Next government must reduce knife crime, says church leader

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With just one day to go until the general election, the founder of Street Pastors is pleading with the nation's next leaders to tackle knife crime.

Rev Les Isaac said that political parties must keep efforts to reduce knife crime on the national agenda after latest government figures released in January revealed a 5% increase in offences (46,367) on the previous year.

He said that the numbers were "shocking". 

"These are not faceless statistics. They represent young men and some women, and also adults who have been injured or fatally wounded from being attacked with a knife," said Isaac. 

"Knife crime has caused our young people to walk the streets in fear. Many are also traumatised. Whatever party wins this election, the youth of this nation are looking to the next government to treat this issue with the urgency it deserves."

He welcomed recent efforts to tackle knife crime, including the introduction of tougher legislation on knife sales and possession, and more police funding for targeted interventions, but said that more needed to be done to address the root causes, like poverty and inadequate mental health support. 

"The fact that legislation, increased policing and implementing of community programmes have not stemmed the rise in knife crime signifies that a multi-faceted approach to dealing with this issue," he added.