'Not the way forward' - youth MP's rallying call against 'scary' knife crime in Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 16:47 16 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:24 20 November 2018
An Ipswich teenager representing the town at the UK's Youth Parliament has called for more action on knife crime during a debate in the House of Commons.
Isaac Codjoe, 17, became a Member of Youth Parliament in March - and in a special debate at the House of Commons on November 9 raised knife crime as one of the parliament’s five key issues.
Following a series of stabbings in Ipswich over the summer, which included the death of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens, Isaac said he felt compelled to raise the issue.
“It’s becoming such a common thing – young people see on social media people from gang culture and see it as a way of life,” he said.
“That is not the way forward. People also need to realise that they feel unsafe so they carry knives.”
He added: “It’s quite scary, the fact that people my age are out there dying, taking part in this activity when they really should be in some sort of education to boost their life chances rather than gang culture.”
Isaac said he hopes that fresh rallying calls for more to be done about knife crime – both nationally and locally – could have a positive effect on pumping resources into it.
The St Joseph’s College student said he was encouraged to see young people stepping up to talk on the issue at the debate, which was witnessed by Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and chaired by House of Commons speaker John Bercow.
The other priority issues the Youth Parliament discussed were votes for 16-year-olds, mental health, tackling homelessness and equal pay for equal work.
Now, Isaac is organising discussions with councillors, MPs and other civic leaders in Suffolk to discuss the issue - and is planning an event in March to raise awareness for knife crime.
He has also announced steps to create Ipswich’s first youth council, with one or two representatives from schools across the town to discuss how change can be introduced.
He added: “It’s about getting young people feeling gang culture is something that’s not glamorous, no matter how much social media glamorises it.
“You can just wake up these days and your best friend might have been brutally murdered – this is something we would never have imagined possible growing up but you turn on the TV and see that. We need this to change.”