Summing up…

Channel 4’s Disarming Britain season has now come to a close but we’ll be leaving this blog online as a record of what went on during the 3 months from early May to early August 2008.

Through a season of TV shows, original drama, video gaming, partnerships with support organisations, social networking and more – full details are here – Channel 4 shone a spotlight on an issue that concerns virtually everybody in Britain – the appalling prevalence of street weapons in the hands of young people and the terrible devastation wrought by teenage murders.

We also wanted to offer young people a platform to get their views across. We did that here on this blog and over on a special Disarming Britain profile on Bebo (as well as on MySpace and Facebook).

Here’s a summary of the news during the past few months, followed by a compilation of your comments from Bebo.

The News

In the 3 months the DB season ran, lots happened:

* London got a new mayor who promised tough action on weapons
…but the youth mayor he appointed, a youth worker praised for his achievements with young people, stepped down over allegations of sexual and financial wrongdoings

* Ten more teenagers were stabbed to death

* The SWC headed by Cherie Booth toured the country and produced a report…

*Anti-gun campaigner Pat Regan was stabbed to death

*Teenage Harry Potter actor Rob Knox was stabbed to death outside a bar in Sidcup

* Friends of Ben Kinsella took to the streets in a colourful march urging young people to lay down their weapons

*It emerged that one in five teenagers carried a weapon, according to a university study

*Facebook pulled an application allowing users to ‘shank’ a friend from its site and Nike withdrew its retro ‘Air Stab’ trainers

*Veteran film director and actor Sir Richard Attenborough said films were partly to blame for a rise in violence

*More than 55% of knife and gun crime attacks in the past year were concentrated in inner-city areas of London, Birmingham and Manchester, according to Home Office statistics

And that was just the surface of it.

It’s been argued that the news media sensationalises the issue of gun and knife crime, putting fear into young people to the point where maybe they don’t feel safe without carrying a weapon. But surely a culture of silence, ignoring the fact that Britain’s young people are at risk, is dangerous in itself.

Responsible reporting and debate is essential if effective solutions to this horrific situation are to be found and implemented by those with the resources and power.

There have, after all, been pockets of postivity – from the efforts we’ve seen of young people themselves speaking out and fighting back, be it a last-minute march of thousands in memory of a loved one or the musical and filmmaking achievements of the young people we’ve been in touch with. The energy they’ve got proves that young people have talent and a voice which should be listened to and many who fall by the wayside have potential that should be nurtured and encouraged.

Never mind what the statistics say. Just one stabbing or shooting, one death from a knife or gun, is one too many.

And what we’ve seen happen across the country over just the past few months alone puts that in stark perspective.

Your Views

Commenting on this blog is now closed but you can browse through the posts and read nearly 300 blog comments submitted during the Disarming Britain season. Thanks to everybody who contributed.

Below are some of your comments from Bebo on the topics that you considered most important.

Our Bebo profile took the gun and knife crime debate to the realm of social networking

Our Bebo profile took the gun and knife crime debate to the realm of social networking

The guilty should face tougher punishments / Prison shouldn’t be a holiday!

If it was 5 years absolute minimum for any offense then I’m sure that would stop it, the problem is that the punishments are not consistent and people aren’t scared of the consequences. The whole media thingy about gun/knife crime is a load of crap, it doesn’t need to be attended to in the media! It needs to be sorted out in the court rooms. If there is a big ass time in prison like 5 years or more for any offense, even possession then all the crime will stop because people will know that they will serve a time in prison, and even if they are under age then they should still go to prison, why bother with young offenders homes? The whole ‘grass’ situation is a load of crap to when it comes to gun/knife crime, if a person has hurt/robbed/killed another person and someone knows about it they should have no shame in telling the police! Sort it out in the court rooms not the media!

I’ve Seen People I Know Die From All Dis Shit Dat Goes On.
No One Can Stop It, They’ll Never Een Be Close, Its All Come 2 Far Now.

I Want Weapons Gone, I Can’t Stand How They Can Kill People && Yet The Person Dat Uses Them Gets A Shitty Amount Of Time 2 Spend In Prison. You Get Worst Sentences For Stealing Money !!
I Want It All To Stop, To Many People Have Passed Coz Of It All.

R.I.P Fallen Soldiers

School metal detectors.
Random stop and searches.
Personally i think it should be at least a year in prison for carrying a knife in public. At least 5 years for a gun. im sorry but there is no way in gods earth you cary around a gun without the intent to use it. or a knife for that fact, we need tougher laws, and a life in prison should mean LIFE. noboday can argue that what i am saying is ” a too tougher jail sentence” at the end of the day you need to be tough to get results

Oli Trainor
Y’know what gets me? Probably not, so I’m going to tell you. It’s the fact that the Government is blowing all this hot air about tackling crime, and yet when it reaches the point of actually attributing a crime to a person and punishing them, they get practically nothing.

There are many cases I’ve seen where folks have got no more than a few hour’s community service for aggravated assault on a police officer, to serve as an example for my point. What needs to be put in place is a system where the criminal is given much harsher punishment than at the moment, in order to stop them reoffending. Prison ought to be toughened up, as well. It’s like a holiday camp which gives free food and a secure, comfortable roof over the head of inmates, with most mod-cons and without any real discomforts, which is almost appealing to the average struggling lowlife. If the Government is serious about bringing an end to violence, the least they can do is actually punish the kids involved.

Desmond Devlin
I feel that the UK has destroyed itself with the breakdown of the Family Unit. The inability of Parents to teach kids respect has lead to these problems, as well as the laws which prevent Judges from handing out long sentences. Prisons have also turned into a Holiday Camp. There’s no more deterrent for young offenders anymore. We should reintroduce National Service between the ages of 16 and 18.

Craig Newbery-Jones
The american system of three strikes and out! Three convictions for violent crime and/or carrying illegal/concealed weapons and life imprisonment (20-25 years)! This does not conflict with Human rights issues such as civil liberties contained in the Human Rights Act 1998! Simple!!! Prison overcrowding is a problem but to solve a problem such as street violence sacrifices must be made!! I believe the problems relating to weapons are more of a priority to the government and too the general public then farces such as the olympic games!! (although nothing can be done about it now!!) I would prefer a safer country to a show-off country anyday

Abed Ullah
why is it that we face more and more crime in democratic countries for instance if u lok at the crime rate for america and brition we find it hard to caompare it against the likes of middle eastern contries yet we still adamint that democracy is the way. what is wrong with eye for an eye it would get me thinkin twice if a was going to do something wrong this whole justice system is a joke u kill someone n u get put away in prison yeh prison where u get fed clean clothes u can smoke a could go on put a think you get the point we need to be more strict if we want this country and its hard working citizens to benefit the leadres preach about love n peace so how come it dont reflect into society….. because its all a farce BRING BACK CAPITAL PUNISHMENT for the sakes of the coming generations peace be with y’all

JoKingman R.I.P Ivin
Just Reading The Blog
I agree wiv Hannah
Life Shuld Mean L I F E Not sumting ridiculous like 10 yrs
and prisons today have tv, 3 gourmet meals a day && people dnt hav 2 pay rent or there mortage (if there in prison and not in there house)
we were learnin bout it at skool and its just ridiculous how prisons r more like a holiday camp in sum cases
it shuld b a scary place where u hate it && reflect wat u’ve done && arent basically “PAMPERED”

Our Bebo friends designed their own anti-weapon logos

Our Bebo friends designed their own anti-weapon logos

Juice Boy
I keep hearing all these politicians rambling on about knives and how to stop knife crime and quite frankly they don’t have a clue. They’re all talk and no action. None of them have been a victim of knife crime or been brought up in an area where knife and gun crime is an issue.
They want to prosecute people for carrying knives and give them a prison sentence as a deterrent. And community service is just a joke. Don’t they understand that prison isn’t a deterrent to these thugs. I know guys that have been in the young offenders institution and adult prison and they boast about it.
What would deter them is if the government brought back the birch. If the knife carriers felt pain and public humiliation they wouldn’t be long in behaving themselves. Then after getting birched they should get made to do national service for a spell. Then they’d learn some respect and discipline.
The birch worked effectively on the Isle of Man till some bloody do gooder got it stopped.

Youth March
I’m unsure on how to act on knife crime.
ive got lots of different views which cancel each other out.
I think the best one would be..
If you are caught carrying a knife…You get 200hours community service.
If you use that knife in a way to harm someone you go to prison for three years.
If you reoffend you go in for 5years and when out get 1000hours community service.
We have to start high to get a message across.

Give the younger generation something to do with their time!

We cant possibly begin to imagine the situations
that the victims and the accused find themselves
in. They could have done the shooting
or stabbing in self defence due to an attack
from a so called ‘gang’. Bullying could
be another major factor in this. Not being able
to protect yourslef and finding security in a weapon.
I am not supporting weapon crime i just think
that the government should put their hands up and
confess that they are rubbish, by not being able
to find new soloutions to control these outbreakes of
malicous violence. Shootings spark from trivial arguments that wouldnt have been caused if there were
more activities for people gang members to participate in. In my opinion conscription for everyone into the army and seeing first hand for themselves what guns can do is the best option. they will be disiplined and better members of our society.

They need to stop focusing on such small problems as who has got the weapons, to how are they getting them, what/who is making these people actually have it in them to use them. Im sure everyone on here has had a bad experience and yes it does make you think differently, however, education of anything is important. The parents of these people have a huge responsibility as I would never go and commit any crimes that would hurt or have any unwanted affect on another human for the simple reason that its not how i was brought up, and this has been my restraint from ever going too far, it IS a HARD world to grow up in currently, we have more to think about than any previous generations, and this surely has an effect on how people turn out? We need more football fields, tennis courts, go-kart tracks etc. IF THERE IS SOMETHING TO DO, PEOPLE WILL DO IT. Lets increase productive activities and decrease bored teenagers with unlimited access to drugs, alcohol and weapons. THERE IS THE PROBLEM

Em D
What gets me is that the government dont provide enough services including youth centres for people to go to. I’m currently a member of YOMAC (Youth of the Moorlands Action Council) which aims in trying to improve facilities and oppertunities for youths in the Moorlands area. We provide suggestions to the council but hardly any of them get through due to one thing………money. Rescently in the area a new Youth Centre has opened, however due to lack of money it has had to been sold off to the local school, leaving youths in the area stuck as to what to do. In my opinion this doesnt help crime at all as youths become bored and being one myself I know, so they therefore find other means of fun…..crime. It disgusts me that the government and communities complain about youths acting out crimes wherankyn we have nothing to do other than to sit down and literally twiddle our thumbs.
Unless the government does something that can be sustainable for the future, crime is going to continue.

Kelly Lock
What on earth is happening? Brown is screwing us around. Wasting money on stupid things, when there could be away to get guns completely off the market. It is possible. But no, he cares more about getting more oil. So what if we’re running out of fuel? There are more needs. And there is such a thing as walking. There’s nothing for kids to do. Especially not where I live. It’s crap. That’s the reason why most kids are like this. You can’t expect them to sit around the house doing nothing. They need to get out, and be with their friends, and, if they really have to, get guns, knives, drink under age, smoke under age, etc. Brown has utterly ruined this country. He’s doing crap all.

I actually think that alot of it is to do with the council.
especially youth crime.
yes they choose to carry a knife or whatever, but mostly for their own protection. I genuinley think that people are scared.
If the children of britain actually had something to do, instead of roming the streets, then crime would decrease dramatically. The Government need to spend money on their youth, instead of just being greedy I am a 14 yr old livin in a village in northampton shire wen i walk down the road it all sems evry one submits to us not all of us are gun waving maniacs for gods sake give us some slack!

Danny. Loveujade.X
The Kids ain’t got nuthin to do Mr. Prime Minister
Now we’re not hatin’ on you but it’s all pretty sinister
You got the money to follow Bush, but you don’t wanna spend any on our youth
Blame the troubles on the hoods but don’t you see it’s in our roots

Nat C
i’m sorry but i really dont think kids give a dam. ok yer it’s sad n all but the people doin it will not stop. the gov have taken most of the youth clubs away and there is nothin for us to do. just beacuse ur gonner disarm britian it doesn’t mean say there gonner find sommin else new and horrid 2 do.
and yer i hate the fact it’s like that. Guns and knif’s it don’t make you look good it just scares others and in the end yourself. what’s the point.

Educate Kids about Weapons

Andy P
i carry i knife with me every where its a usefull tool not a weapon ive lost count of amount of times ive used one to help people.
but like any other tool it can be mis used you could use any other type of tool to kill some one eg hammer or a screw driver no i think that knifes should be leagle to carry and people should be educated in the use of them from a young age and lern to treat knife and other potentoaly dangerous tools with respect
however if some one miss uses a knife ect or thretens to they should get life in prison and when i say life i meen there whole life.
while im at it same applys to guns exept ther are ment to be weapons but if treated right pple wont get hurt or killed. ive grown up with guns and knifes and one of the 1st things i was taught was to treat them with respect and never to mis use them.

yeah man, i think the media’s just overdone it, and now every’s out there carrying weapons, cause trouble, either to protect themselves, or they now it’s gonna be on the news if they’d kill someone!!
but i don’t think should have to live in a world where we’re afraid to walk in the streets, the fact that we have to live in a society where police are on patrol 24/7 makes me feel like there’s no freedom, we’re always being watched!!! i think tho, the parents, teachers friends, people need to do more to educate the youth about violence and crime, and murder!, u must have some guts to walk up and stab someone, i mean, ur up close and personal!

Steven G Sellars
How can you dissarm britain
the kids dont buy the weapons legaly do they
so how are the cops menna trace them?

The governments got the wrong idea
why dont they educate people about it
an give the public more power, like allowin citizens arrests without the adult worrying about charges gettin pressed against them

You cant take the weapons from them,
so educate them so they realise they dont need them

Why dont the government pay for this education?
too busy handing it out to dossers an imigrants
how bout using money to make our country safe
rather than jus handing out the cash willy-nilly
could even invest the money in giving the kids something to do
they wonda y kids are on the streets
try caus they have nower else to go

Stacey Crouchman
ive just sent a mial to gordon brown talking about what actions i think should happen to reduce this kind of crime.

its not all young people, i am only 17 and i am not at all involved in the knife culture. i think it is pathetic and dangerous to carry around a knife so i resent that chain of thought that all teens should be labelled as yobs!!

that is another reason that youth do these crimes, if adults say were yobs then they think lets just give them what they think in the first place. if adults go around with that thought then it will only hinder the cause it will NOT help it!

i think that it is the 10+ year olds that need to be educated against this shit!
many famous people have said :


we need to tackle these issues before children become youth and we will be halfway to solving the issue!

Re-introduce National Service / Join the Army

Dommie Boy
Actually wanna knw what could reduce it. Forcefull National service again.

Get em out in the army & get them to learn respect.

Bruce Marks
I’m fifteen and from Scotland. Gang warfare and random attacks here are perpetrated never by guns, though occasionally y a blade. It’s stupid and pointless even though i spent two years taking part in gang fights i learnt from it. It’s pointless and solves nothing. If you want to fight join the Army. It’s stupid and there’s no need for it. So lay down your arms.

Andrew ‘Snoopy’ Reid
just a passin comment, i have read a few comments below and agree and disagree witha few comments, i would have to say i DO agree with national service, as a serving soldier i have seen it makes men form boys,alot of men and women join witrh a chip on their shoulder, this doesnt last long, you have to work with ALL your other soldiers etc etc, your differences could be racial or religion, eithe way, each one of them learn each is the same if not better when they work as a team, and for someone to comment that service would just teach ‘them’ how to use weapons etc, not everything in the army is running about in fields/deserts shooting and killing, any job you can do in civilian life can be done through the forces some way or another, clerk, mechanic, guard, nurse, doctor etc etc…

Lee J
Do u think it makes u big and hard
carryin a gun. u shoot some1 n they
die u then find out it was somebody’s dad
mum son or daughter. think about it what if
it was one of ur family would u still feel big
and hard its not nice too lose somebody u
love but that is what it might feel like too a
mum or a dad when there kid gets put in
prison or murder if u want to use a gun do
somthin useful and join the army and be trained

after that u wont want a gun !!

Emz . S
i think all the gangs out there need to learn that pullin a nife on someone or a gun or w.e does not get u street cred it makes u look stupid to even think u need somethin like tht to get wot u want……
wot also annoys me is the fact im in the army cdts and on the shootin team and wen ppl no they think tht i own guns n tht im trained to kill well to be honest no!!! we use the rifles in safe ways we never mess about with them wether they r loaded or unloaded and we are not stupid to go about the streets and pull out weopons to mug someone….were not trained to shoot to kill were teained to shoot properly and for fun… we don’t have to shoot…. i go because i enjoy it and im good at it..
people who mug people are just plain stupid and i dont see the point in it

Patrick Brinson
I have grown up in the country side with firearms and am now a sergeant in the army cadet force where firearms are used all the time, and firearm safety is paramount. All this shit about guns being the worst thing in england is a load of bull sh1te. Guns are fine its just the tosser behind it wheather they be 15/25/55 which is ruining it for the rest of us, like me who shoot as a marksman for competetive perposes not just to waste lives and police time. which are now tightening laws making our legal, safe, fun sport. no-more

Marc Carmichael Brown
Gun and knife crime is obviously out of control and wondering why someone would carry a knife is not really constructive, it only expresses how you feel about knife crime.
We seem to have a generation of teenagers who have no respect or care for anything.
A knife carrier who is stabbed will expect medical treatment. That i what would be considered a claim without responsibility. I`m not saying they should not be treated I`m only pointing out that this is how the system works. By carrying a knife a person is conciously acting in an irresponsible way, but by being stabbed is then making a claim to rights on society that they should be helped.
There is also the arguement that teenagers who carry knifes should be rounded up and put in the army I agree to a certain extent but it is slighty offensive to those who have chosen the army as a career. I do believe however, in national service in a standard 2-3 period wherefrom the age of 16-19 every young male should be enlisted.

Increase Police Presence and Power

Sir Burns.
Exactly The Police Have No Power,
If This Was Happening In America The Coppers Would Have None Of It.
Bring Back Capital Punishment!

Classic Rap
everybody carries knifes these days. i dont coz i dont need to carry a peice of metal to prove im hard but now the only people not carrying guns and knives are the police. its disgusting

Gordan Brown is a mug.
It’s not all youths, not all people that wear hoodie.
The Media have imposed such a negative image of the ‘Hoody’
This is why people think it is true.
I totaly agree this stuff needs to be sorted out, but u have to think where the youths are gettin these weapons from.
They’r not making them are they….. fair enough u can get a knife from the kitchin, but at least get rid of the gun holders, i believe them to be more dangerous….. as do most of Britain.
I also believe police should carry some for of weapon that helps them in case’s when they are attacked with weapons….. police need a weapon better than a stick to hit people with, if some1 points a gun at them from 10 foot, the stick will not reach, they need something to point back.

the scum who commit crimes will have a weapon in their grasp whether firearm or Knife or whatever. Why bother with banning firearms when a simple answer would be to increase the number of police in britain and make consiquences more drastic than fines or a few weeks-years in prison. All they do is learn new skills in crime by more experienced convicts. Get them off the streets forever and send them to rehabs or send them to america.

i don’t think that this is going to work yano .. simply because it’s a kinda TREND to carry a gun or a knife .. as we all know this is not right but the youth of today seem to think it is .. they carry guns + knifes to act BIG + HARD what they don’t realise is that it ant big + i ant clever .. just because you’re carrying a knife .. well maybe it does make you more scary only for the simple fact that worse injuries can occur when you are attacked by some one carryin a weapon .. i tell you what, not nastily, the police need to learn to get their arse onto the street + try to stop this rather than people like you making websites .. this may sound horrible but this will never work .. as if the government are going to check this bebo site .. + if they did would they take any notice .. i don’t think so do you?

Jared Child
if i had the choice of carrying a gun i would take it.
its not cos i’m a thug or nething it’s just it’s not safe.
The police don’t do anything, apart from alienate us kids so it’s not a suprise people carry knives n guns.
Make the areas safe again and things will change

Give police more power. Kids do this stuff because they know they can get away with it. Whats 10-12 years to kid who doesn’t give a shit?

I Will Be Your Superman
The Goverment Shud Put MORE Police EVERYWHERE
In EVERY Street And In EVERY Corner!
AND More CCTV Cams Then Crimes Would Be On The Low!
Also Goverment Shud Get Right In There N Sort The Crap Out.. TALK To Gang Members Face 2 Face And Really Get In There N Sort The Problem Out
Basicly Gotta Ban Knifes + Guns All Together Evn In America Coz Ovi Gettin Imports Etc.. Then It Wud At Least Make The Prob Abit Better

police should search any youth who looks suspicious. that includes any youths wearing hoods etc. or people in a big gang. surely they wouldnt mind if they having nothing to hide?. would also help cut down drugs and stuff aswell.

Mell Ox
i think that headteachers at schools should do a check of bags, coats, pockets. i think it would help alot not to mention save more people in school and bullying. Out on the streets; i think that if the police see someone that looks like theres something up or they look drugged up or beaten or drunken they should be able to stop them, check them or even help them to make britan safer. Hoods; its not right because there people who put there huds up and people call them ‘yobs’ & ‘chavs’ and they even ask them to take them down when they haven’t even done anything and its not right to be called ‘chavs’ or ‘yobs’ they cant just judge people with the way they choose to dress its evil and then theres worser things in life than a hood cos’ the other day i walked into a shop and i watched a little boy with him mum get told to put his hood down and it had been raining and he was like 5/6 years of age and like he’s gonna do owt with his mum standing there holding his hand. it makes me mad (

Johnathan B
Its a tough situation…
… I think though the police should be better equipped to deal with the situations. I think the argument that the gangs will only arm themselves more if the police do is utter rubbish… the Gangs/Violent Youths are already armed leaving the people supposed to be keeping us safe at a massive disadvantage.
The police need better rights for carrying weapons and training for dealing with such situations… Not just the odd random armed response unit :S
Imagine if America was as it is now, but without every officer being armed… Well that’s what Britain will be like in the not too distant future.
Gun & Knife culture sucks!

disarming britain…
give the police better guns and the gangs will smuggle in better guns… teach the police Judo (which will aid them in knife fight situations) and give them the right to infringe human rights when the offender is willing to infringe on someone elses, especially the polices…
also even if britain is finally disarmed (which will only happen with the hand of God), it wont stop the violence, cars are weapons, how many mornings do you turn on the TV to hear last night there has been a hit and run in west belfast… not only cars, alot people when the drink is in them turn themselves into weapons using their fists knees and the base of their feet to do the damage…
how do you stop the crime? Government priorities on money? police giving drug dealers a good hiding? teaching parents to be role models via TV/radio advertisments? (cus afterall most of the violence is learnt from bad upbringing or subliminal messaging)
may He send his spirit to heal our land

fucking awesome idea and guns n knives are getting to wide spread i mean christ little kids these days have no respect for teachers in school for the law how the hell are they meant to respect anyone if they don’t respect the law? im not pushing this on all youngsters but from experience its frightening what they will try and do at such a young age. So yeah may not be related but bring back punishment at schools! let police do more! teach people some fucking respect

I think street crime is a really big problem and a hard one to stop. I think there should be some more youth centres to give teenagers something else to do. Also, I know it’s ahrd, but in the future I believe we need to have more police in the tougher, rougher areas.
My friend almost got robbed and he was threatned by a knife.
He got over it but it was really hard for him..

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