Who Gives A Toss About #KnifeCrime?

Well, I do, but I’m not sure that our politicians really do care.

It will come as no surprise to most of you that I care about it, and my chosen vehicle for heightening awareness is the Knife Angel. I ‘dug’ into it, found out what it was all about, went to see it (stunning) and met the ‘owner’ and creator of the Knife Angel. I spoke to both of them at length over many cups of coffee, and their passion and belief in the project is absolutely blindingly clear.

Clive Knowles, the ‘owner’ has invested thousands (probably 10s of thousands, I was too polite to ask him) of pounds in creating the Angel. He has fabricated secure Knife Bins, more than enough for each Force to conduct a Knife Amnesty and securely store the knives surrendered. He has footed the bill for delivering the Knife Banks and collecting them when full and transportation back to his business premises.

Nobody can say that Clive is not fully committed to tackling the epidemic of Knife Crime across the country. Once the Angel was made he started a campaign to get the Knife Angel installed on the 4th Plinth of Trafalgar Square. He has even named the Knife Angel the National Monument Against Violence And Aggression.

Clive Knowles is the gent on the right.

I have also spent some time with Alfie Bradley, the brilliant young sculptor who created the Knife Angel. In order to do this he had to take 100,000 knives, and other bladed instruments, blunt each and every one of them and then form them into the Knife Angel. Some of the blades even have personal messages engraved on them from victims of Knife Crime or their families. His passion and commitment are blindingly apparent, but he is possibly better known for making a huge gorilla out of spoons for Uri Geller, but that’s another story.

Alfie is the chap on the ladder.

Then we come to our politicians. At various times, in an assortment of ways, the following politicians have proclaimed their abhorrence of the current flood of Knife Crimes and their desire to do something about it.

Theresa May

Amber Rudd

Sajid Javid

Louise Haigh

Jeremy Corbyn

Holly Lynch

Nick Hurd

Sadiq Khan.

There may be others that I have overlooked, if that is the case please forgive me.

I have tweeted to Theresa May and Amber Rudd, and emailed both of them personally. No response from either except for an ‘Out of Office’ response from Amber Rudd that if I was not a constituent of hers I would not get a reply, and I didn’t.

Sajid Javid has only recently joined the Home Office but he has still failed to respond in any way to tweets to him about Knife Crime and the #KnifeAngel.

Louise Haigh, Holly Lynch and Jeremy Corbyn have not once responded in any way to numerous tweets addressed to them on the matter.

Nick Hurd has failed to respond to tweets or emails.

Finally, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. I have tweeted him dozens of times, to both his official and personal accounts. I have sent him emails. No reply to anything. Sadiq Khan is also responsible for deciding what exactly is shown on top of the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square. I have emailed the 4th Plinth Commissioning Group. No reply, but I have seen a photo of Sadiq Khan posing in front of the latest piece of art atop the 4th Plinth.

A big ‘Thumbs Up’. London is in the grip of an immense wave of Knife Crime and a ‘Thumbs Up’ is more appropriate than the Knife Angel.

I also emailed the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, but all I got back from them was a bland rejection by ‘James’ her Staff Officer, whoever ‘James’ may be.

So, sadly, the answer seems to be that I give a toss, Clive Knowles and Alfie Bradley give a toss. Not one of the above-mentioned politicians has demonstrated any positive action towards the Knife Angel campaign. However, I do believe that Sadiq Khan has contacted Clive Knowles direct and informed him why the Knife Angel is not a suitable exhibit for the 4th plinth. In my opinion he offered a pathetic, jobsworth, reason, but that is entirely his affair, I have the right to reject it.

If the politicians want to convince us that they do actually give a toss then it’s time for them to adopt more than snappy soundbites. Get behind the Knife Angel. If not Trafalgar Square then suggest somewhere else that’s suitable. Make it happen. This is not about me. It isn’t even about Clive and Alfie. It’s about the thousands of people being stabbed and murdered on our streets every year, and Clive’s campaign to draw attention to it, and begin a reduction in Knife Crime. Don’t support me, #SupportTheKnifeAngel. Especially if you want people to vote for you next time round, whichever party you are. This is not about politics, it’s about young people dying on our streets.

PLEASE take the time to watch all three videos below, particularly the second one.  The Knife Angel suddenly becomes very real.

SAVE A LIFE – Surrender Your Knife

London Knife-Related Deaths Up 60%

Happy New Year. There’s a rather chilling post title for you. Not my figures, for once I am relying on our infallible news media.

Apparently, in London, in 2017, there were 80 fatalities due to stabbings etc. Again, according to our news friends, this is an increase from 50 in 2016. Unlike the BBC news reader this morning who portrayed this as an increase of 30%, my ancient abacus calculates this as an increase of 60%.

In response to this shocking storyline well-respected Policing Commentator, former DCI, Peter Kirkham was interviewed last night on Sky News.

Theresa May has blood on her hands.

There is Institutional Racism at the heart of this government.

Just two of the headline-grabbers from the above piece, but both are 100% accurate. Peter put his points across in an excellent manner, leaving nobody in any doubt where the blame actually lies.

As Home Secretary, and latterly Prime Minister, Theresa May has presided over the deconstruction and total emasculation of the Police Service, the dying throes of Stop and Search and the total inability for the modern-day ‘reformed’ Police Service to conduct any proactive or disruptive operations against the (mainly) gangs.

I will not apologise for banging on about the Knife Angel. Having seen it, touched it and met the sculptor, plus the man behind the campaign, there cannot be a much more powerful image.

It is huge.

For a man who pledges to take Knife Crime seriously, I am still waiting for the Mayor of London to explain why it can’t stand atop the 4th plinth. If we can have a huge “Thumb” why not the National Monument Against Violence And Aggression?

If you are not familiar with the monument you can read it’s story here.

Thumb or Angel?

Knife Crime 2016 – Almost The Final Word

As promised (threatened) here is the almost final update on the scale of Knife Crime in England and Wales last year.  I am still arguing with the City of London Police and Avon & Somerset Constabulary over their Refusal Notices, if I ever get final figures from them I’ll update this post. The figure for A&S in the graphic is very much provisional and dependent upon the outcome of the arguments.

Dyfed Powys is late replying (my fault, I didn’t spot a clarification question they sent me)

Cleveland, Kent and Leicestershire are late replying – their fault, reminders sent.

So, the bottom line is that in 2016 there were almost 18,000 deaths or injuries caused by knives, swords or other pointed implements in England and Wales.  Nearly 50 a day, or 2 every single hour of the day and night across the country.

You may not think that is very much, but every single hour a family somewhere has their lives affected to a greater or lesser extent by knives.

What can be done about it?  In my view, and you don’t have to agree with me, there are two possible solutions;

  1.  Increased use of the controversial (but not unlawful) tactic of Stop and Search.
  2.  Education – get back into schools, youth clubs and other such organisations.  Use some hard-hitting facts and images and educate the youths of the consequences of Knife Crime to others (and to themselves)  There are no guarantees of course, but, having been educated, anyone caught carrying a knife has only got themselves to blame for the consequences.

One or 2 ‘hotspots’ immediately hit you when you look at the bland statistics.

London (unsurprisingly), followed by Greater Manchester,  West Yorkshire, West Midlands, Merseyside and Essex are the front-runners.

North Yorkshire are the outright winners of the Low Knife Crime Award, BTP appear to be joint winners but I suspect that some of their crimes will feature in other Forces’ stats.

 

Where are we going with Stop and Search?  Can’t really tell you for the whole of England and Wales, but for London the answer is easy to find, and you may or may not approve.

The Mayor of London routinely publishes the stats for all kind of things.  I ASSUME they are provided by the Met but I can’t actually vouch for that.

Between 2008 and 2016 crime involving weapons generally looked like this;

Not currently as high as it has been, but looks like it’s on the way back up again.

Stop and Search? What does that look like over the same period?

As I said, these are only the figures and trends for London, they may well be similar all over the country.

Can we afford to assume that they are not?

So, back to the Knife Angel.  As of this month Clive Knowles, the chairman of the company that created the Angel stated that the only Forces who were not supporting the project were South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Sussex.  Sussex have now stated that they WILL support the scheme.  South Yorkshire, in the form of Temporary Superintendent Simon Wanless, have stated that no-one has asked them to support the scheme.  However my attempts to contact Mr Wanless have gone unanswered.

West Yorkshire, and their PCC, also have ignored my heavy-handed hints, despite having one of the larger problems in the country.

I have visited Mr Knowles again, and I can confirm to South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire that the offer of free Knife Amnesty bins is still very much available.  Each Amnesty Bin is made on site and, delivered and installed, costs the company £600-£700, that is the level of his commitment.  Come on South and West Yorks, please get on board and contact Mr Knowles, I know for a fact that he will be delighted to hear from you.

Shropshire Knife Angel’s tragic inspiration is revealed

SAVE A LIFE, SURRENDER YOUR KNIFE

The Knife Angel

Is it just me, or has there been an absolute explosion of knife crime, particularly in London, over the past 18 months?

Our best response to the problem?  Cut back on Stop and Search.  Theresa May started it, Amber Rudd has dutifully continued it.  Apparently we should not be doing so much Stop and Search.  I really don’t get that, as EVERY SINGLE KNIFE used to stab, slash, kill or injure somebody else has almost invariably been carried through the streets by somebody, somewhere at some time.

Am I alone in thinking that we should make the streets too hot to carry knives? Better detection, more prosecutions, fewer Cautions and better sentencing.

The Police can, and hopefully will, do their bit, but how can we highlight the problem? How do we get the message across to the public that knife crime is at an unacceptable and unsustainable level?

Enter Alfie.  “Who the devil is Alfie?” I hear you ask.

Alfie is Alfie Bradley, an innovative sculptor from Shropshire, possibly better known for making a gorilla out of spoons.  He is currently making an Angel out of knives.  Where does he get all the knives from?  From Police Amnesty Boxes mainly plus donations of ‘family cutlery’ from the Public.

What is the purpose of the Knife Angel? It is a National Monument Against Violence And Aggression.

How can we find out more about the Knife Angel?  Several ways really, you can read about it at it’s Facebook Page here;

You can simply Google “Knife Angel” and see pictures of it and read any one of the many news items concerning it.  You can even read more about Alfie.

How can you help raise the profile of the Knife Angel?  There is a campaign to get the Knife Angel displayed on the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square. You can sign a petition for this purpose here.

You can write to the Mayor of London and/or your local MP explaining why you think this is such an important project.

If you have had your life blighted by Knife Crime Alfie has told me that you can leave a message on the Facebook page (as above) and your message can be engraved onto the Angel.   Ot only does this send a powerful message it can go a huge way to help the families of Knife Crime victims come to terms with their loss and feel that they are contributing to something useful to turn back the tide of Knife Crime.

I am hoping to have a chat with Alfie over a cup of coffee in the next couple of weeks to see what we, the Twitterati, can do to raise the Angel’s profile and help lift it onto the 4th plinth. There is no doubt in my mind that pride of place in Trafalgar Square for a few weeks will aid the Save A Life, Surrender Your Knife campaign.

If you have any other suggestions how this can be helped by all means leave them for me in the comments below and I will discuss them with Alfie when I see him.

Please, this explosion of Knife Crime just has to STOP and anything we can do can only hasten that process and help safeguard our youth.