Boris backs cops' fight to blunt London's knife crime
PUBLISHED: 20:14 09 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:25 05 October 2010
BORIS Johnson was in East London on Tuesday to urge teenagers carrying knives to think again' and telling them it's not cool'. The London mayor was at Mile End Underground station where police carried out a surprise check to stop and search youths coming through the ticket barrier with an electronic knife arch' to detect metal objects such as blades. The mayor watched as youths were stopped as the arch' sounded the alarm.
By Julia Gregory
BORIS Johnson was in East London on Tuesday to urge teenagers carrying knives to 'think again' and telling them 'it's not cool'.
The London mayor was at Mile End Underground station where police carried out a surprise check to stop and search youths coming through the ticket barrier.
They set up an electronic 'knife arch' at the barrier to detect metal objects such as blades.
The mayor watched as youths were stopped as the 'arch' sounded the alarm.
He was there to see at first hand how 'Operation Blunt' was working and whether it was 'blunting' the knife-carrying culture on the public transport.
"It's not cool to carry a knife," he said in his appeal message.
"It's not brave and it's not chic. It's silly and it's destructive.
"If you carry a knife, the chances are it could be used against you."
But teenagers being searched later told the East London Advertiser that they carry blades "for protection" and mention them if threatened by other youths.
One youth had his own message, that teenagers are not going to stop carrying blades, despite the capital's rising teenage death toll.
The 18-year-old said he had a collection of four knives, but "only one member of a gang needs to carry a weapon."
He added: "If someone comes up to you and grabs your clothes, you can warn them off."
A friend with him also being searched said: "It doesn't frighten us that people are getting hurt. You think it's not going to happen to you."
The only way police can tackle the problem, they acknowledged, was regular street checks.
There have been 26 crime victims under 18 since the beginning of April in Tower Hamlets alone where a knife has either been used, carried or intimated, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
There have also been 50 suspects in that period in the borough using, carrying or hinting to victims that they had a knife.
There were also 106 youngsters under 18 who were victims of knife crime with 203 suspects under 18 in the 12 months up to April.
No figure for the number of victims under 18 who have actually been stabbed in the Tower Hamlets police division appear to be available.