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‘Police are fighting a losing battle’: The war against zombie knives in London

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Police are “fighting a losing battle” in the war against zombie knives in London, an anti-knife campaigner has warned.

Tackling using the lethal weapon is claimed to be a precedence for the Metropolitan Police following their use in a variety of deadly stabbings throughout London in current years.

However, knowledge obtained by My London through a Freedom of Information request has proven that their use has really risen 10-fold in 4 years.

A complete 48 incidents had been recorded by Met Police involving using a zombie knife in 2016.

That determine rose considerably to 495 in 2019 and, regardless of nationwide lockdowns, 388 in 2020.

Zombie knives have gained notoriety for his or her sharp and infrequently serrated blades, with the identify stemming from their use in horror and apocalyptic motion pictures.

Two zombie knives had been taken off the streets of Ealing in 2018

They are usually marketed as machetes or swords on account of their measurement and seem rather more intimidating than knives used for sensible functions.

In January final yr, 16-year-old Louis Johnson was fatally stabbed with a zombie knife outdoors East Croydon station.

More just lately, 29-year-old Joshua White was murdered with using a zombie knife in entrance of a six-year-old lady in East London as he fled for his life.

Despite a authorities and police crackdown, the weapons are “turning into simpler to pay money for”.

Patrick Green is the CEO of The Ben Kinsella Trust, an anti-knife crime charity that educates younger individuals on the hazards of knives by workshops and exhibitions.

The charity was created following the homicide of Ben Kinsella, a 16-year-old Islington schoolboy, who was fatally stabbed in June 2008.

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Speaking to My London on Tuesday (April 27), Mr Green mentioned the work of anti-knife charities is being “undermined” by how straightforward it’s to acquire a zombie knife.

He added: “They are turning into simpler to pay money for and that’s a part of the issue. The Offensive Weapons Act got here in 2019 and obtained royal assent final yr. Part of this Act is is to focus on the importation and purchases of zombie knives, flick knives and any knife not used for sensible functions, however to maim or kill.

“Certainly you may go browsing and choose a knife you need to purchase and will probably be delivered to you inside a few days. No one checks to see your age or whether or not it’s authorized. The Offensive Weapons invoice was to deal with this.

“Our frustration is we’ve been ready for it to be handed into regulation, nevertheless it nonetheless has not occurred. This is one thing that has grown 10-fold in a brief interval and the federal government haven’t produced the regulation. Criminality will discover a approach spherical, however this is able to at the least shut a few loopholes.”

Patrick Green, CEO of The Ben Kinsella Trust

Mr Green needs to see the introduction of laws the place, if a person purchases a zombie knife, they are required to gather it from a depot with proof of age.

He mentioned it’s not a case of police closing one door and one other opening relating to the war on knife crime, reasonably “we are ready for the primary door to be closed”.

“Police are fighting a losing battle, the CEO added. “We haven’t even closed a door. We are ready for one door to be closed. It is to straightforward to pay money for these knives. That has obtained to be the place to begin. You create the laws that makes it troublesome to pay money for.

“Our work, and charities like ours, is being undermined. Police should be equally pissed off. We work on preventative measures. We are working to coach younger individuals on the hazards. Many younger individuals who want these messages, we are able to’t attain them. If we work with a college with 30 youngsters, 27 will know a knife is not going to defend them and can develop as much as turn out to be good residents.

“Two or three, although, could have that dysfunctional considering. It permits us to get help of these individuals. We are ready for younger individuals to make a mistake earlier than we intervene. Preventative work helps to determine these individuals earlier than they make a mistake.

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“It additionally helps individuals really feel extra assured to problem others in their group. It is like in the Seventies, when it was once acceptable to drink and drive – now your pals would take your keys from you for those who tried. You begin to create that for those who carry a knife, you’ll find yourself out of our friendship group.”

It comes as a 14-year-old boy, Fares Maatou, was stabbed to dying in broad daylight with a weapon believed to be a “hidden blade cane knife”.

‘We are attempting to repair the issue’

A spokesperson for Metropolitan Police mentioned officers had been involved concerning the improve in knives “falling into the improper arms”.

An announcement mentioned: “Officers are seeing some Rambo model knives getting used in London, and we are involved about any sort of knife which falls into the improper arms which may then be used to trigger critical hurt and harm or worse nonetheless, dying. We know the guts breaking affect of knife crime on households and communities in London which is why tackling it stays a precedence for everybody in the Met.

“We are working with retailers, those that function on-line, producers and Trading Standards to make sure options to make sure accountable buying and selling. Our officers are utilizing each tactic and energy accessible to them to take away harmful knives and different weapons from the streets and determine our highest hurt offenders similar to knife carriers.”

Officers seized a nasty trying zombie knife in Hayes

Commander Alex Murray, the Met’s Violence Lead, added: “Throughout the previous yr, which has seen unprecedented challenges for Londoners and the police, our precedence continued to be focusing on violent crime and its drivers. Now lockdown restrictions are easing, it’s critical that we preserve this focus and drive.

“This operation is an intensification of the work officers are already doing on a day by day foundation to deal with knife crime and take away harmful weapons from the streets, and final yr we noticed a 26 per cent discount in violent crime throughout London. We are completely decided to maintain violence ranges down as we strategy the summer time months.”

The rise of zombie knives

Police are “fighting a losing battle” in the war against zombie knives in London.

In 2016, 48 incidents had been recorded by Met Police the place an offence contained the “zombie” in the small print.

This greater than doubled to 108 in 2017 and once more to 262 in 2018.

The determine reached its highest at 495 in 2019, however fell throughout 2020 to 388 as a part of a general 22 per cent drop in knife crime year-on-year.

The Met is uniting with different police forces throughout the nation in Operation Sceptre, intensifying motion to deal with knife crime and wider violence from April 26 to May 2.

Mr Green said that a well-known quote from Desmond Tutu is apt for the present state of affairs in London.

“‘There comes a level the place we have to cease simply pulling individuals out the river. We must go upstream and discover out why they’re falling in.”

This, Mr Green mentioned, is what’s at the moment occurring with police.

If you’ve got any details about knife crime, please contact police or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 – your anonymity is assured. Alternatively, go to their web site.

If you are apprehensive about somebody you watched could also be carrying a knife or different weapon, recommendation and help can be accessible by organisations together with Knife Free right here and Fearless right here.