Islington Police praise knife amnesty response with more than 1,000 weapons surrended in just 10 months

Word 4 Weapons manager Camara Fearon with a haul of surrendered items. Photograph: Islington Council

Police hailed an “overwhelming” response as more than 1,000 knives and other weapons were dropped into knife bins across Islington over the last 10 months in a bid to prevent deaths and serious injuries.

It follows the fatal stabbing of 55-year-old Tony Eastlake near his flower stall on the Essex Road last May.

Teenager Romario Opi died after he was stabbed in Holland Walk in Archway in January on his way to a fish and chip shop.

In another incident, a man was injured near Moorfields Eye Hospital in May.

So far this year 21 teenagers in London have been fatally stabbed, and 17 died last year in the capital.

The haul of potentially dangerous weapons collected in the knife bins also  include a cosh and building tools.

A knife bin on the grounds of St Mellitus Church

Metropolitan Police statistics show that from October 2020 to June 2021 there were 4,368 crimes involving violence against the person, including some using knives and 106 cases of possession of an offensive weapon.

The cache of knives were collected in bins installed by Islington Council after it teamed up with weapons surrender charity Word 4 Weapons.

The charity’s manager Camara Fearon said: “We are encouraged to see that our Islington communities are using the knife bins and the variety of items deposited indicate that a range of people are using them.”

The bins allow people to get rid of knives anonymously, without having to go into a police station.

Levels of knife crime across London have been rising over the past five years.

There were 554 crimes involving knives in Islington  in 2019/20 – a drop of nearly a fifth on the previous year, but still higher than in 2015.

Sue Lukes, Islington’s lead member for community safety, said: “I am so moved when I see how many knives we have collected here, and I am so glad we are doing this. I want to thank every single person who dropped a knife into a bin, every one of those is a potential life saved.”

She said taking the weapons off the streets helps to protect young people and prevents them getting embroiled in crime.

“Carrying a weapon increases the risk of harm to our community and to the carrier,” she added. “We all need to work together, with young people and their families, to build brighter, safer futures for them, free of fear and free of knife crime.”

People have also dumped more than 250 other items, including scissors and kitchen tools, in the bins.

The first knife bin was put in the grounds of St Mellitus Church in Tollington in October 2018 . It proved such a success that the council installed six more across the borough.

Cllr Lukes urged people to help get weapons out of circulation: “Those people who chose to do the right thing – have a difficult conversation, check their child’s room or decide not to hold something for a friend – deserve our thanks and praise.  They have saved lives.”

Islington Police’s acting chief inspector said the haul of knives “is a step in the right direction to reducing violent crime and the message is clear – communities do not want knives on their streets”.

The knife bins can be found at:

Central Street, outside Finsbury Leisure Centre

Stanmore Street, outside Cally Pool and gym

Highbury Crescent, outside Highbury Leisure Centre

Hornsey Road, outside Sobell Leisure Centre

Hornsey Road, by the bridge near to the Emirates Stadium

St John’s Way  Archway, close to Caxton House Community Centre