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The figures which show the staggering number of young people getting stabbed in Croydon, Croydon Guardian 12th July

Senior politicians and campaigners have called on youths to put down their knives after another shocking week of violence on Croydon's streets.

It has also emerged today that last month there was a higher number of under 25s receiving knife crime related injuries in Croydon than in any other month over the last five years.

An incredibly worrying 108 young victims in the borough were either stabbed or slashed with knives in June, according to crime statistics compiled on behalf of the Mayor of London. That's between three and four incidents every single day and there are fears things could get worse over the school summer holidays.

This week has been another in which youth violence has seemed terrifyingly normal.

On Tuesday afternoon, a 15-year-old boy was stabbed in broad daylight in St George's Walk, in Croydon town centre.

That was just 18 hours after a 17-year-old boy was rushed to hospital on Monday night after being stabbed near Albert Road in South Norwood.

Thankfully, neither suffered life-changing injuries but several young people have died as a consequence of stabbings in the last year, including Selsdon teenager Andre Aderemi.

Greater London Assembly member for Croydon and Sutton Steve O'Connell says most stabbings tend not to be gang related.

Mr O'Connell, who is also chairman of the Assembly Police and Crime Committee, said: "People tend to think it is gangs, it's not. We are getting young people just walking around with a knife because they think [they are under] peer pressure, or they're afraid.

"We've got to persuade those young people not to carry a knife because it ends badly for them or somebody else.

"Don't carry a knife and then we can go further into it to look at the deeper causes. The police are good at catching people and normally it's too late then.

"We need to stop young people from carrying a knife, we need to all work together on that."

Steve Reed, the MP for Croydon North, met with London's Deputy Mayor of Policing Sophie Linden this week to discuss police resources, after several concerns were raised by his constituents.

He said: "I'm desperately worried about what is going on in Croydon.

"What the Deputy Mayor of Policing said to me was that they were looking at what additional resources they can find but because the Government is cutting funding for the police across the whole of London they are very limited as to what they can do.

"What we need is [for] the government to step in and give Croydon's police the resources they need to stop the rise in knife crime."

The Mayor of London's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) says the Met needs to find savings of more than £400 million by 2020/21. The Home Office, however, says it is protecting police budgets and that the Met has had a broadly flat budget since 2015.

Mr O'Connell is writing to the Government to ensure the police have the funding they need and Mr Reed says he will be writing asking for more resources before the summer holidays.

Eliza Rebeiro, who set up anti-knife crime campaign Lives Not Knives (LNK) 10 years ago after a previous surge in knife crime, says stopping young people getting involved in knife crime is key.

She said: "The prevention and support isn't there, and we are clearing up things after they've been done. We are trying to cure everything rather than prevent and look after everyone.

"We are not looking at stupid kids here, we are looking at an intelligent generation of young people who have so much drive and ambition and no support and no love around them from their local community."

Miss Reberio explained how LNK educates children in fewer schools than it used to, and is only able to get to about 15 to 20 primary schools in Croydon per year, because of less funding.

One child said to her that a boy in his form had been taking a knife into school every single day.

She said: "He would have been nine or ten years old and we had to flag it up as a safeguarding issue. But if we hadn't have had that conversation in that school, when was that going to come out?"

Croydon Council leader Tony Newman agrees that children need to be educated at a young age about the perils of carrying a knife.

He said: "We are not making the case saying it's just about police numbers, but that's part of the solution, whether that's including education in schools too.

"When you talk to experts in this area, they say you need to be influencing people when they are eight, nine, ten years of age.

"With the next generation of teenagers, it's got to become utterly social unacceptable for anyone to carry a knife."

This week, the Metropolitan Police launched the latest phase of Operation Sceptre, focusing on prevention during the six-week summer break.

School officers will be increasing engagement with schools to ensure young people are aware of the dangers involved in carrying a knife as they head off on their summer holidays.

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