£18m funding to tackle knife crime

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A report by actress Brooke Kinsella calls for anti-knife crime presentations for schools

More than £18 million will be spent on tackling crimes involving knives, guns and gangs over the next two years, Home Secretary Theresa May has said.

The funding announcement comes after former EastEnders star Brooke Kinsella, whose 16-year-old brother Ben was stabbed to death three years ago, highlighted the best ways to combat the issue.

The 27-year-old actress, who was appointed a Government adviser on the issue last year, called for anti-knife crime presentations for schools and more work with young children to stop them getting involved.

Mrs May said: “Brooke Kinsella has done a great job in highlighting what works and what could work better in trying to achieve that.

“Off the back of Brooke’s recommendations, we will invest money into changing attitudes and behaviour, alongside being tough on those who persist in being involved in senseless crimes.”

In her report, Ms Kinsella, who spent July and August talking to project leaders and community workers about the issue, called for more anti-knife projects in schools, more data-sharing between police, schools and other agencies and a scheme to deal with the “fear and fashion” factor of knives.

“I really believe the problem of knife crime has escalated in the past few years, and the impact it has on communities and families is devastating,” she said.

Children as young as 10 should be given anti-knife crime awareness lessons in schools, Ms Kinsella said.

“Whilst seven may be deemed too young for some of the content I experienced in the projects I visited, it seems to be the majority opinion that education and awareness needs to start at primary school level, particularly in the last year before they move up to secondary school and become more susceptible to peer pressure and influence.”

And she said more work is needed to turn prisons and young offenders institutions into “places of punishment” as they were often seen as “a holiday camp”.

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