‘There’s not enough police’: London volunteers take on knife crime


Asking murderers to bin their knives is not a plan. Stopping the migration of hostile invaders is.

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‘There’s not enough police’: East London volunteers take on knife crime

Binning Knives Saves Lives has collected 140 knives in Waltham Forest since project launched in May

The Guardian, 2 Aug 2019:

A DIY knife amnesty bin has been set up by residents in east London in response to rising violence.

Since it launched in May, volunteers from Binning Knives Saves Lives have collected 140 knives in Waltham Forest.

Courtney Barrett, who started the initiative, said he had been motivated by rising levels of knife crime close to his home in Leytonstone.

“When people ask me if I’ve been personally affected, I feel like I have,” said Barrett, 45. “There’s not enough police nowadays – we have to start fending for ourselves.”

About 25 volunteers help to run the makeshift amnesty using a repurposed domestic wheelie bin. They also offer information to young people about nearby youth groups.

Since 4 May, they have been campaigning once a week or once fortnightly, depending on funding levels. Last week, they collected 37 knives in four hours in Leytonstone, which they say came from both the parents of those who were carrying knives and the carriers themselves.

Barrett, who has three sons aged 20, 22 and 23 and a 13-year-old daughter, said he felt it was important to talk to children “about what to be aware of in this day and age”. He said he felt there was a need for community-led amnesties, despite the Metropolitan police providing their own bins.

“I’m from the streets, I’m genuine, I don’t get paid and I don’t tell people what to do, I give them the information and then give them the choice to do what they want to do,” said Barrett.

“When it comes to youths, they can see that I genuinely care about them – especially the ones that turn their nose up and walk off. I run after them and tell them: ‘Listen, I’m not paid to be here, I’m here because I care about you.’”

Earlier this year, it was reported that the number of knife amnesty bins, credited with taking 50,000 weapons off the streets of London, had halved in the past seven years.

In 2012, there were 36 Word 4 Weapons bin locations where knives and guns could be dropped off, which had dropped to 18.

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