UK Politics

‘This is an extreme world’: Young kids learn how to stop knife attacks


In a gym on the outskirts of Cardiff some mums have brought their children to a morning activity session.

On the sidelines they sit and watch proudly as the boys and girls are put into pairs.

The man running the session is James Bourne, a former nightclub bouncer, who now teaches children self-defence.

But this is no ordinary self-defence class.

Tarafi Atkinson, aged 11, is grasping a black plastic knife. His brother Tyreece, nine, must defend himself against an attack.


The scenario today is the school playground.

James pretends he is the bully and Tarafi his friend.

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He shouts at Tyreece at the top of his voice: "Give me your money, give me your phone, give it to me or my mate will stab you!"

"I don't want to fight," Tyreece says quietly, his small hand up around his face to protect himself.

"GIVE ME YOUR PHONE AND YOUR MONEY," James shouts even more loudly than before. He slaps the boy around the face.

"Get him," James says and Tarafi lunges towards his brother with the plastic knife.

Image: The knife class in Cardiff is 'about surviving' not fighting

Tyreece moves quickly and grabs his brother's arm which is holding the knife and pulls it around his back, forcing both of them to the floor. The knife drops out of his brother's hand.

"Well done," says James.

"We don't call this fighting, we call this surviving," James tells me.

Welcome to knife club for kids. The new norm in towns gripped by knife crime.

Lisa Hole, Tyreece and Tarafi's mum, is beaming with pride.

She says: "It looks extreme, but this is an extreme world, isn't it? I want my kids to know what to do when someone pulls a knife on them. I want to know that they can defend themselves if I'm not there."

Kate might seem like she is over-reacting, but after the summer that Cardiff has had, she could be forgiven.

Cardiff's youngsters are killing each other and they're using kitchen knives to do it.

Three teenagers were murdered in as many months and people are nervous.

The most recent was 17-year-old Harry Baker, who was found dead in docklands after being stabbed repeatedly.

Harry Baker, part of Nick Martin piece. Pic: South Wales Police
Image: Harry Baker, 17, was stabbed to death. Pic: South Wales Police

In June, Fahad Mohamed Nur, 18, died after being stabbed 21 times near a train station.

Fahad Mohamed, part of a Nick Martin piece. Pic: South Wales Police
Image: Fahad Mohamed Nur, 18, was killed. Pic: South Wales Police

And Asim Khan, 21, died after being stabbed on St Mary Street in July.

Asim Khan, part of a Nick Martin piece. Pic: South Wales Police
Image: Asim Khan, 21, died after being stabbed. Pic: South Wales Police

The number of recorded knife crimes have risen to record levels in Wales with incidents involving a knife increasing by 80% in the last decade, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Over the same period, nearly 20,000 police officers were cut across England and Wales and youth clubs and services withered due to lack of funding.

Senior police officers say those factors are linked to the rise in knife crime.

It is a hot political issue in the run-up to the election.

Image: Knife crime has increased as police numbers were cut

Boris Johnson wants to bring back 20,000 police officers in the next three years. Labour, however, is not planning as many, around 10,000. The Lib Dems want to spend a billion pounds on policing and youth services.

But there are a lot of people in Cardiff who do not believe extra police officers will help.

A dad who suffered significant injuries after being stabbed on the streets of Cardiff claims knife crime in the Welsh capital is getting worse.

Marvin Heron, part of a Nick Martin piece
Image: Marvin Heron was stabbed in Cardiff

Marvin Heron, from Llanrumney, says children as young as eight are carrying knives around the city without realising the devastating physical and psychological impact they could cause.

He has now launched the #KnivesDownChallenge19, where people are urged to record a short poem or rap – under the same backing track – about why knife crime needs to be stopped in its tracks.

"At the moment, carrying a knife seems like the cool thing to do. Everyone wants to carry a knife. It's gettRead More – Source