Idris Elba launched the Don’t Stop Your Future campaign, calling for the immediate banning of machetes and so-called ‘zombie knives’, outside Parliament today.
The Hackney-born actor and rapper, 51, has also called for more funding for youth services and is releasing the song, titled Knives Down, to drum up support.
In the installation, clothes and shoes, representing those who were killed by the violence, were spread out on the grass just yards from Westminster.
And in addition, Knives Down is aiming to raise awareness of the campaign and give a platform to the frustration and grief felt by the families who have lost young people to knife crime.
‘I really think that our country is at a boiling point’, Elba said (Picture: PA/BBC)
Look familiar, ahem, Rishi Sunak? (Picture: GRM / YouTube)
In the video, Elba stages a debate in the House of Commons alongside the families of victims, with ringers for several key figures in government sitting on the other side of the room.
The song also features an appearance from UK rapper DB Maz as the pair call out to the government to solve the problem and for gang members to ‘not put trust in a blade’.
Elba told Radio 4: ‘I really think that our country is at a boiling point. We are sensitive to this topic, we all feel the pain when we see it on the news, but there’s very little done that reverberates into actual action.
‘I can’t stay silent as more young lives are lost to these brutal and heartless crimes.’
He continued, instructing people in power to focus on the root causes of knife crime: ‘Let’s really look at the supply chain – what can we do to get rid of it and take these knives off the streets.’
Elba is calling for more funding for youth services (Picture: GRM / YouTube)
The Don’t Stop Your Future campaign was launched with an installation in Westminster (Picture: Getty)
In August 2023, the Home Office announced that tougher measures on machete knives would be introduced, with ‘threatening’ blades being made illegal, while possession and sale of the weapons would be punished with harsher sentences.
However, progress on passing the new legislation has been described as ‘slow’, with several high-profile incidents making the news since.
Most recently, the nation was shocked by the case of Harry Pitman, a 16-year-old boy who was stabbed to death on Primrose Hill, Camden on New Year’s Eve.
In September 2023, a family from Croydon was left devastated when 15-year-old Elianne Andam was stabbed to death on her way to school.
Police arrived at the stabbing within two minutes but she was declared dead less than an hour later at 9.20am – a 17-year-old boy was charged with her murder and will stand trial in April 2024.
At the time, Elba said: ‘It is a shame that our country still mourns the deaths of children at the hands of knives. We need to enforce tougher deterrents and punishments to carrying these weapons.’
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