Renewed effort to “make a dent” in the scourge of knife crime and the youth violence responsible for “appalling” human disasters is needed, Prince Charles has said.
The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex held a summit at Clarence House where they gathered together experts, former gang members, bereaved families, celebrity supporters and charity bosses to discuss solutions to the issues.
The heir to the throne suggested more vocational training opportunities and after-school activities were needed for those who may find themselves drawn into gangs or violence.
He told invited guests, including Prince’s Trust ambassadors actor Tom Hardy, rapper Tinie Tempah and England football manager Gareth Southgate: “There must be better ways if we’re going to prevent all these appalling disasters and tragedies happening to so many people’s families.
“This is a thing which seems unacceptable, frankly, we should say enough is enough, this time we are really going to make a dent in this for the sake of so many young, so many families.”
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has insisted the tide is turning against the rise in violent crime.
But she has admitted it would take a long time to tackle the 180 violent gangs in London that are dragging children into crime.
She was speaking as the number of homicides in London so far in 2018 hit 125, the highest figure for a calendar year this decade.
Charles called for better vocational education to “help provide what is needed for all those people who don’t find a strictly academic course”.
“It seems to me we need to find better ways of helping people in that adolescent transition period to be able to take part in exciting, adventurous, constructive, sometimes risky – if you can get past health and safety – opportunities.
“Because at that age people are more aggressive, they’re more energetic, you need to find a way of helping to channel that – boxing clubs are a brilliant way of doing that.”
The heir to the throne and his son Harry heard from those with direct experience of violence including Barry and Margaret Mizen, the parents of murdered teenager Jimmy Mizen, who have set up a charity in memory of their son to tackle youth violence.
Charles said one of the delegates had told him that between 3pm and 6pm, when schools have closed, is a dangerous period for young people.
Mr Mizen said: “There are schools now where young people are hanging back at the end of the day, they are too frightened to go home at the end of the day, and are waiting for the crowds to disperse – this is the reality.
“So, absolutely great (having) extra activities. The one issue you’ve got, the very young people you need to engage in these activities are the hardest ones to get involved in the activities.”