Our partner, St Mary's Church hosted a special debate hosted by Evan Davies for the PM programme in April. It was part of a series of programmes focusing on the issue of knife crime in the capital and across the country.

Panel members were Shadow Foreign Secretary and Islington MP Emily Thornberry, Conservative London Mayor candidate Shaun Bailey, former head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, Javed Khan, Chief Executive of Barnados, Mark Simmons from the Metropolitan Police, and Twaneika Alcindor, a barrister.

The event was attended by concerned members of the public, parents, victims and youth workers, all of whom have been and/or still are affected by knife crime. It was a, at times, lively debate with the discussion ranging from dealing with the perpetrators to prevention at the earliest stage.

Youth Workers will know that we are often in the best position to prevent knife crime ever becoming an issue. And while there are great programmes aimed at young people who find themselves in or on the fringes of criminality, there is less support for the open access youth work we do at Mary’s.

I asked the panel to consider the complexities, the root causes that result in young people getting involved in knife and how do we start to address them, rather than just responding to the moral panic. Javed Khan, the CEO of Barnardo’s, acknowledged this as ‘the core question’.

Clip of Aston on BBC R4 PM Programme

You can listen to both parts of the programme on the BBC PM's website.

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