Hartlepool MP Mike Hill leads knife crime debate in wake of national ‘epidemic’
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill was given some opinions from school pupils ahead of leading a debate in Parliament on the national knife crime ‘epidemic’.
Mr Hill led the debate as member of the House of Commons Petitions Committee after over 100,000 people signed a petition calling for tougher punishments for blade related offences.
So far this year there have been 42 fatal stabbings in Britain including 17-year-olds Jodie Chesney from London and Yousef Makki from Manchester.
Mr Hill said: “Knife crime thankfully isn’t something that is becoming the norm in Hartlepool and the North East, but it is escalating in other parts of the country and particularly in London.
“The fact that there have been 42 fatal stabbings this year up to now, most of which have been young people under the age of 18, speaks volumes; and we really need to address the causes and symptoms of this problem.
“It was a full on and passionate debate in which many MPs were speaking as one.”
Ahead of the debate, Mr Hill and a member of the Petitions Committee staff spoke about knife crime and other issues with students from English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College.
Mr Hill said their views provided an important insight into their fears, observations and experiences.
He said: “They spoke about peer pressure, chauvinism on the part of males, the rarity of direct experiences in Hartlepool but in one case the shock of seeing a knife displayed, social factors leading to the causes of knife crime such as poverty, poor mental health, cuts in youth services and all acknowledged that the BBC broadcast on lack of police numbers hasn’t helped.”
Mr Hill said he was shocked that the female students were more concerned about being the victims of sexual assault than knife crime.
He added: “There is no quick fix solution to the rising problem of knife crime as the young people pointed out, and even though last week saw hundreds of knives and weapons being handed into Cleveland Police as part of this year’s annual Knife amnesty, programmes like Channel 4’s ‘Skint Britain’ have wrongly portrayed our town in a negative and unfair light.”
Hartlepool last year saw the shocking murder of mum-of-three Kelly, 29, Franklin on Oxford Road who was stabbed by her ex Torbjorn (Ian) Kettlewell.
“In my opinion one fatal stabbing is one too many and so the input of students from English Martyrs was invaluable,” said Mr Hill. “Especially their strong opinion that prevention was far better than harsher prison sentences.”
The Government responded to the petition stating: “Conviction of a knife or offensive weapon offence — threatening or possession – is now more likely to result in some form of custodial sentence, and for longer than at any point in the last ten years.”