A VIGIL was held outside Manchester Cathedral on Tuesday night to draw attention to rising levels of knife crime, days after three people were stabbed at the city’s Arndale Centre.
The vigil was followed by a knife crime “summit”, which brought people together to listen to experiences of knife crime, including members of families of those who had died and someone who had served time in prison after being convicted for knife crime.
Dean Rogers Govender said that the event had been planned long before the Arndale stabbings last Friday, but the attack had brought home the need for such an event.
“We hope that the event will raise awareness of the surge in knife crime which is creeping out of London towards Manchester.
“Rises in knife crime should shock us all. Community and religious leaders cannot stand by while young people, in particular, are seriously injured or killed. The Manchester Knife Crime Summit is an opportunity to deepen awareness of the causes of knife crime, to listen to and acknowledge the stories of lives destroyed, and, yet, in the midst of such pain explore how, together as one community, we might work to reduce the blight of knife crime in our city and region.”
He said that the cathedral was part of an intelligence-sharing network in the city, which meant that it was immediately locked down when reports of an incident at the Arndale shopping centre came through. He said that the latest attack — coming two-and-a-half years after the terrorist attack on the Arena — had raised anxiety levels in the city once again.
The shopping centre is just a few hundred yards from the Arena, where 22 people were killed in May 2017 when Salman Abedi detonated a suicide bomb after an Ariana Grande concert (News, 24 May 2017).
A man is in custody, detained under the Mental Heath Act, after the stabbings last Friday. The Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, posted a prayer on Twitter for all those affected.
The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, this week questioned the Government about knife crime in the House of Lords. She said that the level of “knife crime is of huge concern to me and a source of great sorrow”.
London has the highest rate of offences involving a knife in the UK, with the highest rate in the country being in the West End area of Westminster. Last Thursday, just hours before the Arndale attack, two teenagers were fatally stabbed within hours of each other in London, and so far this year more than 110 murder investigations have been launched across the capital by the police.