Mayor urges more schools to take up knife wands

03 January 2018
  • 76 schools across London now using knife wands under Mayor’s new scheme 
  • As new term begins City Hall writes again to schools to encourage more to take up the offer
  • Part of Sadiq’s robust and comprehensive knife crime strategy

As part of his robust package of measures to crack down on knife crime, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is urging more schools across the capital to take up his offer of a knife detection wand and join the 76 schools now using one to help prevent knife crime and keep young Londoners safe.


In a week where four young men were fatally stabbed in separate, unrelated incidents across the capital in just 24 hours, the Mayor is highlighting the vital role schools have in keeping young people safe, as he continues to work with the Met, schools, communities, hospitals and young people themselves to rid the capital of these devastating crimes.


Delivering a commitment in the Mayor’s Knife Crime Strategy, Deputy Mayor for Policing And Crime Sophie Linden wrote to all schools across the capital in October offering them a wand if they want one. The metal-detecting wands are a part of City Hall’s work with schools to tackle knife crime, and prevent students from bringing knives into schools.


Some 76 wands (which have been purchased by the Mayor’s office) have already been provided to Safer Schools teams.


Sophie Linden has today written again to schools across the capital, reiterating that they can receive a wand if they would like one. 


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Knife crime ruins lives and devastates communities, and my thoughts remain with the families of the four young men tragically killed in four unrelated stabbings on New Year’s Eve. These heartbreaking deaths reinforce our determination to rid London’s streets of this scourge, and I know that the Met police are urgently working to bring those responsible for these horrific acts of violence to justice.


“But this is a problem that cannot be solved by the police alone. Schools have a vital part to play in our fight against knife crime by creating a safe, positive place for students, spotting danger signs and spreading the message that carrying a knife is more likely to ruin your life than save it.


“That’s why, as part of my ongoing knife crime strategy – a package of measures to tackle these crimes - I am providing a knife wand to any school across London that wants one, and I am pleased that many are already taking up the offer. I urge other headteachers, governing bodies and parents to follow suit and put these wands in place to help ensure our schools are safe places for all students.


“We are working tirelessly to stamp out this terrible violence, with dedicated police operations, interventions in hospitals and funding for community projects steering young people away from a life of knife crime. Only by working together can we prevent any more senseless, tragic deaths on our streets.”


Since launching his tough and comprehensive Knife Crime Strategy in June, which provided an additional £625,000 for knife and gang crime projects taking total spending to £7million, Sadiq Khan has been taking steps to help ensure schools are a safe place for pupils. He is increasing the number of Safer Schools Officers, and working closely with Ofsted and headteachers to improve the actions taken by schools to prevent knife crime, and support students and parents in the event of an incident.


In October, he brought education leaders together with the Met police, Transport for London and those who have been affected by knife crime at a summit to collaborate on how to best tackle the problem in schools, including the development of a new downloadable toolkit that will offer guidance on how to identify those at risk. Deputy Mayor for Policing And Crime Sophie Linden will also attend a conference hosted by Ofsted this week building on this work, bringing together Her Majesty’s Inspectors and regulatory inspectors for schools, further education, early years and social care to consider safeguarding issues facing young people in London.


Sadiq has already delivered on many of the pledges in his Knife Crime strategy, including launching an anti-knife crime campaign, London Needs You Alive. The campaign brings together role models and social media youth ‘influencers’ to encourage young people away from carrying a knife, focusing on their talent and worth to the capital. With hundreds of thousands of social media followers between them, leading grime artist Yungen, MC Bossman Birdie, photographer Tom Sloan and urban poet Hussain Manawer are among those supporting it.


The Mayor has also made £250,000 of seed funding available to local communities across London to fund work with young people preventing and protecting them from knife crime. These initiatives work alongside a firm policing response to take weapons off London’s streets through targeted, intelligence-led stop and search, as well as knife sweeps and test purchasing operations as part of the Met’s ‘Operation Sceptre’.


Pastor Lorraine Jones MBE, Director of Dwaynamics Boxing: “As a Mother who has had to bury her son due to knife crime, I urge all schools across the capital to accept the Mayor’s offer of a knife wand. Knife crime is a result of poor mental and emotional health; the perpetrators and those at risk are not easily detected as the signs are not always visible. Knife wands will help protect our children while in school, giving them confidence to focus on their education and not to be distracted with fear of being stabbed whilst there. It's better to be safe than sorry, and as adults we have to make the best choices for our children. Schools need to have knife wands as a clear positive safeguarding measure for our children’s safety.”


Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said: “We have spoken before about the need to mobilise communities against knife crime; and the work of schools - where young people spend so much of their time - is an essential part of this. Teachers, like us as police officers as well as parents, have a responsibility to use their position to inform and educate young people about the dangers of knife crime. 


“Every child should be able to go to school in a safe environment, and the use of knife wands can only have a positive impact. There is some excellent work going on out there and having more than 290 officers across 550 schools has enabled an open dialogue between police, young people and staff. What we need now is for this to be standard in every school in London. Knife crime has a devastating effect; it is only by working together that we can have any meaningful impact on this complex societal issue."

Notes to editors

  1. Schools can request a knife wand through their Safer Schools Officer or by emailing If you do not have a Safer Schools officer, you can email [email protected]
  2. The Mayor’s Knife Crime Strategy can be read here:
  3. For more information on the Mayor’s London Needs You Alive media campaign, visit: