News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Eno Adeogun
UK News

Churches told 'fighting together' is key to tackling knife crime in capital

by Eno Adeogun

Rev Les Isaac, CEO of the Ascension Trust - the governing body of Street Pastors - told Premier at the Pan London Churches Serious Violence Summit in Southwark Cathedral on Tuesday that church unity and action is urgently needed.

"The problems that we are facing as a city is a vast problem and no one organisation or one denomination could adequately respond to it," he said at the event sponsored by the Bishops of London and Southwark.


He added: "This summit is saying 'right across the Christian community, let's come together, let's look at the issues, and let's look at how together we can bring a positive and a strong response to it'."

In the capital there have been 119 homicides this year - including 69 fatal stabbings.

Five of those occurred in a six-day period this month.

In the past 12 months, in the Diocese of Southwark alone, there have been over 4,500 knife crime offences - around 650 of which have caused injury to a person under 25 years-old.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan told the BBC that it could take ten years to "really make significant progress" to solve London's violent crime problem.

However, Rev Isaac stressed we risk waiting even longer to see significant changes.

He said: "I think there's been a lack of serious response to this problem. Before we started Street Pastors it used to be guns, drugs and gangs and even then I was saying, 'listen, it's a problem that's endemic, it's a problem that's social, it's a problem that's been incubating for years'.

"What has happened is that the Church has prayed about it and not really focused on it, governments and successive governments haven't really addressed it.

"So what we have is something that's been in incubation for many years, it's now come to fruition and I hear Sadiq Khan say it's going to take ten years - it could take 20 years."

Premier Christian Radio
Sophie Linden, The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime

Sophie Linden, a Catholic and Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime told attendees of the summit that tackling violent crime in the city was "deeply personal" for both her and Mr Khan.

"For the mayor and I, tackling serious violence isn't something we're doing because it's on the news agenda. It is deeply personal for us so you can be absolutely sure that tackling serious violence isn't just a top priority for me - it's a priority for the mayor as well.

Thanking the Church for its contribution to helping combat knife crime, she added: "The police cannot arrest their way out of this situation."

Rev Isaac said he was optimistic that churches could work together to make a significant contribution to tackling knife crime in the capital.

He explained: "It all depends on how we come together and really look at it.

"We were talking about this being a public health response earlier this year. I'm glad to see that the government and the mayor's office have recognised it is a public health issue.

"But I also believe that the Church which has been really active for years in the city - I believe that this is a wake-up-call for us to say 'how do we bring expertise, skills and resources so that together we can really give a major response to this."

Listen to Rev Les Isaac speaking to Premier's Eno Adeogun:

Stay up to date with the latest news stories from a Christian perspective. Sign up to our daily newsletter and receive more stories like this straight to your inbox every morning.

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of £8 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the UK is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of £8 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Set up a monthly gift

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.