Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

137 Children Aged 10 and 11 Have Been Caught with Knives in London Schools

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

137 Children Aged 10 and 11 Have Been Caught with Knives in London Schools

Article excerpt

Byline: Anthony France and Scott Hesketh

MORE than 130 children aged 10 and 11 have been caught with knives or used them to commit violence in London schools in the past four years, the Standard can reveal.

Fourteen of the 137 were girls found with weapons on primary or secondary school premises, in new evidence of the capital's knife crime epidemic.

Between January 2015 and April this year, 26 boys and three girls aged 10 were suspects in "weapon-based" crimes. A further 97 boys and 11 girls aged 11 were identified as offenders over the same period, according to Scotland Yard figures released under a Freedom of Information request.

In total, there were 1,562 suspects aged 10 to 16, with offending peaking at 14 for boys and girls.

Met data shows 1,576 crimes involving weapons at schools in the capital, ranging from possession of a knife to wounding. Thirteen involved possessing a firearm and there was one allegation of attempted murder. The vast majority of suspects were aged under 17.

Police charged 208 with offences including attempted murder, possessing weapons and firearms and wounding. Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT union, warned that the statistics showed schools must adopt a "zero tolerance" approach to blades. She said: "Pupils and staff must be protected from weapons being brought into schools. Schools should send out strong messages to pupils and the community that they operate a zero-tolerance approach to this and will report all incidents to the police.

"It must be remembered that tackling the problems of violence and knife crime cannot be left to schools alone, they are issues which have their roots in wider society."

Scotland Yard chief Cressida Dick has said knife crime fuelled by drugs is at its worst level in her 35-year career.

To highlight the problem, police released images of blades seized from children under 16 in just two months. …

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