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COVID-19 has reduced knife crime, but gang culture can only be tackled through societal change

Since the Covid-19 lockdown was enforced, knife crime figures has dropped significantly across the UK.

Sheldon Thomas, Founder of Gangsline, warns the new results will only be temporary if this and other gang related crimes are tackled through societal change.

Knife crime is said to be down by 30% in London and other cities.

Because of this, people are calling on the government to employ a new strategy, such as curfews. Due to the effect the lockdown has had on reducing knife crime and the movement of county lines and gang members in the UK.

Despite this, Sheldon Thomas believes there is a “desperate need to find a cure for this epidemic of knife and gang-related violence”.

He alliterated on the term, “gang-related crime” as he says when the government speak on knife crime only, It gives an illusion that gangs are no longer a serious problem.

Sheldon Thomas, criticised the government’s reports on gangs and youth violence, as not impacting the very people that they are supposed to help.

“They all claim to make such a difference to communities that are affected by violence. But all those reports have had no impact whatsoever and this includes the most recent report on reducing gangs, county lines or serious youth violence”, he said.

However, Sheldon Thomas mentioned issues of gangs and serious youth violence need to be sorted through financial support and resources. Far more than the £200m that he has heard from authorities.

Now that gang culture is embedded more than ever into British society. Mr Thomas argues gang crime cannot be addressed with simple interventions, not without addressing underlying issues first.

WATCH: SHELDON THOMAS. Founder of Gangsline UK speaking at a conference organised by Powell and Barns Group in June 2019 on behalf of the Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner. Or watch the full conference video's on our sister site.

Sheldon Thomas expressed his ordeal of seeing 12, 13 and 14-year old children being groomed and exploited to run council lines 200 miles from home. Because of this,

he said supposed government officials that are ‘experts’ in this field, lack the reality of first hand experience in knife crime and gang-related crimes.

“We are now in this current climate where organisations and individuals have never been to a trap house, have not actually engaged hardened gang members, but suddenly they are the experts”, he said.

After lockdown, Sheldon Thomas believes as a society we must look at societal change as the only solution to prevent teenagers and young adults killing each other. As well as, them being groomed, exploited and trapped into gang life and county lines.

He touched on that blaming parents for young deaths should be put to an end.

“We must stop blaming everyone else for our own failings as parents and invest more emotional time, nurturing, loving and giving our children security and a safe space in which they can really grow with a rounded sense of morals and principles”.

Sheldon Thomas also suggested ways that the government can do better for communities. For instance, the government instructing both primary and secondary schools to deliver gang presentation assemblies and workshops as part of their safeguarding policy.

And for that education to be delivered by individuals or organisations who employ former gang members or people with real credibility.

Most importantly, emphasis is on the government to provide more opportunities for people from black, ethnic and poorer white communities. Thereby, allowing them to have greater chances in the public sector and the corporate world.

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