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Idris Elba warns knife crime has reached 'boiling point' as he stages Parliament protest

Britain is at a “boiling point” over knife crime, the actor Idris Elba warned on Monday as he and campaigners staged a protest at Parliament calling for a ban on zombie knives and other action to stop blade killings.

The London born star said he was speaking out after meeting bereaved families because not enough was being done to halt the bloodshed despite a succession of tragedies including the New Year’s Eve blade killing of 16-year-old Harry Pitman on Primrose Hill.

He said changes should include rushing through a repeatedly promised ban on “zombie knives, machetes and swords” as well as pressure on tech companies who were “feeding the imagery, feeding the accessibility” of knives through young people’s phones.

He also suggested that cuts to youth services should be reversed, warning that evidence showed a clear link between previous funding cuts and rising crime.

“I really think that our country is at a boiling point,” the actor told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “ We are sensitive to this topic, we all feel the pain when we see it on the news, but there’s very little done that reverberates into actual action so .. let’s do something together.

“Let’s really look at the supply chain: what can we do to get rid off and take these knives off the streets.

CEO of The Ben Kinsella Trust Patrick Green, Idris Elba, Yemi Hughes, mother of Andre Aderemi, and Bishop Mark Nicholson (Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/Getty I)
CEO of The Ben Kinsella Trust Patrick Green, Idris Elba, Yemi Hughes, mother of Andre Aderemi, and Bishop Mark Nicholson (Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/Getty I)

“The ban on zombie knives and machetes will not solve the problems but symbolically it will really show our society that we’re fed up with it, that we’ve got to stop it.”

Warning about the impact of knife imagery on phones, he added: “Then examining the whole chain, from those that are profiting, from the tech companies that are advertising it, from the way it’s getting into the zeitgeist for kids, we need to figure out a way to eradicate them.

“The tech companies … are feeding the imagery, are feeding the accessibility of these knives. There is some critical thinking [needed] about how we apply pressure to the tech companies to not demonstrate knives in the eyes of young people.”

The actor, who was brought up in Hackney and Canning Town before becoming a screen star through roles in Luther and Thor among others, was making his call before joining bereaved families in laying out clothes of some of victims of knife crime outside Parliament.

The Luthor star was pictured with the CEO of The Ben Kinsella Trust Patrick Green, Yemi Hughes, the mother of Andre Aderemi who was stabbed to death in Croydon, and Bishop Mark Nicholson in front of an installation of over 200 bundles of clothing representing the lives lost to knife crime in the UKA total of 18 teenagers were killed by blades in London last year with dozens of others having lost their lives to knife crime in previous years.