Around Westminster with Rob - Knife Crime
The killing of yet another youngster in Reading in the early hours of Sunday morning at the Face Bar in Chatham Street this week demonstrates that, where knife crime is concerned, we all need to continue to be vigilant. As always, it is the families that suffer the most and my condolences go to the family and friends of Jordan Malutshi. It is a terrible tragedy that such a young life has been taken.
In Reading we campaigned through the 'Knives Costs Lives' for stiffer sentencing for those who murder using a knife, for better deterrence for people carrying a weapon and better education of young people. It was a good campaign, run with limited resources and it did help locally to bring the issue to the forefront.
The new Government also responded to public concern and has made changes to sentencing and to possession of knife legislation and guidance. But when a 17 year old dies, you realise it is still not enough. We must redouble our efforts to educate young people about the dangers of carrying knives; many think that they are there for self defence and it too often ends in tragedy. It is so easy for a bit of pushing and shoving to turn very ugly when someone has a knife.
We all have a role to play, yes parents need to take their responsibility seriously in the same way that politicians, the police and judges need to do their duty. As far as Policing is concerned, we will soon have a new elected Police and Crime Commissioner. I hope that this change in the way the Police are managed will focus activity on the priorities of local people in a way that hasn't happened in the past.
But nightclubs must also play a part.I think it is important that nightclubs (as many do) undertake thorough searches of customers on entry and metal arches are a regular feature of entering clubs across Reading – even if the arches have to be rotated amongst a number of clubs where trouble is perhaps more prevalent.
As we absorb this tragedy, I will do my best to try to bring about the changes that try to ensure that knives stay out of the clubs and off our streets.