A GROUP of youngsters in Birmingham have launched an anti-violence campaign to tackle knife crimes.
Birmingham’s Aspiring Youth Council hope to take their Bin That Knife, Save a Life campaign to schools and youth centres across the city, and persuade teenagers against carrying a knife.
“We see it all around us, it’s on our minds every day,” 16-year-old Narvera Parvez, a council member and one of the city’s youth crime commissioners, was quoted as saying by the Birmingham Mail. “This is not just a gang issue – older adults think it’s all gang related but there are plenty of kids not involved in gangs or violence who carry knives.”
“It’s infiltrated so many communities in Birmingham, and knives are often being carried by people you wouldn’t expect. It’s not that people want to do harm; they are just carrying them because they feel they have to, for safety,” said Navera, from Aston.
According to police figures released in March this year, 2018 saw nearly 700 schoolchildren becoming victims of knife crime in the West Midlands. This included 41 of primary school age. More than 800 youngsters, including 45 children aged 10 to 11, were caught with a knife in the region last year.
Cuts in policing and youth services were blamed for the knife crime epidemic in the city.
Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood told The Guardian: “The police numbers are at such a low that it takes something very big, an emergency, for people to get a response at all. It has to be something pretty major. This is something which has progressively got worse over the past few years and I can’t see it getting any better unless something drastically changes.”
He added: “This is how epidemic it has become, that even young children – those of primary school age – feel that in order to protect themselves they have to carry a knife. This is because the police are not there to protect them; the youth workers aren’t there to support them.”