Throughout the month of February, we at Newsquest London told the story of the 21 teenagers who were murdered in 2023. Our campaign, The 21, was to remember every victim as a young person with a family and their whole life ahead of them. We want to change the culture of kids carrying knives and becoming involved in violence.

Greenwich Council's cabinet member for community safety, Ann-Marie Cousins, gives her reaction:

"In the last three years, 12 lives have been taken by knives in Greenwich.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich, along with our partners and residents, is working hard to try to reduce this heartbreaking figure. 

It is important that we remember and learn from the devastating effects of knife crime on families, neighbours and the wider community, causing long term, often irreparable seeming, fear and distrust. That's why last September we launched the Let’s Live #KnifeFree campaign. We worked closely with the community, young people and police on the campaign which is aimed at encouraging young people to “live their life and drop the knife”. The film was accompanied by an outdoor and digital advertising campaign, including the O2 Arena, which directs residents to local support. The campaign film has reached over 66,000 views on YouTube alone.  

Since February 2022 we have not had any murders and only 294 injuries where the weapon used was a knife. 

Nevertheless, there continues to be lots more that could be done.

With 10 years of government cuts to funding, Greenwich is not alone in feeling the shattering impact of knife crime and serious violence. There is a clear inequality in access to fair opportunities, and this will take national systematic interventions to change, which we will continue to campaign for. 

We have worked on, and continue to work on, a number of initiatives which focus on tackling the knife crime epidemic in Greenwich.  In Our Greenwich, the Council’s corporate plan, we commit to creating a safer community for all, to tackle serious violence and ensure everyone in Greenwich is safer and feels safer.  

You can look at the measures that the Council is taking to prevent knife crime in our recently published Serious Violence Strategy. This outlines the joined up work the Council does with its partners through the Safer Greenwich Partnership to analyse the causes of serious violence and to adopt a public health approach, with a focus on prevention and early intervention. You can read this at  

Catch Up:

We have opened safe spaces across the borough for people to go when they need help. Known as ‘Safehaven Superhubs’, the spaces, with some operating 24 hours, offer trained staff and refuge for anyone who needs help – either in an emergency, if they feel harassed or unsafe, or need medical help while waiting for an ambulance or the police. 

We are making innovative safety improvements in parks and open spaces to reduce serious violence. Part of this includes implementing amnesty bins where people can physically and anonymously drop their knives off. The Council also works in close partnership with the Metropolitan Police to regularly carry out joint weapon sweeps in different locations across the borough.  

The Council works with partners such as Growing Against Violence (GAV) to deliver informative workshops to pupils, teachers and parents in primary and secondary schools  

and colleges to prevent youth violence, including knife crime. The Council works closely with CACT (Charlton Athletic Community Trust), who manage the borough’s youth hubs, to support them with any incidents or emerging issues they notice among young people.  

We also have many community youth provisions, such as B-Young Stars and the Church Army, who work to encourage their cohorts of diverse children and young people to reach for the stars and to be the best version of themselves, contributing positively to the community.  

There is a lot of work the Council is undertaking to improve the quality of life and health of our residents and ensure that victims of violent crimes receive the support that they deserve. As a council, we are also reliant on our residents to live considerately and collaboratively with their neighbours, to report any concerns to the police and to use the various local support services on offer.  

If you or anyone you know is struggling or is at risk of offending or causing anti-social behaviour, there is lots of help and support available on the Council website."