Academics and policing figureheads lead DMU students in discussions combatting rampant UK knife crime

By Perry Johnson

A host of expert academics and policing figureheads delivered a series of panel discussions with law students at De Montfort University last week, to discuss the pressing issue of rampant knife crime.

The event, which took place between 9 AM and 3:30 PM last Monday (4 November), featured two panel discussions and a workshop educating students on the issues and encouraging them to take action.

The event’s panels included academic experts, policing figureheads and student representatives all discussing the issues and possible solutions of knife crime

The panels featured several guest speakers – including Craig Pinkney; an urban youth specialist with over 15 years’ experience in roles including outreach worker and gang exit strategist.

Mr Pinkney said: “We talk about knife crime like it’s a new phenomenon but there’s over 60 years of literature in university about why people carry knives; we need to know what this says if we want be part of the action.”

The issue of knife crime is growing with police statistics indicating that knife crime has increased rapidly in England and Wales since 2014; while knife related homicides peaked in 2018, reaching its highest figure since 1946.

Mr Pinkney said: “We have to start asking new questions and thinking about what therapeutic intervention looks like and how it meets the needs of different young people; rather than have this one-shoe-fits-all kind of mentality.”

The event, organised by DMU law lecturer Melica Martin, involved students from both the Black and Street Law societies at the university, some of which appeared alongside guests on the panel.

Students and lecturers shared their views, from left: Jessica Hill (Law LLB Student and Vice-Chair of Street Law Society), Melica Martin (Law Lecturer and Event Organiser), and Christopher Inglis (Law LLB Student and Chair of Street Law Society)

Melica Martin, who formed Black Law Society at DMU, said: “The event we’ve put on has been an eye opener for students – the majority did not even know about the law.”

Earlier this year the new Offensive Weapons Act 2019 received Royal Assent making it illegal to possess a dangerous weapon in private and strengthening police response.

Melica said: “We hope that in the future we can have more people engage in what we are doing and actually make a difference; not just have another conversation.”

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