An Ipswich actor who was "groomed into gang culture" at a young age has welcomed the new zombie knives ban, but says still more could be done to tackle violence on the streets.

Kashif O’Connor, known for his role in Warhol, says this is a “step in the right direction”, but that more could be done on a community-level to change the culture around knife crime.

The government announced on Wednesday that fresh legislation will come into force in September, which will close what has been described as a loophole within the current ban.

Previously, banned knives were defined as having threatening images or words on them, but the new law will recognise other features.

The motion was brought forward on Tuesday by Labour MP Helen Hayes, proposing a ban on the sale, marketing, and possession of zombie and Rambo knives, machetes and ninja swords, which she described as heavy “weapons of war”.

Zombie knives are typically defined by having a serrated edge and being inspired by zombie films.

Ipswich Star: Helen Hayes is Labour MP for Dulwich and West NorwoodHelen Hayes is Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood (Image: UK Parliament)

Mr O’Connor said: “This is a step in the right direction, but it is a complicated issue.

“It’s a perpetual cycle in certain groups. If others carry bigger knives, you carry bigger knives, and what perpetuates that is access to weapons.

“It is very destructive to communities. The advertising and the selling of them should be banned.”

The 38-year-old also spoke of social factors that could discourage such violence.

He said: “There are certain community buildings, such as the Ipswich Caribbean Association, that have been taken away from the black community.

Ipswich Star: An example of a zombie knifeAn example of a zombie knife (Image: Police handout)

“We would meet our elders, know each other’s parents; it would discourage fights as we would know we would be seeing their parents.

“It was family-orientated, but that infrastructure is being broken. We would consider our community as family, and there is no longer that hub.

“There needs to be more community centres, that would make a difference.”

He also advises young people to know the dangers of carrying a weapon and avoid the places that encourage it.

Ipswich Star: Kashif O'Connor on the set of feature film WarholKashif O'Connor on the set of feature film Warhol (Image: Kashif O'Connor)

“It is difficult to change the attitudes of youngsters when they are in a pool where everyone has knives,” he added.

“They must know that if they are carrying that, you will attract that. If you live by the knife, you die by the knife.

“If you don’t want to carry it, you must avoid places where there are knives. Avoid those circles.

“There’s a culture wrapped around colloquialisms, outfits, music. It’s easy to go down that route.”

Mr O’Connor features in Warhol as Solomon, an ex-military character who tries to persuade a young man against committing a murder as an initiation to enter a gang.

He described his character as a “role model” and hoped it impacts the lives of young people.

Of his upbringing, he said: "I was born and grew up in poverty in Ipswich and I was groomed into gang culture from around 13 years old. I didn't know any better.

"I was involved in crime, and it just grew as I could see other young kids following the trend. I knew the implications that my actions had on other people, and I want to give back.”

The role saw him named Best New Actor in the Girona Film Festival in November, and the film was also nominated for Best UK Film at London’s Raindance Film Festival.