2021 could be UK's deadliest year for young people for decade with more than half of those killed in London

The murder of Ava White puts 2021 on course to be the worst year for fatal youth stabbings since 2008, figures compiled by the Daily Mirror reveal.

Ava, 12, was the 40th.

If killings continue at the current rate, 2021 will top the 42 in 2008.

Yvonne Lawson, whose son Godwin, 17, was killed in Stamford Hill, North East London, in 2010, said the Government and communities need to take action.

Yvonne is due to collect an MBE next week for her work as CEO of the Godwin Lawson Foundation.

2021 could be UK's deadliest year for young people for decade with more than half of those killed in London
© Evening Standard Ashmeet was stabbed to death this week in West London

She said of our findings: “It’s disgraceful. It’s another premature death, another grieving family.

“And what are we going to do to solve this problem? I really think we all have a role to play.”

Patrick Green, CEO of anti-knife crime charity the Ben Kinsella Trust, said the Mirror figures reflect other crime statistics that show the problem is back to the levels of 2008, when Ben, 16, was murdered in Islington, North London.

Mr Green said: “We have to ask ourselves what was done in those 13 years to really address the root causes of knife crime?”

After a peak of 48 in 2007, the number of under-20s stabbed to death in England and Wales fell to 24 in 2013 only to begin rising to 39 in 2018, 37 in 2018 and 35 in 2019.

Mr Green said the fall after 2011 may have been partly due to increased funding for urban areas following the riots that spread from London that year.

This tailed off in around 2014 when Tory austerity really kicked in. Police officer numbers fell by 20,000 between 2010 and 2017.

2021 could be UK's deadliest year for young people for decade with more than half of those killed in London
© Met Police Jermaine was just 14 when he was stabbed to death

Mr Green said the pandemic meant many vulnerable young people had missed the support of school and youth services.

He said: “This has created a vacuum that the gangs have filled.”

Birmingham had a high rate of youth blade killings, with four victims. Among them were Dea-John Reid, 14 and Keon Lincoln, 15.

But West Midlands police has axed the Safer Schools Partnership, a scheme introduced by Labour in 2002 to tackle youth violence by assigning police officers to schools.

It was a national policy until the Tories axed it in 2010.

Of the 40 killed so far this year, 25 were in London and the majority from BME backgrounds living in areas with high levels of poverty.

All apart from Ava were male.

Ava was murdered the day after Ashmeet Singh was stabbed to death in Hounslow, West London.

Six days earlier Jermaine Cools, 14, was fatally knifed close to West Croydon train station.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council said: “Earlier this month police forces in England and Wales, and the British Transport Police, took part in the latest Operation Sceptre week, a regular police operation to crack down on knife crime.”

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