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Churches called to action as killings and knife crime spike revealed
A Christian charity has urged churches and Christians to play their part in reducing crime as new figures reveal a spike in knife attacks and homicides.
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics show 16 per cent more recorded knife offences in the year to March, compared with the previous twelve months in England and Wales.
There were also 701 homicides in the same period which is a 12 per cent rise.
Naomi Allen, ministries director at Christian charity XLP told Premier the government's measures to tackle the issue aren't going far enough.
"I know that the government has launched these knife-crime lessons for the end of term - which in themselves are good but we really need to be trying to work out how can we tackle some of the drivers. And if a driver is fear, one of the ways we can tackle that is by building trust with people who feel like carrying knives is their only option."
Concern over serious violence intensified this year after a spate of fatal stabbings and shootings, with London in particular badly hit by bloodshed.
Alex Mayes, policy and public affairs adviser for charity Victim Support, said: "It's truly shocking to see these rises in homicides and violent crime such as knife crime. While overall crime levels are generally stable, these increases in some high harm crimes are concerning.
"Too many lives are being shattered by these violent crimes."
The Home Office's anti-knife lessons for 11 to 16-year-olds will warn young people not to believe everything they see on social media, and that it is incorrect to believe most youngsters have knives or that carrying a knife is a form of self-defence.
Explaining how churches can also help to deliver this message, Allen told Premier: "Churches looking to reach out into communities where they know this is an issue and being able to build trust with young people.
"That's very much at the heart of what we're trying to do in XLP - commit to running long-term youth groups and clubs which can build trust so that young people don't feel that their only option is to do this... that they have people they can trust and speak to who can show them the alternatives and walk them through that process."
Listen to Naomi Allen speaking with Premier's Alex Williams:
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