Hayley Wright, Afzal Khan MP, Kelly Brown and Chris Philp MP
Hayley Wright, Afzal Khan MP, Kelly Brown and Chris Philp MP

Today, my constituent Kelly Brown and I met with the Minister for Policing, Chris Philp MP, to discuss the epidemic of knife crime in Greater Manchester. Greater Manchester suffers from some of the worst rates of knife crime in the country, with the total number of knife crime incidents reaching 10,864 between 2020 and 2023.

Kelly Brown is the mother of 16-year-old Rhamero West, who was tragically stabbed and killed in broad daylight in Manchester in September in 2021. Since his death, Kelly has been tirelessly campaigning for greater preventative measures against knife crime. In a bid to help save other young lives, Kelly set up a charity which raises knife crime awareness, Merosworld Foundation, and has installed bleed cabinets across Greater Manchester, including in Gorton. These are kits for public use in the event of a stabbing or any other incident which leads to blood loss. She has also been campaigning for the creation of youth hubs that aim to keep young people off the street in the evenings.

In the meeting, I highlighted the dangerous impact the cuts to policing and local authority budgets has had on the local community. The Conservative Government’s failure to meaningfully crackdown on the possession and sale of machetes, zombie-style knives, and swords, despite having announced this commitment a number of times, is simply unacceptable. The Government announced it was going to introduce new regulations on the blades in late 2022 after they were first banned in 2016, but this is yet to be seen. The burden of raising awareness of knife crime has therefore fallen on bereaved families, motivated by their personal tragedy, as a result of government inaction.

We have seen an abhorrent surge in knife crime, tearing apart the lives of families up and down the nation and particularly across Manchester. With knife crime up by 70% and the number of young victims of violence at its highest in a decade, it is evident the Tories have done nothing to address this.

14 years of Tory austerity has seen the number of police officers on our streets cut, funding for youth services slashed and local authority budgets squeezed. This dangerous combination makes tackling the issue of knife crime significantly harder.

I want to see justice for my constituent Rhamero West, and for what happened to him to not happen to anyone again. No parent should ever have to receive the news that their child has been killed. This is simply not possible under a Conservative Government.

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