United against knife crime

One of the knife amnesty events in Walthamstow
One of the knife amnesty events in Walthamstow

Courtney Barrett on why he decided to launch a knife amnesty campaign

I started the ‘Binning Knives Saves Lives’ campaign because I really care about our community’s safety and our children’s lives.

With fewer police officers on our streets violent crime has turned into an epidemic, which we the community have to deal with ourselves – because no-one else seems to be.

We are proactively trying to prevent knife crime in our borough. There are more stabbings and deaths in our community and those in power don’t seem to be dealing with this issue, so I decided to amass a team and deal with it. We are sick of seeing members of our community be on the receiving end of knife crime.

My team of 15 passionate volunteers aims to get as many knives off the streets as possible and as well as this we also educate parents and mentor youths so we can fight knife crime from all angles and make people aware of their responsibilities and roles.

Once we make people aware of what they can do to make their families safer, they are really thankful and supportive. I’ve had thousands of messages of thanks and support, which really keep us motivated to do the best we can.

We have been inundated with youth groups and other anti-knife crime groups wanting to join us at our events. Since May we have been visiting the borough’s railway stations every fortnight, but we will now also be taking our bins to other busy locations across the borough such as Bakers Arms, Chingford Mount and Walthamstow Market.

Because we are totally unfunded, I’ve had to pay for everything, but I have now run out of cash. If you can donate or sponsor us please get in touch – if we get funding we can role this out every day in our borough instead of every fortnight and this would lower knife crime dramatically.

Waltham Forest Council should take note of what we are doing, it would be an awful shame for our borough if we ceased doing what we do. This is something proactive, instead of just talking about the problem we are out on the streets tackling it.

We know the realness of what’s going on and are best placed to tackle it. I speak with youths everyday and they respect us and listen to us, whereas they don’t respect authority, especially the police who continue to make themselves enemies to young people by the way they treat them. I myself have witnessed three stop-and-searches being performed on 13-year-old children and I was appalled at their treatment.

I hope we can continue our successful campaign and the powers that be will realise we are desperately needed.

The next knife amnesty events take place on Saturday 6th July in Chingford Mount, Saturday 13th July in Leytonstone, and Saturday 27th July in Leyton. For more information:
Visit binningknivessaveslives.com