Chil­dren are car­ry­ing knived for ‘ku­dos’

Harefield Gazette - - News -

CHIL­DREN are car­ry­ing knives for “some kind of ku­dos”, the coun­try’s top po­lice of­fi­cer has said.

Metropoli­tan Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Cres­sida Dick was speak­ing af­ter meet­ing a com­mu­nity in Lon­don where she was told young­sters as young as six have been seen armed with the weapons. She said they “feel naked” with­out them, while some are too scared to cross the cap­i­tal’s roads un­armed.

Her com­ments come af­ter the Gazette’s sis­ter web­site getwestlon­don re­ported 11-year-olds were caught car­ry­ing knives in schools this month.

Ms Dick vowed to get to the root of knife crime as she vis­ited a youth cen­tre in Put­ney and met the fam­ily of a 20-year-old trainee elec­tri­cian stabbed to death in Toot­ing last year.

The com­mis­sioner promised more of­fi­cers in schools and oth­ers in ev­ery ward to help build re­la­tion­ships with young peo­ple.

She was told com­mu­nity groups are “scream­ing out” for a re­la­tion­ship with po­lice, but the force is “not fol­low­ing up”.

The cap­i­tal has seen a wave of knife at­tacks in re­cent weeks, with more than a dozen peo­ple killed or se­ri­ously in­jured. Scot­land Yard launched the lat­est phase of Op­er­a­tion Scep­tre ear­lier this month, cracking down on knife crime.

Dur­ing her meet­ing, Ms Dick was told chil­dren as young as six have been seen car­ry­ing knives in the area.

Speak­ing to the Press As­so­ci­a­tion af­ter the meet­ing, she felt this was “pretty hor­ri­fy­ing”.

She said: “It’s out­ra­geous to hear a six-year-old is car­ry­ing a knife, for what­ever rea­son.

“That’s some­thing a po­lice of­fi­cer by them­selves or even a po­lice force isn’t go­ing to be able to have very much im­pact on. The ques­tion there is what are the par­ents do­ing? What are the school do­ing?”

Ms Dick said young­sters of­ten carry knives for “some kind of re­spect, some kind of ku­dos”, but added: “I do ac­cept there are places where some of our young peo­ple are scared and they feel it makes sense to carry a knife.

“I can say as long as I live that it does not make them safer. They may not hear that mes­sage from me... we need to get peo­ple in com­mu­ni­ties, we need to get peo­ple in schools, we need to get par­ents un­der­stand­ing and help­ing young peo­ple to un­der­stand... it will end in tragedy, prob­a­bly, for them.”

Out­lin­ing her plans for early in­ter­ven­tion to tackle the epi­demic, Ms Dick said: “I want to shift us fur­ther into pre­ven­tion. I want all of us to be work­ing on stop­ping this be­fore it hap­pens. Lon­don knife crime: Po­lice make 400 ar­rests af­ter spate of stab­bings

“Com­mu­nity groups will be an in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant part of that. We need to play our part, but it is only a part.”

PHOTO: JACK TAY­LOR/GETTY IMAGES

Metropoli­tan Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Cres­sida Dick

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