VIOLENT video games and films glamorising crime are to blame for a rise in gun and knife crime, according to teenagers across Merseyside.
A panel of children from Liverpool and across the North West took part in a debate yesterday and asked adults to raise the age on some games and movies.
They said watching certain movies, playing video games and listening to music encouraged some young people to carry knives. They also said pressure from friends and family members being involved in crime and gangs forced children into carrying weapons.
Superintendent Mike Cloherty, knife crime co-ordinator for Merseyside Police, asked if increasing the sentence for carrying knives from two to four years would discourage young people from carrying weapons.
Panel member Nathan, from Liverpool, said: “They don’t think about how long they’re going to get, so I don’t think that will make any difference.”
Ex-offender Bob Croxton, who’s now an outreach worker with Liverpool’s Criminal Information Bureaux, said his nephew had been stabbed to death at the age of 17.
He asked the panel the best way to tackle knife crime and was told raising the age on films and computer games would stop young people committing crime.
It said parents should take care of their children and stop them hanging around the streets all day and night.
The panel responded to questions from officers from Merseyside Police, city councils and other youth and crime agencies. Action for Children, which supports and speaks on behalf of the vulnerable, organised the event as part of a government consultation.
Liverpool hosted the first of the regional consultations after a booklet of young people’s views on gun and knife crime was delivered to Gordon Brown in April.
Paul Moore, strategic director for children’s services at Action for Children, said: ”In Liverpool, there is a strong connection to where young people live and they feel threatened by fear and the fear of guns, knives, weapons in their communities and across the North West. People like those on the panel can help shape the action we take and we need to listen to them.”
Supt Cloherty added: “They said they were influenced by violence and de-sensitised to violence after watching certain films and playing video games.
“There needs to be this valuable dialogue between the police, other agencies and the young people.”