EXCLUSIVE: Children As Young As Seven Caught With Knives At School In London
14 March 2019, 07:48 | Updated: 15 March 2019, 09:41
Children as young as seven have been found with knives and knuckledusters at schools across London.
LBC has seen exclusive figures that show police are being called to primary and secondary schools an average of twice a day.
Last year, there were 359 offences recorded of pupils carrying a blade or other offensive weapons on school premises - an average of nearly twice a day. This is up 15% since 2016.
The types of weapon schoolchildren were caught with include knuckledusters, kitchen knives, butterfly knives and machetes.
Knife crime has become a crisis in London, with 17 people already fatally stabbed this year. Yesterday, Chancellor Philip Hammond allocated an additional £100million to help deal with the issue.
Sophie, a teacher at a secondary school in Lewisham, told LBC: "There's been a number of exclusions due to pupils carrying a knife onto the school premises.
"The worst occasion was a student who brought in a BB gun with real metal pellets, and shot another student in the playground. I was shocked by the violence and the genuine intent to harm.
"In secondary school we've seen it from year 7 right through to year 11- there's no discrimination. What I've noticed is it tends not to be the "harder" students - it doesn't tend to be the ones you'd expect. It's more likely to be your softer, more vulnerable students who are carrying a weapon as a form of protection.
"As a teacher, you might expect to be afraid, but often it's students I know well. It's so unpredictable. But when they are carrying knives, it's frightening."
The worst boroughs for this in the capital are Croydon, Waltham Forest and Enfield.
Children With Knives: How Bad Is Your Borough?
Number of offences recorded by police of children carrying a blade or other offensive weapons on school premises in 2015-2018
Waltham Forest: 54
Tower Hamlets: 46
Barking And Dagenham: 36
Ham & Fulham: 15
Kensington & Chelsea: 12
The Met Police gave LBC a statement: "Every child should be able to go to school in safe environment and we are working hard to tackle crime in schools.
"The rise in incidents of knife offences in schools reflects a general increase in these types of offences across London. We know some of the increased reporting is due to better police recording processes, and how we work, for example we have increased the number of Safer Schools Partnerships across the Capital which continue to focus on tackling serious youth violence.
"However, there is also a societal issue that cannot be tackled by police in isolation. What we need to look at is why there appears to be more of a willingness by young people to carry knives, seemingly under the false impression they will protect them. In truth, it only makes them more vulnerable and likely to either be the victim of knife crime themselves, or arrested.
"Through schemes like the Safer Schools Partnerships we are working directly with young people to help understand how we can make them feel safe to help reduce this violence that could impact upon on their whole lives."