Alex Chalk MP has called on the Government to take action against social media sites which “glamorise” knife violence.
The Cheltenham MP was speaking in a Parliamentary debate on the introduction of knife crime prevention orders.
MPs were debating a request from the police to introduce the orders. If introduced, the orders would be aimed at “habitual knife carriers”, young people who are at risk of engaging in knife crime, and those who have been convicted of a violent offence involving knives.
Addressing the Minister Alex Chalk said: “I warmly welcome these knife crime prevention orders, but does the Minister agree that we need to tackle head on the cultural sickness that glamorises knife violence in the first place? That must include taking a robust approach to those social media platforms that host material that is distasteful and downright irresponsible.”
The Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins agreed that “Tech companies must wake up to the harms that their sites can do to ordinary families across the country.”
She confirmed that the Government had “invested £1.4 million in a social media hub with the Metropolitan police precisely to help the police identify those images and bring them down as quickly as possible.”
The Minister added” “I hope we will get some real action on this and get these sickening materials taken down.”
Alex Chalk commented: “I am encouraged by the Minister’s response. The fear of knife violence is very real for many families. There were 40,147 offences in the 12 months ending in March 2018. Out of 44 police forces, 38 recorded a rise in knife crime.
“Knife violence is being celebrated and glamorised on social media. The most casual of online searches will reveal videos and images of Zombie, Rambo and Pocket Knives, Gator Machetes and customised Samurai Swords. Some social media platforms are even being used to incite violence. As the Minister confirmed: “Just this week, I heard examples whereby orders to assassinate were put out on social media”.
Alex Chalk continued: “Much more needs to be done. It’s time to focus attention on the tech companies when it comes to addressing not just knife attacks, but all serious violence.”