Young people in Merton carry knives as a way of protecting themselves a meeting heard.

Merton’s cabinet heard from a member of the borough’s youth parliament on Monday night (January 14).

Beverley from Merton’s youth parliament told councillors that knife crime is perceived as the most common crime by people between the ages of 11 and 20 in the borough.

She told the meeting that more than 700 local young people have responded to a youth parliament consultation about what Merton does to keep people safe.

“From what we gathered, we learnt boys were much less likely to fill in questionnaires than girls were.

“23 respondents gave no response to the question ‘what does safety in Merton mean to you’,” she said.

“Mitcham is perceived as the least safe area of Merton whereas Wimbledon is seen as the safest.

“One in three were aware of someone who had committed a crime and one in 10 had been a victim of crime.

“Lastly and probably the most shocking statistic was that stabbing and knife crime are perceived as the most common crime.”

Cllr Edith MaCauley said that young people in Merton carry knives as a way of protecting themselves.

The cabinet member for community safety, engagement and equalities said: “Knife crime has reduced slightly in Merton over the last 12 months, but the fear of crime is there.

“Over the past 12 months in London there has been a lot of young people involved in crime.

“I think our role in Merton is to ensure young people in Merton are safe

“There is an issue about stop and search which some people object to because they feel certain groups of people are targeted and we are monitoring the situation to see what can be done to reduce the fear of crime,” she said.

“[Knife crime] is becoming a very big issue.

“Some young people feel carrying a knife is safe way of protecting themselves.

“We are working with our youth to keep the numbers down in Merton.”

Following the consultation carried out, the youth parliament has decided it will make a documentary to raise awareness about crime in the borough.

Merton’s cabinet also agreed that it would regularly consult young people and children living in the borough.