Ten-year-olds admit carrying knives as report finds 1 in 3 do not feel secure

Ten-year-old children have admitted carrying a knife, an alarming study shows – while one in 14 say they’ve thought about doing so.

A report by the Ben Kinsella Trust today reveals that more than 30 of 3,134 10-year-olds surveyed had left home with a blade. And nearly 7% told researchers they had considered doing so.

The study found more than 17% of 10-year-olds said they knew someone who carried a knife, a figure that rose to 41% among over-12s. Patrick Green, the trust’s chief executive, said this reveals the desperate need for a new approach to tackling knife crime.

He said ministers must treat it as a “national priority”. A survey of over 9,500 children in London found one in 50 had carried a knife.

The report found one in three young people don’t feel safe in the area they live. Nearly two thirds (64%) said they are worried about knife crime in their neighbourhoods. Over a quarter of boys (27%) and one in five girls said they believe carrying a knife will protect them.

Mr Green said more than 1,000 young lives have been lost to knife crime since Ben – whose family set up the trust – was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack in 2008. He told The Mirror: “That tells us that this is something that is at the highest national priorities and that we have to do more to tackle this issue and we have to do it differently. If we carry on doing the same thing, we should expect the same results.

“Our focus has got to shift and we have got to listen to young people.” The trust holds workshops for schoolchildren to educate them about the dangers of carrying a blade.

Data shows these have helped change young peoples’ attitudes towards weapons. Among at-risk youngsters, 18% felt they would be safer if they carried a knife after the charity held a session. This compares to 61% beforehand.

Ben’s dad George Kinsella, who chairs the trust, said: “By intervening early, by offering them guidance and support, we can prevent tragedies before they occur. That is the ultimate legacy I dream of for Ben.”