Solving knife crime in London will take a decade, Sadiq Khan admitted.
The murder rate in London has risen to 118 this year, and the London Mayor said the involvement of primary children in knife crime meant his strategy to tackle it, modelled on Glasgow, was going to take “some time.”
“To really make significant progress can take up to 10 years, a generation,” Khan said, according to the Telegraph. “They saw in Scotland what we are seeing in London, which is children in primary schools thinking not only is it OK to carry a knife.
“It gives them a sense of belonging in joining a criminal gang and it makes them feel safer and they see nothing wrong in getting involved in this sort of behaviour.”
Victims’ groups have demanded tougher sentences as a deterrent and said figures from the Ministry of Justice showing 36 per cent received custodial sentences for knife crimes as a mockery.
The rest got suspended sentences, community service, fines, cautions or conditional discharges.
Ann Oakes-Odger, who founded Knife Crimes.Org after her son Westley was stabbed to death and successfully campaigned for a maximum four-year sentence for possession, said: “We are far too lenient on people caught carrying knives.
“We really need for offenders to see that sentencing is not only robust but sends a strong message to deter them. Even people using a knife on somebody are not getting the four years that I campaigned for.
“At the moment the people involved in crime seem to be laughing at the legal system.”
Harry Fletcher, of the Victims’ Rights Campaign, said that with offenders seeing detection rates as low as 10 per cent and a two-thirds chance of avoiding jail, it was “not a deterrent and is instead an insult to victims.”