Education column: We all have a duty to combat knife crime

PUBLISHED: 08:30 30 March 2019

Head of Newham Sixth Form College, Mandeep Gill. Picture: NewVic

Head of Newham Sixth Form College, Mandeep Gill. Picture: NewVic


Every morning, new headlines about stabbings involving young people fill me with sadness, disgust, and fear.

Sadness for the people who have lost a loved one, disgust that a person can commit such a violent act against another human being and fear as I have two young children and I keep thinking are they safe? What should I do to make them safer?

Knife crime among young people is on the up. Statistics from The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) show Newham in the top three of London boroughs for experiencing the highest volume of knife crime in the past 12 months. Knife crime is a very serious and real threat facing young people in the borough and sees all of us affected and at risk.

Having been the victim of knife-crime myself, I know what it’s like to feel the sense of helplessness, anger, and fear this crime instils in you. I also know that I have a responsibility to my family, friends, students, and staff, to make a stand to tackle this issue and try to ensure that they never experience knife crime. As a college NewVIc also has a responsibility to educate, support and protect our students, parents and wider community. Having been awarded an outstanding by Ofsted for our provision of personal development, behaviour and welfare, and recognised for our work on knife crime, it’s important that we use this expertise to take the lead on this issue.

Earlier this month, NewVIc’s annual anti-knife crime campaign “Life not Knife” had a new sense of urgency due to the recent rise in knife crime. The student led campaign has already been making a significant impact in raising awareness and leading change. Students have been working with local MPs, including Lyn Brown, Metropolitan Police, MOPAC and Citizens UK to share their concerns and provide solutions to reduce youth violence.

Having an open dialogue on this issue is extremely important. I believe that if we can all spend a little more time, conversing with each other, respecting each other, supporting each other and educating each other, together we can help reduce knife crime at its very root.

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