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  1. ITV Report

'25 year sentences might help': Stab victim turned champion boxer on how to tackle knife crime

A British champion boxer - who was stabbed as a teenager - has revealed to ITV News podcast Acting Prime Minister how he thinks the government could tackle knife crime.

Richard Riakporhe, who says he'd been mixing with the "wrong" people when he was stabbed aged 15, told how a realisation following a life-saving operation set him on the path to becoming the British cruiserweight title.

"I sat down, analysed my life, analysed what I want to be in life, analysed what I was doing and what I was involved in and I realised that if I was going to continue on this pathway it's going to lead me to a certain destination.

"I realised that I didn't want to live that life, I don't want to end up in prison, I don't want to end up dead," he said.

Now, aged 30, he wants to help others in the same position and thinks his remarkable story might have given him some of the answers.

He told podcast host Paul Brand how one way to warn young people against knife crime would be to impose tougher punishments.

Credit: ITV News

"If you stabbed somebody... And you would be sentenced to minimum 25 years, I don't think there would be a lot of stabbings, because people would be thinking about their future," he said.

But he believes interventions can be made before young people even think about carrying a weapon.

He says a lot of people involved in knife crime are "on one path and they probably believe that there's no way out".

"Some of these people, the less fortunate that end up carrying knives and ending up in that gang culture, they didn't have no parents, they came from completely broken homes," he added.

Adults should be looking for "social indicators" in young people - "it's all about looking in, and when you do look in you find all the answers," he says.

One of them, he believes, would be to work with "certain influencers" to dissuade young people from knife crime.

"The younger generation are all over social media and they're influenced by music and sports, so getting a collaboration going with certain key figures in key areas, I think that would be very effective," he said.

Richard Riakporhe spoke to Paul Brand for his Acting Prime Minister podcast. Credit: ITV News

He believes stop and search causes young people to "despise the authorities, so that probably won't be a good idea".

"What would be a better idea is trying to find the route of the problem, coming to communities, trying to promote cohesion, talk to the leaders, the influencers."

"It's all about people coming together and just putting their brains together - I don't think it's rocket science," he added.

On a smaller scale Mr Riakporhe tries to tackle knife crime himself, by talking to young people and sharing his story.

"I talk to them about knife crime, I talk to them about my life and how I achieved my goals and I try to use it as a reference and try to find a connection."