home secretary we need new laws to tackle knife violence

Home secretary: We need new laws to tackle knife violence

UK
Man with knife Image copyright Getty Images

New laws are needed to stop social media being used to fuel knife crime, that’s according to the home secretary.

Sajid Javid told Radio 1 Newsbeat laws exist to remove terrorism content and child sex abuse images but he doesn’t have what he needs to crack down on things that fuel gang disputes online.

Drill music has been criticised and some groups have already had restrictions placed on them.

Civil liberty groups say new laws won’t help.

The Metropolitan Police recently worked with YouTube to have videos deemed to be inciting gang rivalries removed.

But it took Newsbeat 30 seconds looking for one of the “banned” videos online which we played to the home secretary.

Image copyright Getty Images

“I am confident we can do more,” Sajid Javid told us.

“I am responsible for other illegal content online like terror and extremism videos.

“A couple of years back the internet companies were not taking it seriously enough to remove this content from the internet.

“After lots of pressure from this government and the US government I went over the US myself and spoke to the five tech giants.

“I said you need to do more, use your own technology to sweep the ‘net and find these videos and take them down.

“They are doing an incredible job today and I want to see them employing the same emphasis to that [knife and gang-related] content too.”

Image copyright Getty Images

He said he needs new laws to help with this.

“My message to these companies is we are going to legislate – and how far we go depends on what you decide to do now.”

Steve Kuncewicz, from the law firm BLM, speaks for the Law Society on this subject.

“The home secretary is right when he says there’s no specific legislation that easily lets you pull down knife crime content from social media.

“There’s a general push to greater regulation of social media – what is often known as the internet ASBO.

“We’re probably going to see new laws that make it easier for the police to remove this content.”

That’s a worry for some civil liberty campaigners.

“The solution to reducing crime doesn’t lie with alarmist legislation that risks suppressing creative expression,” Rosalind Comyn, Policy and Campaigns Officer at Liberty told Newsbeat.

“It perpetuates the marginalisation of minority communities and diverts attention from the root causes of violence.

“Incitement to violence is already a criminal offence, and the police have a panoply of powers to enforce it.

“We urge the home secretary to change course and consult widely on rights-based, effective approaches to addressing serious violence.”

The number of fatal stabbings in England and Wales last year was the highest since records began in 1946.

‘I do worry about my daughter’

“My eldest daughter has started going out more than she used to.

“But I do worry and there are some nights that I’ve stayed up into the early hours of the morning waiting for her to get back home.”

The home secretary was speaking just weeks after he introduced new powers to control suspects thought to be carrying knives.

Knife Crime Prevention Orders were criticised by some who said that they targeted young children.

A former gang member Robert Bragg, who first carried and used a knife at the age of 12, agrees there needs to be a big change.

The 26-year-old served six years in prison for a range of gang-related crime.

He’s now part of a programme to encourage school children not to get involved with knives.

“Stricter measures do need to be put in place so people cannot release footages of people calling people out, bragging about knife crime and violence.

“Back in my day if I was listening to drill music I’m riding out 24/7.

“If I was listening to drill music everyday – the way it is now – I’m definitely committing crime.

“In London it’s normal. It’s just one of things: you wake up, you have your breakfast, you stab someone.”

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