The London killings of 2018: the story behind the numbers

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This paper examines the underlying issues behind the London killings of 2018 and considers some possible solutions. To do this, primary research has been undertaken with those involved in the violence, those charged with addressing it and those seeking a solution to this crisis. Violence among young people in the capital and elsewhere in Britain has been the focus of much media attention and academic discourse, some of which are examined here. In understanding the causes of the violence, it is, however, incumbent on us all to consider viable ways in which to address the issues behind the killings and identify possible solutions to the problems it creates in communities. The introduction, in January 2019, by the present Home Secretary of knife crime prevention orders appears to have aggravated the situation. Already known as Knife ASBOs (Guardian in Knife ASBOs won’t cut crime, but the will harm vulnerable young people,, 2019), these may simply criminalise a group of youngsters, sometimes as young as 11 or 12. Police are already able to tackle criminal behaviour among youngsters carrying knives through dispersal orders. This response by the Government has not addressed the root causes of the issue. As one respondent was to state:
We have to find a way through this. It’s killing us. Not just the kids who are killed: it’s the people that get left behind. Something must be done to stop it. (R: 16, 13 November 2018)
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalCrime Prevention and Community Safety
Early online date1 Apr 2019
Publication statusEarly online - 1 Apr 2019


  • Knife crime
  • Community safety
  • Partnership working
  • Multi-agency Policing


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