Father of murdered schoolboy says ‘nothing is changing’ on knife crime

The father of murdered schoolboy Kiyan Prince has said he is “heartbroken” that so many young people have been killed via knife crime since his son died 13 years ago.

Mark Prince, 50, hoped that effective action would be taken given the current national focus on the issue.

He noted that all the talk about trying to find a solution over the last 13 years “hurts because you know that if the people who can make the changes actually made them, then we might be saving some of these lives”.

Mr Prince said “nothing is changing” and “we keep talking about the same issues”.

He was speaking after collecting his OBE from the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace for services to tackling knife and gang crime in London.

Kiyan, 15, an outgoing and well-loved young man who got along with everybody, died from a single stab wound to the heart as he tried to break up a fight outside school in May 2006.

Since then Mr Prince, who is a former champion boxer, has worked hard to create an anti-knife and anti-gang culture in the capital’s schools through the Kiyan Prince Foundation (KPF) and giving talks to pupils.

Mr Prince said: “We are put here for a purpose. It is a good purpose we have been created for. Young people have become lost on their journey and they are hurt.

“If we can start focusing on the people who are hurt and heal them earlier instead of focusing on criminalising them, then we can make a huge difference.

“We can save a lot of money by focusing from a young age on where the hurts are and healing them at that time instead of waiting for them (youngsters) to get older and commit crime.

“We are criminalising them when we could be helping and supporting them.”

Mr Prince said that from the “darkness and pain” of his son’s death, he has found a purpose in doing what he can to encourage and inspire the next generation.

He talks about young people taking control of their lives, making the right decisions, caring about each other and valuing lives – and with the same sort of values he gave Kiyan.

Talented Kiyan played for Queens Park Rangers under-16s football team.

He was attacked after trying to stop a fight outside the gates of the London Academy in Edgware, north London.

Hannad Hasan, then aged 16 and a fellow pupil, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to a life term.

William told Mr Prince that it must be really tough doing this kind of work given the personal pain he must feel.

Mr Prince said: “Yes, it is very hard but I have to do this. I cannot sit down holding (on to) my own grief because I have got more and more people (to try to help) who are feeling this pain.”

A string of fatal stabbings blighted Britain’s streets in recent weeks, prompting warnings of a national emergency and throwing an intense spotlight on efforts to combat spiralling knife crime and serious violence.

The number of criminals caught with knives or dangerous weapons has hit its highest level in nearly a decade, official figures revealed last week.

Last year, more than 21,000 offences of possessing or making threats with blades or offensive weapons resulted in a conviction or caution in England and Wales.

One in five of the culprits was aged under 18.

However, the Government insists offenders are now more likely to go to jail for knife or offensive weapons crimes.

Prime Minister Theresa May has rebuffed a correlation between a fall in the number of frontline police officers and the spike in fatal stabbings, while Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has said there is “obviously” a link to violent crime and cuts to youth services and police numbers.