Socialist Worker

Knife crime: ‘crackdowns’ are no solution

by Esme Choonara
Issue No. 2109

Most people are rightly horrified at the number of young people who are victims of knife crime or violent attack.

But calls from the Tories, Labour ministers and the tabloid press for more police crackdowns and longer prison sentences for those carrying knives are a recipe for disaster.

These policies don’t ask why young people may carry knives – they assume that those carrying knives are violent thugs intent on causing harm, rather than scared young people who think that a blade will protect them.

Britain already locks up more and more people each year – including more children than anywhere else in Europe.

Locking up yet more young people in some of the most violent institutions in Britain will not solve knife crime.

Nor will more of Labour’s beloved “in your face” police operations that target young people through stop and search, intrusive filming and airport-style metal detector arches placed outside schools and colleges.

Every time Labour comes under pressure over crime, it resorts to increasingly draconian policies.

It focuses on headline-grabbing crackdowns because it won’t address the real issues – the poverty, racism and testing obsessed education system that leaves so many young people feeling alienated and angry.

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