Stop And Search - Knives and Young People

"The death of Stephen Lawrence on 22nd April 1993 should have taught us many things and motivated us to act.
However, since then countless additional young people have been killed through youngsters carrying knives."

Victims Of Fashion: Unfortunately, for many young people, carrying a knife is considered to be cool and fashionable and is now often the norm. If someone is carrying a knife, it's quite possible when emotions are running high in the heat of the moment, it may be used. When a young person fatally stabs another young person, it isn't just the tragic loss of the victim that is the issue, there are countless other people that are also made victim as the loss impacts on friends and family. And, of course, the perpetrator is a victim also! Their life has also been equally ruined and the lives of their friends and family also badly affected.

Fashion Not Cool: Society should see that it has a responsibility to all young people, to educate and protect them, show them right from wrong and help them avoid making the kind of mistakes that result in them expressing regret for the rest of their lives. This is to say nothing of the person that loses their life in the heat of the moment and the loss to their family. In recent times more and more people have died or lost someone close to them as a result of knife crime. Young people need to know and need to be made aware that carrying a knife is not cool and is not acceptable. The damage, heartache and misery that it causes when it kicks off is also not cool or acceptable. If young people cannot be reasoned with and persuaded of this viewpoint then some other means of punishment, severe enough to get the message across, must be used instead.

State Stealing Causes Conflict! In getting the message across, we will all have to be made aware of the increased likelihood of being stopped and searched or scanned. However, in getting people to more readily accept the validity of stop and search, the state must address its drug laws and stop wrongly persecuting people for lifestyle choices. If young people know they are likely to be searched or scanned for weapons, there is absolutely no doubt that they would more readily accept this if the state stops bullying and persecuting people and stealing their stash. This is criminal behaviour sanctioned at the highest level in this land and it is completely unacceptable. Personal drug choice is exactly that, personal, and it should not be seen as a crime. However, stealing is a crime and our police force should not be doing it! Young people have to be able to believe in the law and our criminal justice system and police force will never get the respect it deserves until it stops behaving like a criminal itself!

Penalties And Punishment: Penalties for being armed with a knife need to be stiff enough to get the message across and stop kids from thinking it's cool to risk carrying such weapons. If they think they're going to get scanned or searched and incur a stiff enough penalty, it may be sufficient to get the message across. First offence for carrying a knife, tagged and put on a 7pm curfew for a year perhaps? That's cheaper than prison but still a fairly potent medicine. Community service is also something we could utilise more, especially tidying the streets and other constructive jobs that councils have cut back on. This kind of punishment is still absolutely inconsequential compared to the trauma caused when a young person uses a knife on another young person. A young person's life wasted because someone thought it was cool to carry a knife can never be reclaimed or compensated for and every fatal stabbing imposes immeasurable grief to those close. It also involves hundreds of thousands of pounds of outlay for the taxpayer and all because we have failed to get the message across!

First Knives, Now Guns: If a young person goes to step outside carrying a knife, we want his friend to be able to turn around and say, "Your crazy man! Don't do it! It's not worth it!" And to stop him from doing it! However, at the moment it's more likely to be the reverse, with kids egging each other on. As if knives aren't bad enough and haven't caused us enough problems, the same trend is now happening with guns. Currently the police are seizing something like four hundred firearms a month from the streets of London alone. Roughly one hundred per week. These weapons range from pistols and sawn-off shotguns to semi-automatic and automatic machine guns. Much of this is to do with the street gang mentality and lack of direction for young people. Much of it is also to do with our current understanding, or rather lack of it, in dealing with illegal drugs and related issues. That is another section on this website, but whatever the situation and the reasons behind it, more needs to be done!