The death toll from knife-related attacks rose again this week, with a thirty year old male fatally stabbed in Bolton; another in West Bromwich; a third at the “T in the Park” music festival in Scotland, and four more fatal stabbings in London on Thursday.
And the reaction from Government? Home Secretary Jacqui Smith intends to arrange for young people caught carrying knives to make visits to hospital emergency rooms to see victims of knife attacks, to talk to their families and to go into prison to talk to knife offenders.
So just how will that work then? If – God forbid – I’d fallen prey to a knife attack, it’s hardly going to improve my chances of recovery to wake in hospital and find I was being asked to meet with a group of knife-carrying youngsters. And while I languished in intensive care, would my family want to discuss the experience with potential new attackers?
Of course not. It’s yet another knee-jerk Government response which can’t possibly work. Why not open up the dialogue with young people before they start carrying knives? Why not start resourcing our police force properly. Why not task them with making our inner city communities safer so that our young people feel valued and appreciated and don’t need to carry knives in the first place?
And – stop press – I’ve just had an email from a constituent who’s asking me how come at the car boot sale he went to today, there was such a large collection of sheath knives available, and why there wasn’t a ban?
Over to you, Jacqui Smith…