Beyond the Numbers: A Deeper Dive into Knife Crime in London

Sustainable Communities aim to tackle knife crime with the help of Brunel University students.

Undergraduates from Brunel University have started their final year work on one of the most serious and continually rising issues in the Capital – knife crime.  

The University’s final year Global Challenges students have partnered with IofC UK’s Sustainable Communities Programme for a second year to deliver key findings and present this to their module lead, fellow students, and guests of IofC and their stakeholders, this Spring. 

Students: Gul Sanah Dadilahi, Max Creasy, Sebastian Shand, and Hani Warsame, will work closely with Amina Khalid, IofC UK’s Programme Lead for Sustainable Communities, until March as they begin to develop their final year executive project as part of their Executive Project module. 

“Before the Pandemic, knife crime hit a record high. While numbers dropped during the pandemic, we are now beginning to see these offences increase in number once again.” says Amina Khalid, “This year’s cohort of students will work with the support of our Sustainable Communities programme to understand and research the effects this is having within communities throughout the UK.” 

“Knife crime is really important to me particularly because of where I grew up and what I have witnessed in my local community.” added Brunel student Hani Warsame, from Northwest London.  

Student, Sebastian Shand is hopeful about the upcoming project, stating: “This is an opportunity for us to bring together individuals, perpetrators, and victims to bridge the gap between the younger and older generations to foster social cohesion and build trust within the community.”  

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The students recently met Amina and Councillor Michael Desmond, from Hackney Council to present their research plans for this term.  While researching this topic, they are encouraged to go beyond strict numbers; whether it be talking to students, teachers, or members of government- what are the questions we need to be asking and where should we be looking to create an open, honest, and representative collection of data from those who are affected by these crimes.  

“Knife crime is a very serious issue in Hackney and throughout London…” stated Michael Desmond, Councillor of Hackney in London, “…and I’m really pleased Initiatives of Change and students from Brunel University are working together again and on such a very important issue that affects all our lives.” 

Bruce Houlder, Former Representative Deputy Lieutenant for the Borough of Hillingdon and Founder of Fighting Knife Crime London, an extensive and informative online database dedicated to providing information and signposting designed to help young people in London, came to IofC offices to speak with the students.  “We all know the terrible stories,” says Bruce, “What we need to do is get inside the mind of these young people try to understand them and use their opinions and thoughts to motivate future action.”  

The students have been collecting their qualitative data, interviewing people within the communities, and looking to understand this issue in more depth until they present their findings to their university programme, IofC UK stakeholders, council members, and other influential members in the community.  

This is just the beginning of this journey, and we cannot wait to see what this year’s cohort of Brunel students uncover as they delve into their research. “What we really hope is that this brings about real, long-term change.” says Amina. “We hope that the research these students uncover will help to influence future policies around the topic as well as gaining the attention of the media, politicians, and influential organisations in this field.” 

We cannot wait to keep you updated on the work of these incredible students as they continue their research journey with Initiatives of Change and the Sustainable Communities Programme.

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