A knife crime tsar must be appointed by government in order to “get a grip” on the rise in youth violence, a former Metropolitan Police commissioner says.
Lord Hogan-Howe said a 93% rise in the number of under-16s stabbed over five years was a “terrifying statistic” and “something has to change”.
It comes after two 17-year-olds were killed in separate incidents in London and Greater Manchester at the weekend.
The home secretary will meet police chiefs this week to discuss the issue.
Sajid Javid condemned the “senseless violence”, saying: “Young people are being murdered across the country, it can’t go on.”
NHS data shows that the number of children aged 16 and under treated for stab wounds in England rose from 180 in 2012-13 to 347 in 2017-18.
Lord Hogan-Howe – who led the Met from 2011 to 2017 – said a tsar should be put in charge of how money is spent to tackle knife crime, rather than individual police forces – especially when it comes to officer recruitment.
“I’d want to know, week after week, when are you recruiting them? When do they arrive? When do they get trained? And when do they hit the streets?” he said.
“You want to know day-by-day what’s going to get delivered. And I don’t get that sense of grip.
“If it’s not treated as a crisis, it will take another two years before we see action.”
Tsars are unelected independent advisers to the government who help to shape policy on a range of issues from drug misuse to how to reinvigorate the high street.
On Saturday evening, Yousef Ghaleb Makki, from Burnage, was stabbed to death in the village of Hale Barns, near Altrincham.
Two boys, also aged 17, have been arrested on suspicion of murder and remain in police custody.
Yousef’s death came a day after Jodie Chesney was killed in a knife attack in an east London park as she played music with friends.
Lord Hogan-Howe said the government and police also needed to:
• Tackle the supply of cocaine to the UK from Colombia and Mexico. As the supply has increased and the price has dropped, violence between dealers has intensified, he said
• Deter young people from carrying knives. Too many are worried about being caught without a knife, not with one, he said, and the police need better technology than knife-detecting wands and arches to detect them
• Combat deprivation, which he said was a common factor in knife crime across the country
The killings at the weekend follow the deaths of three other teenagers in knife attacks in Birmingham in two weeks, prompting West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson to brand the situation a “national emergency”.
Hazrat Umar, 17, was killed in Bordesley Green on Monday; Abdullah Muhammad, 16, died in Small Heath the previous week, and seven days earlier Sidali Mohamed, 16, was stabbed outside a college in Highgate.