By Jaya Gordon-Moore Wrote on: 13/10/20
In October 2018, Nottinghamshire Police aimed to reduce the number of young people (under the age of 25) carrying blades in the county. However, two years later, we see two knife crime incidents involving young people within a few days.
Yesterday (12th October 2020) the Nottinghamshire Police were called to Milton Street, near the Intu Victoria Centre at around 13.15pm following a man being stabbed to death in front of numerous shoppers. Officers tried to revive the victim at the scene, but he died shortly afterwards. A 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of murder minutes after. They later arrested a 19-year-old man on suspicion of murder. A few days before (9th October 2020), two teenagers (16-year-old and 18-year-old boys) were arrested after a man in his 20s was stabbed outside Intu Victoria Centres McDonald’s at around 5pm.
Following the Scottish Model, Nottinghamshire Police aimed to treat knife crime as a ‘public health’ issue, meaning the focus was on bringing together different organisations, institutions and communities to work on prevention. For example, Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire’s Violence Reduction Unit, which aims to bring together specialists from health, police, local government, probation and community organisations to tackle violent crime and the underlying catalysts of violent crime. In April 2019, the Knife Crime Strategy put in place in 2018 was reviewed, as knife crime had increased by the end of 2019 by 9.5%. The Nottinghamshire police department then introduced the Youth Endowment Fund, run by Impetus, in partnership with the Early Intervention Foundation and Social Investment Business, aimed to prevent children and young people getting caught up in crime and violence by making sure that those at risk get the support they need as early as possible. A number of other institutions and organisations such as Nottingham Trent University have been carrying out research and putting together opportunities for young people across the city to prevent knife crime and violence further. A lot of this work has been very affective.
Here at Fearless Youth Association (FYA) our key aims are to inform, empower, inspire and develop young people, particularly young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities at risk of getting involved in crime. We offer a range of support from online knife crime support, social media campaigns, online free creative media training programmes, and other workshops to give young people a chance to develop skills, elevate their voices, and stimulate change. We also do a lot of awareness work through digital stories on our social media and YouTube channel, to help educate, inform, but also increase social cohesion and understanding between groups in Nottingham. We are incredibly saddened by the recent news, and recognise the importance in expanding our work further to reach more young people.
Nevertheless with the emergence of COVID-19 across the UK earlier this year, the way that organisations and institutions approach youth crime has had to change and adapt. With national lockdowns and now local lockdowns and the tier system, youth crime and crime in general has been particularly hard to prevent and tackle. Additionally, the impact of COVID-19 and the restrictions has further put pressure on our young people, particularly those from poor socio-economic backgrounds and from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities.
“Within the community we provide for, we have seen a rise in the need of food parcels, particularly in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Households. In the last few weeks we have increased our service from 40 food parcels to 70” – Jaya Gordon-Moore, Fearless Youth Association, Nottingham.
Moreover, a recent study concluded that people from these backgrounds have experienced high levels of depression and anxiety in the last few months. For example, thoughts of death have been on average a third higher in these groups.
“Differences in experiences and inequalities themselves may also be products of individual and systemic racism, an issue highlighted by the Black Lives Matter protests in recent weeks.” – Dr Daisy Fancourt of UCL’s Epidemiology and Health Care Department.
Over the past twenty years, several sociologists have examined the relationship between young people and society, particularly those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, concluding that their position in society is one riddled with hopelessness, discrimination, misrepresentation and lack of opportunities. Austerity cuts since the financial crisis in 2008 have disproportionately impacted those from these non-white and poor socio-economic backgrounds. In that same time, there has been several stories of racism and mistreatment from the police in Nottingham let alone the rest of the UK.
“In a society that continues to treat one based on their colour of skin, social background, clothes they wear, culture, religion and more, it is difficult not to link this with the increase of feelings of isolation among youth, leading to discontent, hopelessness, low self-esteem and crime. I think it’s difficult to lead a positive pathway if you feel like you are not valued or respected in society as much as someone else. Alongside this, knowing that you are less likely to be employed or to be as successful as your white and/or middle class counterpart, and even if you are successful, you are probably going to be stopped and searched anyway. I can see why they might be more motivated to join a criminal lifestyle, where they can earn street respect, they can provide for their families etc. I think it is important that our city works on recognising the inherent racial bias and breaking it down. Showing these young people what they can do, empowering them. We need more youth opportunities, more funding in these areas, and more work on empowerment and bridging the ever growing gap between institutions, community organisations and young people.” – Jaya Gordon-Moore, Fearless Youth Association, Nottingham.
To find out more about what we do and get involved: https://linktr.ee/fya_notts