Three more serious stabbings at the weekend in different parts of east London have provided yet another unfortunate reminder of the terrible damage the blight of knife crime is inflicting on this city.
The victims of the latest incidents include two teenagers, one of whom is a 15-year-old boy from Clapton who is today still fighting for his life after an attack in which he is said to have been dragged off a moped and stabbed several times in a suspected gang ambush.
These details have yet to be confirmed by the police. But the crime appears to bear a dismally close resemblance to the similarly awful attack in Leyton just over a year ago in which 14-year-old Jaden Moodie was murdered after being knocked off a moped and stabbed repeatedly.
Prosecutors later told the Old Bailey trial of his attacker that the killing was a “violent and frenzied” attack that formed part of a “shocking wave of gang crime” drawing in ever-younger people.
There has been much effort by the police since to get on top of this problem, with the Met recently announcing 170 arrests during a campaign targeting habitual knife offenders and violent criminals operating around transport hubs.
Stop and search continues to be deployed frequently too, with useful results. But the fact that stabbings such as this weekend’s are still occurring with depressing regularity shows how much is still to be done — particularly when it comes to delivering the public health approach that the Evening Standard supports as a way of addressing underlying factors that can lead young people into crime.
In this respect, the London Mayor Sadiq Khan is one of those with most responsibility. He has recognised the merits of a public-health approach and begun to direct investment and energy into supporting work that can contribute towards achieving this effect.
A sensible announcement last week of extra funding for peer mentoring that can help children in pupil referral units is an example, but the Mayor still needs to do more and spend more of the time that he devotes to scoring political points to dealing with the knife-crime problem instead.
We also need to hear more from Home Secretary, Priti Patel, who’s made much of her ambition to tackle violent crime, but so far given little detail of how she plans to achieve success, beyond promising 20,000 more police officers nationwide.
Last year was a bleak one in London, with 25 teenage homicide victims, and with knife-crime figures still running at record levels, it is time for all concerned to redouble their efforts.
Help coronavirus Brits
Britons held in quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship moored off Yokohama, in Japan, to stop the spread of coronavirus have accused UK ministers of “forgetting” about them following the evacuation of US and Australian passengers in airlifts organised by their respective governments.
Their frustration is understandable after 14 days spent largely confined to their cabins and it’s clear that action to help them needs to be taken rapidly as the number of infections rises, with 99 extra cases today among the 3,700 passengers on board.
Leaving the Britons there longer looks increasingly likely therefore to result in their infection, whereas evacuation — either to a controlled health facility in Japan or quarantine here — should minimise this risk.
It’s time for the Government to act.