools and youth clubs is singled out as an example of good practice.
I applaud Home Secretary Theresa May for finding the money to back these projects. I hope that other government spending plans -  in particular the 20 per cent cut to the police budget, and the plan to fill gaps in policing by using volunteers - will not negate its good effect.
I also wonder about the effect of Justice Minister Ken Clarke's enlightened stand against short prison sentences, which led to the abandonment of David Cameron's election pledge to put everyone convicted of carrying a knife in jail. I wrote about that here.
My daughter is at school in north London, roughly equidistant from Ben Kinsella's school and from Park View Academy,  which suffered the loss of a pupil, Kasey Gordon, a few weeks ago, stabbed to death in broad daylight as he walked home from school (a man has been charged). Her school has staged several anti-knife crime assemblies and programmes. The last one seemed very effective - the bereaved mother of a knife crime victim spoke, and then a doctor who deals with stabbings in a casualty unit. Girls cried, reported my daughter, and everyone paid attention.
So, it's good to hear about the funding for more anti-knife education. I hope these intiatives will succeed despite the other public spending cuts. And well done to Brooke Kinsella for finding such an active and positive way to commemorate her brother, so cruelly stolen from his family.


  1. I'm glad something is going to be done.No family (from any side of the blade) should have to live through the affects of knife crime.

    The youngest child I taught, who brought a knife to school (deliberately, to cause harm,) was just eight. I was not teaching in a city at the time. Maybe the lessons need to be started younger.

  2. Adelaide has knife related crime as well but, so far, no initiatives like this.

  3. That's so sad = ( Knife crime is an awful thing and I'm glad that the goverment are trying to help stop it (more than they were before) I so so so sooooo want to read When I Was Joe! Oh and congrats on winning the award!

  4. @Cliona - thanks..if you contact my publishers, they might let you have a review copy.