Leading article: A more thoughtful response

Share
Related Topics

The previous government responded to an alarming increase in knife crime among young people two years ago by beefing up the criminal justice system. Labour announced that it would be issuing police officers with metal detecting wands and would impose tougher punishments on offenders. The Conservative party had much the same answer, promising in its manifesto at the last election that anyone found carrying a knife would face an automatic jail sentence.

Thankfully, Brooke Kinsella, the former EastEnders actress whose 16-year-old brother was a high-profile victim of knife crime and who was appointed an adviser to the Coalition on the subject, is pushing a more thoughtful approach. After spending the summer consulting with community workers and youth project leaders Ms Kinsella has come to the conclusion that the most effective way of tackling knife crime is through the classroom, not the courtroom. In a report to be released this week, she will recommend the introduction of knife crime awareness workshops in schools to educate youngsters on the terrible consequences of carrying a knife.

Ms Kinsella argues that the motivation for most people who carry a weapon is fear, rather than aggressive intent. If this is so, the key to changing this behaviour is not to threaten them with jail, but to make it clear to them that carrying a knife makes you less, not more, safe. She acknowledged yesterday that some head teachers might be wary of introducing such classes because of the message it could send to parents about a school's safety. But if schools fear parents would be alarmed by such measures, the answer is to educate parents, too.

For too long, ministers have tried to address the problems of antisocial and dangerous youth behaviour through the criminal justice system. But Asbos, long custodial sentences and greater stop and search powers for the police have made little difference to the public's sense of security. What Ms Kinsella proposes is for the Government and schools to get tough on the causes of knife crime, rather than just its street-level manifestations. Her recommendations mark a welcome break with the usual thinking and ought to be heeded.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

 

Ed Miliband's conference speech must show Labour has a head as well as a heart

Patrick Diamond
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments