Teenage knife thugs are making a mockery of the law as cuts-hit police struggle to stop their reign of terror on our streets, campaigners say.
The warning came as footage showed youths brazenly brandishing huge blades in public in separate chilling incidents as the knife crime epidemic continues.
In one video posted online, a boy held a sharp 10-inch blade outside a school in Bristol, laughing with pals in uniform.
The second horrific clip showed a youth swinging a machete as he chased someone down a residential street in Huddersfield, West Yorks.
Campaigner Ann Oakes-Odger, whose son Westley was stabbed to death aged 27 in Colchester, Essex, in 2005, said: “For many teenagers carrying a knife is a way of sticking a single finger up at our laws.
“These youngsters are laughing at the law because they know that essentially they are only risking a slap on the wrist.”
Ann, awarded an MBE for her anti-knife crime work, said several prevention schemes discussed by MPs have not been implemented due to Tory austerity.
She added: “We’ve seen youth clubs closing, intervention programs cut and police budgets falling. What we are seeing is complete inaction on the problem on a national level.”
A boy of 16 was held and let go under investigation after a machete thug was filmed in Huddersfield last month.
Police were also investigating after a boy was filmed wielding a knife outside Downend School, rated Good by Ofsted, in a leafy suburb of Bristol last week.
A member of the public reported the clip after seeing it online. Castle School Education Trust, in charge of the school, said the boy was not a pupil there.
Bristol West’s Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire said: “We have an epidemic of knife crime across the country.
"When the government’s cut youth services, police funding, and schools are struggling, its Serious Violence Strategy is a sticking plaster.
"Young people are dying. It’s too high a price to pay.”
Senior Labour MP Stephen Doughty, on the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said: “Violent crime is on the rise and it’s no surprise when our police have been massively cut again and again by this Tory Government.”
There were 39 reports of knife possession outside schools in Avon and Somerset last year, up from two in 2015.
In England and Wales, 40,417 knife offences were recorded in the year to March, up 16% on the previous year. In the year to June, 20,113 people were reprimanded, cautioned, reprimanded or convicted for carrying a knife.
One in five (4,291) of them were under 18, the most in eight years.
Any young person concerned that a friend is carrying a knife can contact fearless.org anonymously.
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