On Saturday 28 October, MP Stephen Timms, spoke to a packed audience at the 'Stop da violence' concert at the ARC Church, Sebert Road, Forest Gate. The concert featured impressive rap, music and drama, and packed a powerful and hard hitting message. It was organised by teenagers, for teenagers, to highlight the dangers of carrying a weapon.
'Stop da Violence' was set up by teenagers at ARC Church, after the fatal stabbing of church member, Charlotte Polius, in April 2005. Charlotte was just fifteen years old when she was stabbed by another teenager who was carrying a knife she had taken from her aunt's house two weeks earlier.
Speaking at the event Stephen Timms said: "I welcome this campaign and this concert. 200 people in Britain died from stab wounds last year. We know that people who carry a knife are not safer, as they may hope. In fact they are more likely to become victims of crime themselves. The Government is changing the law to protect young people better, but I welcome and applaud the teenagers highlighting this vital message today, because they are the best people to get the message across."
Legislation currently going through Parliament will give teachers the power to search pupils for weapons, and raise the age at which a knife can be purchased legally from 16 to 18.