Churches rally in London's Trafalgar Square against the devastation of knife crime

(Photo: Pexels/Norbert Kundrak)

Churches have come together with the Ascension Trust to hold a major rally in London calling for an end to knife crime. 

The Standing Together rally on Saturday is being joined by young people, families and communities affected by the violent crime epidemic. 

Organisers are demanding urgent action to stem the violence affecting young people, but the rally is also intended to be a symbol of support for hurting communities and those who have lost loved ones.

It is taking place after a string of stabbings in the capital as well as other cities across the UK in the first few months of 2019. 

The extent of London's knife crime problem was laid bare in shocking new figures published in the Evening Standard revealing that 40 knife incidents a day were reported to police over 2017 and 2018. 

The figures, revealed after a Freedom of Information Request by the newspaper, showed that on average one person was stabbed to death every four days in the capital. 

Over the same two year period, Met Police dealt with a total of 29,232 knife offences.

The rally on Saturday has been organised by the Ascension Trust, which operates the Street Pastors initiative offering practical and spiritual help on town and city streets on the busiest nights of the week. 

Church leaders attending the event include the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Nichols, who said priests in the Archdiocese had been increasingly engaged in tackling knife crime and youth violence.

He said the rally was a chance to speak up for young people and "for their generosity and sense of justice".

"We will be speaking out against knife crime. We will be lamenting with all who have lost loved ones or suffering injuries on our streets at this time," he said.