Watch: Idris Elba calls for immediate ban on zombie knives and machetes to reduce youth violence

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Video: A "massive education" around knife crime is needed, said actor Idris Elba during a protest in Parliament Square.

Actor Idris Elba is calling on the government to introduce an immediate ban on the sale of zombie knives and machetes to reduce youth violence.

The Luther star has launched his Don't Stop Your Future campaign, which aims to bring the issue of serious youth violence to the top of the political agenda.

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The star, who grew up in Hackney and Newham, was joined by families who had lost loved ones to knife crime in Parliament Square on Monday morning (January 8) as government ministers returned to Westminster.

An installation of neatly folded outfits, each representing someone who has died through knife crime on UK streets was displayed in the square.

Speaking to reporters, Elba said the problem of youth violence is “not just a Black issue or a London issue”, but a national issue.

“The misconceptions are really wide and worrying because until it happens to you, you see it on the news and you go 'okay' - but I think it's something we have to remind ourselves as a collective,” he said. “Muggings are going up and they’re using knives to mug people. People are terrified of knives - as they are dangerous weapons.

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“When someone is attacked with a knife there isn’t a standardised first aid approach to it, and there should be because knife crime is up. A massive education around the topic is needed.”

Elba is also lobbying for more funding in youth services and is releasing a song titled Knives Down in an effort to tackle serious youth violence across the UK.

He has urged the government to convene a cross-party, cross-governmental working group that brings together stakeholders who have a role to play in tackling knife crime.

The family of Roman Kanda who was killed in a case of mistaken identityThe family of Roman Kanda who was killed in a case of mistaken identity
The family of Roman Kanda who was killed in a case of mistaken identity | Lynn Rusk

Poojah Kanda was among the grieving families who joined Elba in Parliament Square.

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In June 2022, Ms Kanda lost her 16-year-old son Ronan, who was stabbed to death just yards from his home in Wolverhampton in a case of mistaken identity. His perpetrator stabbed him with a 20 inch 'ninja sword' bought online.

Ms Kanda has been campaigning for the ban of online sales of bladed articles ever since.

“I don’t think anyone should be carrying any weapons of any type. Why do we need weapons nowadays?” she told LondonWorld. My son was an innocent person who was walking, he was loved by society, he was loved by his school friends, loved by his family. We lost someone so amazing because of knife crime.”

Family of Danny Castledine who was stabbed to death while on holiday in AmsterdamFamily of Danny Castledine who was stabbed to death while on holiday in Amsterdam
Family of Danny Castledine who was stabbed to death while on holiday in Amsterdam | Lynn Rusk

The family of Danny Castledine were also at Parliament Square. Danny, 22, from Nottinghamshire was stabbed to death while on holiday in Amsterdam in June 2022. 

His mother Alison said the tragedy has "ended their lives".

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“Danny had never been in any trouble in his life. He was a good young man,” Ms Castledine told LondonWorld. "Your life just ends. Nothing seems worth carrying on for anymore - celebrations, Christmas, birthdays, holidays - they’re just not the same without him.”

The Home Office said in August 2023 that tougher measures on machetes and zombie-style knives would be introduced, but Parliament has been slow to pass legislation.

In 2023 the number of teenage killings in London rose, with a total of 22 young people killed in the capital compared to 14 in 2022. The figure is still below the 2021 high of 30.

A government spokesperson said: "Knife crime tears families apart, and we know more needs to be done.

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"Though hospital admissions for assault by a sharp object have fallen by 25% across England and Wales, we remain committed to further intervention measures."

They added: "Through our Criminal Justice Bill, police will be given new powers to seize, retain and destroy knives found on private properties that are likely to be connected with unlawful violence."

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