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Charity workers: 'Deprivation and desensitisation fuelling cycle of tit-for-tat violence'

PUBLISHED: 17:12 04 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:12 04 April 2018

Floral tributes left outside the Stratford Centre after Beniamin Pieknyi was stabbed to death there Picture: Ken Mears

Floral tributes left outside the Stratford Centre after Beniamin Pieknyi was stabbed to death there Picture: Ken Mears

Archant

Gang postcode wars have spread across the capital, particularly in deprived areas, a charity boss has said.

Patrick Green, head of the Ben Kinsella Trust, said the deadly rivalries can be seen across swathes of east, north and south London.

“For some reason this isn’t just defined to one or two little corners, it just seems to have spread and the mindset has crept in across London,” he said.

“It’s around social deprivation. If you were to pull out a map which showed the most deprived boroughs I would guarantee there is a postcode war there.”

He said young people get stuck in such “a bubble” that he has met men in their mid-20s who have never left their neighbourhood.

Social media has also been highlighted as fuelling a cycle of tit-for-tat violence.

Beth Murray from youth charity Catch 22 said violent videos can end up being shared with thousands of people, normalising horrific incidents like stabbings and heaping “shame” on the victim, pressuring them to retaliate.

She said: “Most of the shootings and stabbings that we see often aren’t linked to organised crime or gangs, they are kids with knives getting out of control with each other.

“What we’re seeing is that somebody might get stabbed, that might get filmed, that might go on Snapchat, that might be shown to hundreds of people who might then see that as normal, they might share that, that might then go out to thousands of people.

“That desensitises young people to what’s going on around them and secondly it creates a momentum behind it.

“Somebody who has been stabbed will then have to retaliate because they’ve been shamed, or their friends will feel as though they have to retaliate because they feel they’ve been publicly shamed.

“It creates a cycle of violence which previously didn’t exist, we’d see a lot more isolated incidents.”

Police have launched 48 murder investigations in London this year.

Among those to be killed are Reece Tshoma, 23, from Barking who died after being stabbed in Plumstead, south east London on Thursday.

Lyndon Davis, 18, was fatally stabbed in Nash Road, Chadwell Heath last month, while a 59-year-old man from Stern Close, Barking, died on Tuesday last week after being assaulted.

Beniamin Pieknyi, 21, died after being stabbed in the Stratford Centre last month, while on Valentine’s Day, Promise Nkenda, 17, was stabbed to death in Goldwing Close, Canning Town.

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