Idris Elba launches anti-knife crime campaign calling for ban of zombie knives and machetes

today08/01/2024 10

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Idris Elba officially launched his ‘Don’t Stop Your Future’ campaign this morning (January 8), with an appearance at London’s Parliament Square aimed to pressure the government to do more to tackle knife crime.

The Home Office had pledged to take action concerning access to “zombie knives” and machetes last year, following stats from the ONS revealed that knife crime in 2023 had increased by 3% from 2022.

The zombie knife – so called because of its ‘ornate’ appearance or serrated blade, which takes inspiration from zombie films – is easily accessible through online services, says Elba.

As part of the campaign, Parliament Square was filled with small piles of clothes, each representing a life lost in 2023 due to knife crime.

A report from The Ben Kinsella Trust, a charity “tackling knife crime through education and campaigning”, shows 282 murders involved a knife or sharp instrument in England and Wales in 2023. The highest total since 1946.

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In an open letter on the Don’t Stop Your Future website, Elba writes “This morning, when our political leaders come to work, they’ll pass by a series of neatly folded outfits in Parliament Square representing those lost in 2023.

“While the victims come from all walks of life, they share one terrible thing in common. They all got dressed that day not knowing it would be their last.”

Elba was joined by Yemi Hughes, who brought with her the clothes her son Andre Aderemi wore when he fell victim to a knife attack at just 19 years old.

Speaking to Sky News, Elba addressed the ‘misconceptions’ surrounding Knife Crime, “it’s not just a black issue, it’s not just a London issue, it’s a nationwide issue”.

The Don’t Stop Your Future campaign aims not only to highlight the accessibility of knives to young people but also the larger social issues at the root of knife violence amongst young people.

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According to a report by London Metropolitan University, “Knife crime is fuelled by poverty and social deprivation” and cannot be resolved without addressing the “decades-long neglect experienced by some of our cities poorest neighbourhoods”.

To tackle these issues, the Don’t Stop Your Future Campaign urges the government to ‘convene a coalition to End Knife Crime’ to bring together “Government departments, grassroots organisations, sporting bodies and young people” in productive conversation against violent knife crime.

Elba has also released a new track ‘Knives Down’ feat. DB Maz which can be listened to via GRM Daily.

The music video for the new track features an impassioned Elba rapping to a crowd of on-lookers in the House of Commons. Lyrics include “Governance from a government that’s a covenant that you break daily” followed by the chorus line “Why we waitin’ for the no-knife bill”.

Other UK Knife Crime initiatives include Lives Not Knives, a ‘youth-led’ charity that aims to prevent knife crime through education and Key for Life which focuses on prison reform, working with ‘those at risk of going to prison’ such as young people involved in Knife Crime.

Idris Elba ft. DB Maz ‘Knives Down’ is out now, listen below.

Belle Richardson is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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