Knife Crimes Soar In London

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[International: London Report]


Walking around the neighborhoods of inner London immediately after school hours you would be forgiven for thinking that you’ve stumbled straight into the middle of a film set, or perhaps, a major drugs operation by the police.

But, oh - no, what you will be witnessing is merely a concerted effort by the schools personnel, backed up by various sections of law enforcement and, sometimes with a full media scrum in tow, in a move designed to prevent teenagers from gathering in large menacing groups at the end of the school day.

What would then unfold is--a dedicated teaching staff would fragment the group of kids and usher them in different directions while community wardens and police personnel keep a watching brief in-case of dissent.

This is all in response to the recent spate of knife attacks, mainly among young men and boys, that is afflicting London and has so far left 20 teenagers dead. In the last 24 hours alone there were five knifings and four deaths. Londoners now expect, regrettably, to wake up the next day to yet more similar headlines.

One of the victims of London’s 24 hours of carnage is a student who fled war-torn Uganda and dreamt of fighting crime in Britain. Yusuf Miiro, 20, was stabbed to death outside his girlfriend’s flat in Walthamstow, east London. Fatima Kabasinguzi, Yusuf’s guardian, said: “He came to Britain to live in peace. His mother was my best friend and when she died of cancer five years ago I became a mother to him.”

Yusuf, who was studying criminology at Middlesex University, came to the UK eight years ago in search of a better life. Kabasinguzi, choking back tears, said: “Yusuf would hear about teenagers murdering each other and he wanted to help stop the killing-but he ended up being killed. Everyday there seems to be a murder. They are killing innocent kids.”

Kabasinguzi said Yusuf, who had three younger sisters living in London and four elder siblings in Uganda, would cook meals and help his father raise the young
family. She added: “He was very close to his father- I don’t know what he is going to do now. He was a lovely boy, very friendly and very caring.”

Yusuf was stabbed several times outside his girl-friends first-floor flat at St David’s Court. He had just been out to get some food and was set upon at 8.30 PM. Yusuf’s distraught father, Yusufu, arrived at the scene screaming: “That’s my boy, that’s my boy,” writes Bevan Hurley of thelondonpaper.

According to reports in SKY NEWS, a survey finds over 80% of police officers think knife crimes have gotten worse in the last five years. Department of Health reports 38 people treated for stab wounds every 24 hours.

A culture of greed and rudeness among adults is contributing to the epidemic of knife and gun violence among teenagers, according to the UK government’s behavior adviser Sir Alan Steer. A head-teacher and the head of a major government review of school behavior policies said parents must take more responsibility for tackling violence among their teenage children.

He defended comprehensive schools, which he said were regularly blamed for children’s poor behavior when they are often the only place where young people from violent communities feel safe. On Monday, Steer set out a series of proposals designed to put new pressure on parents to tackle their children’s unruly behavior in school, while giving them more direct contact with teachers via email and online reporting systems. In an interview with the Guardian ahead of his report, he said that the recent killings of teenagers on London’s streets were “heartbreaking”.

“It’s connected to a violent sub-culture,” he told The Guardian. “But we bear some responsibility. Sometimes as adults we don’t model the behavior we would want youngsters to follow. We live in a greedy culture; we are rude to each other in the street. Children follow that. You wonder what has gone wrong in these children’s lives. Of course the kids have a responsibility, but there are questions about what’s going at the home. Parent’s have a huge responsibility. Government doesn’t bring up children. Parents do.”

Margaret Morrisey, of the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Association, said to The Guardian: “When talking about dysfunctional families, saying you’ve got to get a grip of your 15-year old who is smoking, drinking and completely out of control is like saying you should fly to the moon. We need systems to identify these families, systems to support them and systems to take care of their children if they can’t.”

Paul Stephenson, Deputy Metropolitan Police commissioner, said last week that tackling knife crime was now his force’s number one priority. He announced the creation of a 75-strong knife crime unit to target “known gang members and their associates”. It was an admission that several weeks of high-profile stop-and-search operations had not apparently discouraged young people from carrying weapons, according to The Times.

David Idowu, became the youngest victim of this knife violence enveloping the capitol when he died from stab wounds after an argument with a group of youths. He was just 14 years old. He was stab about three weeks ago, and died from his injuries Monday morning at the Royal London Hospital.


Allimadi reports for The Black Star News from London.

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