Ross Kemp believes children’s use of social media has contributed to a rise in knife crime.
The former EastEnders star hopes his new ITV documentary Living With Knife Crime will help viewers empathise with young people – who he describes as being “at war” – affected by such violence.
Speaking on This Morning earlier today, 55-year-old Ross told hosts Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford he believes the programme will help foster “understanding and awareness”.
“The more we understand problems, the more likely we are to come up with solutions,” he said.
Figures reveal 285 people were fatally stabbed in England and Wales last year.
Knife crime offences are believed to have hit a record high in 2019, rising by 8%.
Ross admitted the complex nature of the issue proved a challenge for programme makers to represent concisely for TV – but insisted producers had achieved that.
He continued: “It’s trying to unravel a very complex problem in just over 20 minutes. But I think we have a fair go at that.”
The actor added: “They’re treating it as a war, these young people. That shouldn’t be happening in 2019 in my country.”
However, Ross also noted he does not necessarily believe knife crime can be solved by having more police on the streets.
“I think you’ve got to look at how you train those officers, how you recruit them and the most important thing is the time that we’ve lost with those officers,” he said.
Ross continued: “Certain communities have lost faith or trust in policing. And they’ve lost faith and trust in governments who promised to do things and don’t deliver.”
Having indicated that children as young as 10 can be directly affected by knife crime, Ross also pointed the finger at social media.
He explained: “How do you understand the consequences of your actions? I don’t understand the consequences of my actions and I’m 55 years old.
“It escalates so quickly because of social media. You and I fall out at school in the classroom. When we were kids, it was dealt with within the school or the class.
“Now the entire area and community will know that you and I have fallen out, and that escalates very quickly because you’ll be egged on, I’ll be egged on.
“What would’ve been a fight outside school is now three people on three carrying machetes.”
– Ross Kemp: Living with Knife Crime airs on ITV tonight at 7.30pm
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