Sadiq Khan urges schools to take up offer of free anti knife crime equipment


Quamari - Credit: Archant

The father of a teen boy fatally stabbed in Willesden has welcomed a new move by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to encourage schools to use knife detectors.

Sadiq Khan is encouraging more London schools to take up his offer of receiving a 'knife wand' paid

Sadiq Khan is encouraging more London schools to take up his offer of receiving a 'knife wand' paid for by City Hall. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Paul Barnes, whose son Quamari, then 15, was murdered outside Capital City Academy, in Doyle Gardens, would like to see schools in Brent use the knife detector wands to stop pupils bringing weapons onto the premises.

Only a year ago, on January 23, Quamari was fatally stabbed outside Capital City Academy, in Doyle Gardens. A 15-year-old boy is currently serving a life sentence in jail after being convicted of his Quamari’s murder.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan appealed for schools to play a part in crime prevention after four young men were fatally stabbed in the capital over the New Year.

A letter has been sent by Sophie Linden, deputy mayor for policing and crime, offering schools a wand if they want one to prevent students from bring knives into class.

Mr Barnes said: “We need to start addressing these young boys not to carry knives. It’s time to start getting tough with them otherwise it will only get worse. Schools can do a lot more and they should do a lot more as a lot of these boys are coming out of their schools.

“Some go to school with a knife in their bags. Perhaps they will hide their bags outside and not bring them in, but these detection wands are a good start.”

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Only 76 schools out of the capital’s 498 have currently got a wand but City Hall would not reveal how many in each borough have applied to receive the equipment.

The mayor said the deaths must “reinforce our determination to rid London’s streets of this scourge”. He added: “But this is a problem that cannot be solved by the police alone. Schools have a vital part to play in our fight against knife crime by creating a safe, positive place for students, spotting danger signs and spreading the message that carrying a knife is more likely to ruin your life than save it.”

Since launching a new knife crime strategy in June, which provided an additional £625,000 for knife and gang crime projects taking total spending to £7 million, Mr Khan has also increased the number of safer schools officers, who are police officers who are a regular presence on school premises.

He has also made £250,000 of seed funding available to local communities to fund work with young people preventing and protecting them from knife crime.

Martin Hewitt, Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner, said: “Every child should be able to go to school in a safe environment, and the use of knife wands can only have a positive impact.”