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Churches told to open doors to youth to stop knife crime following latest deaths

Pastor Lorraine Jones from London lost her son Dwayne to a knife attack and now campaigns on the issue.

She's been speaking to Premier after the fatal stabbing of 17-year-old Jodie Chesney in an east London park on Friday night in what Jodie's family branded a "totally random and unprovoked attack".

On Saturday night, 17-year-old Yousef Ghaleb Makki was stabbed to death in Hale Barns, near Altrincham, in Greater Manchester.

Meanwhile an investigation by Channel 4's Dispatches found the number of recorded offenders aged under 18 committing homicides using a knife or sharp instrument rose by 77% from 2016 to 2018, up from 26 to 46.

Calling for churches to respond, Pastor Lorraine said: "I mean, right now our communities have very limited community centres, so therefore there's no safe spaces for young people to go to that they can engage with workers or even just be children.

"And I'm appealing now to churches to, if they can, start running a sort of community hub for kids because we've got hundreds and hundreds of kids that are just on the streets with nowhere to go after school.

"One of the things which I think would be really, really useful is if we could have on a weekly basis just open up our church halls and just have a social for the children."

Theresa May has promised a cross-Government response to knife crime as she rejected claims police cuts had contributed to a series of brutal stabbings around the country.

The Prime Minister vowed to tackle the causes of knife crime by addressing the issues which led "so many young people" to carry blades.

The former home secretary insisted there was "no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers".


Pastor Lorraine is calling for more funding for youth services.

Speaking on Premier's News Hour, she said: "We know money has gone into the police force and some other agencies but but not the ground work.

"Community leaders are working with these high risk children. Where do you think money should be focused? Where is it best put to use? Well, its best put to use with facilities that our young people can walk into in the communities."

Home Secretary Sajid Javid will chair a meeting of police chiefs on Wednesday, including chief constables from the areas most affected by knife crime.

(Additional reporting by Press Association)

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