Luton News and Dunstable Gazette launches anti-knife crime campaign Bin Your Blade

By publicising the awful consequences of carrying a knife we want to make a difference. We hope to encourage those who may be vulnerable to exploitation to think twice.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 6:30 am

The fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Humza Hussain in Luton last week has sent shockwaves through our community.

Another young life taken far too soon prompted a mix of shock and outrage, plus sympathy for the victim’s family, when we first broke the news on our Luton Today website last Tuesday evening.

Knife crime, of course, isn’t a menace unique to Luton. It was at record levels in the UK before the first lockdown, but predictably dropped as the pandemic took hold.

Bin Your Blade: If you’ve been affected by knife crime please share your story, of if you’re trying to make a difference in the community get in touch. Email [email protected] or call 07803 506099.

But young people have spent months out of school. They have been away from their support networks, meaning many have been at risk of exploitation and control by criminal gangs.

With rising unemployment, some young people may be finding it hard to believe in a positive future. They see little choice but to turn down a dark path to make money and are carrying knives to protect themselves with little thought for the potential consequences.

It is feared that offences could “erupt” once restrictions are fully lifted and life begins to return to normal.

We need to get to the root of the problem of gangs and knife crime and not simply put the onus on the police to have all the answers as we seek to remove weapons from our community.

Humza Hussain

Only last month Beds Police heralded a successful week of action against knife crime where more than a thousand weapons were taken off the streets after being recovered from outdoor public spaces and a number of weapons bins throughout the county. It’s a staggering number.

In addition, the police and council have regularly carried out early intervention work in schools, youth groups and on our streets.

But still the worrying trend shows little sign of reversing. Clearly many youngsters are unwilling to take the lesson on board that carrying a knife can have devastating ramifications.

We ALL have to do more to tackle this disease that is tormenting our communities.

Don’t just leave it to others. We need to do everything we can TOGETHER to stop further tragedies like the one last Tuesday in Stoneygate Road.

Do you let your child wander the streets in the evenings without questioning what they are doing or who they are with? No-one ever said parenting was easy, but can you do more to make your child a more responsible individual?

Young people also need opportunities and encouragement to give them hope and keep them from believing that being part of a gang is their best path in life.

That’s why the Luton News and Dunstable Gazette today launches its BIN YOUR BLADE campaign.

By publicising the awful consequences of carrying a knife we want to make a difference. We hope to encourage those who may be vulnerable to think twice, show them it’s not cool or a legitimate form of self defence to have a weapon, to resist exploitation and to avoid making dangerous choices.

In the days since the tragedy we have already seen members of the community come forward keen to support our young people through initiatives and ideas that aim to steer them away from the clutches of these gangs.

So, if you’ve been affected by knife crime please share your story with this newspaper, of if you’re trying to make a difference in the community get in touch and we’ll help you shout about it from the rooftops. Email [email protected] or call 07803 506099.

We must try to help them bin their blade - even if it seems that some do not want to be helped.

> See the June 16 edition of the Luton News and Dunstable Gazette for more on the week's tragic events and also a poster which will allow you to show support for our campaign by displaying it in windows, noticeboards and community buildings.