Baroness Lawrence: Government would care more about knife crime if victims were white
Authorities would do more to stop the rising number of teenagers stabbed to death if the victims were white, Stephen Lawrence’s mother has claimed.
Doreen Lawrence, who fought a two-decade long campaign to bring her son’s killers to justice, criticised the response to the rise in knife violence in London.
She called on the Government to “get a grip” after police figures revealed a 21% increase in knife violence across England and Wales over the last year.
“I’m tired of reading about it in the paper. I’m tired of seeing families talking about their sons. I’m really, really tired of it,” Lawrence told the Press Association.
“I think the Government needs to get a grip. It comes under the race issue again – look who’s dying. If that was the amount of kids who were in the white community that were dying, do you think that something would have been done?” she said.
However, the anti-racism campaigner stopped short of criticising the police directly when talking about the spate of stabbings in London on New Years Eve, as resources were deployed in anti-terror measures:
“I wouldn’t take anything away from the energies they are putting into protecting people from terrorism. That is important and we need to do that. But we need to give as much to our young black kids who are dying.”
The Home Office described the rise in knife crime as a “tragedy” and said the new serious violence strategy, due to be published this Spring, would “steer young people away from a life of crime”.
A Home Office spokesman said: “Every single death from knife crime is a tragedy and this government is determined to do everything it can to break the deadly cycle and protect our children, families and communities.
“The Government’s new serious violence strategy, due to be published in spring, will put a greater focus on steering young people away from a life of crime, while continuing to ensure the strongest possible law enforcement response.
“It will have prevention and early intervention measures at its heart and look to shift attitudes and challenge behaviour among those young people who view knife possession as normal and necessary.”
19-year-old Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death in a racist attack by a group of white youths in south London in 1993.
It took relentless campaigning by Baroness Lawrence, a change in double jeopardy laws and a fresh trial before Gary Dobson and David Norris were convicted of Stephen’s murder in 2012.