This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 08/09/2017.
Croydon MP Sarah Jones fears it will take 10 years to solve knife crime problem
A Croydon MP leading a campaign to cut knife crime has called for a 10-year plan to combat an epidemic of violence in the borough.
Sarah Jones, elected Croydon Central MP earlier this year, believes a generation of young people has grown desensitised to knife crime.
She fears it will take a decade of dedication to bring down the levels of violent crime in the borough, other parts of London and across the country.
The MP is calling on the government to set up a long-term strategy to tackle the issue after hearing local stories of tragedy and violence which she says “broke my heart”.
Mrs Jones said: “A generation of young people are becoming increasingly anxious and desensitised to the existence of dangerous weapons.
“Studies have shown that 50% of London’s kids know somebody who carries a knife. Imagine what that does to your childhood, to your sense of anxiety even if you and your friends are nothing to do with knife carrying.”
15-year-old Jermaine Groupall who was stabbed in Croydon a month ago was the 15th teenager to die in a knife attack in the capital this year.
Cases of knife crime are up by a fifth across England and Wales, and of the 44 police forces, all but 7 are reporting a rise in knife offences.
Sarah Jones said: “This is a UK problem which needs a UK-wide response.”
Currently she said government programmes are under resourced and short term. Arguing for a more cohesive, cross-government approach, the new MP cited teenage pregnancy strategy.
The MP has spent much of the summer running Croydon Voice, a programme of meetings and local consultation in preparation for the Commons debate.
Mrs Jones said: “I heard stories which broke my heart.
“Two police officers battled to save the saved the life of a putting their fingers in a wound to stop the streaming blood. He survived despite losing six pints of blood. But a week later he was picked with a knife as he went looking for revenge.”
“But this summer I also met towering figures in the local community who are giving their all to fight this problem and some amazing young people who against the odds have turned their lives around.”
She said MPs off all parties had to stand shoulder to shoulder with the committed people to tackling the pressing issue.