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Fresh calls for knife amnesty as stabbings increase

PUBLISHED: 11:12 30 December 2015

The London Assembly member for Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest, Jennette Arnold

The London Assembly member for Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest, Jennette Arnold

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There is fresh hope of a London-wide knife amnesty to help clamp down on Hackney's blade culture to prevent "communities being ripped apart".

Jeremie Malenge who was stabbed to death in HomertonJeremie Malenge who was stabbed to death in Homerton

Police chiefs and the Mayor of London have all voiced their support in the past month for an amnesty as deaths in London through stabbings have increased this year for the first time since 2012.

A total of 15 youths lost their lives in knife attacks throughout London. Two of those have been killed in Hackney.

Calls come just days after a man was stabbed in Dalston on Thursday when a man limped up to the officers at the junction with Graham Road with a stab wound to his leg.

Labour Assembly Member for Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest Jennette Arnold OBE has led calls for a knife amnesty.

She said: “Following a recent spate of stabbings in my constituency, which has seen the loss of so many young lives in the past few months, I have urged the Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey to introduce a knife amnesty.

“I have been pushing for a knife amnesty for a while, ever since the numbers show that knife crimes are going in an upward trajectory in my constituency.

“There has been an 11 per cent increase in the amount of knife crimes with injury.

“It concerns us all that these numbers are going in the wrong direction and we need to take every measure possible to ensure we get these harmful weapons off our streets.”

In September, Tariq William-Dawodu was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years in jail after killing 17-year-old Jeremie Malenge in a Homerton knife attack.

Two 15-year-old Hackney boys were also charged with 21 offences in September after committing a series of robberies while being in possession of knives.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has agreed to sit down with Sir Bernard to discuss the possibility of an amnesty.

The commissioner has said he would support a “knife surrender” if it was properly planned and organised.

He said: “We would support a knife surrender but when to do it remains an important question.

“It’s slightly different when dealing with knives as it’s legal to posses them and people can hand in knives which would not necessarily be used as weapons.

“Something like this needs planning; I would not race into it and obviously it needs communicating.

“But in principle, any opportunity to reduce the amount of knives on our streets is a good one so we will look to see how this could be done.”

Results have shown in the past that knife surrenders are a successful way of getting potentially dangerous weapons off the streets.

In 2013, an amnesty bin placed outside the St John at Hackney Church recovered more than 1,500 weapons over the course of two years.

In the same year, bins placed outside Stoke Newington and Shoreditch Police Stations recovered 126 knives, a shotgun, two replica pistols and two BB guns.

Ms Arnold would like to see the knife amnesty as soon as possible in the New Year before campaigning for elections starts.

She added: “I will be following this up and encouraging an amnesty to go ahead in February or March time.

“It needs to happen before the political campaigning starts as important messages can be lost, this goes beyond political ideologies, it’s about saving lives and protecting the futures of many young people.

“Something must be done to buck the worrying trend of young people carrying knives if we’re to prevent families and communities being ripped apart by these atrocious acts.”

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