Two men have been arrested after four people were stabbed in a spate of knife attacks in north London.
Over a 10-hour period, the woman and three men were approached from behind and knifed in the back as they walked alone in Edmonton. Two are in a critical condition.
Police described the attacks as “cowardly and senseless”. Theresa May and Sajid Javid said knife crime must be regarded as a “disease” as they announced a “public health” approach to the issue.
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The Metropolitan Police, who believe the weekend’s attacks may be linked, have arrested two men on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm. A spokesman said the motive “appears to be solely to inflict harm” as none of the victims was robbed and they had not engaged in conversation before being attacked.
A man was arrested yesterday morning in Edmonton and another man, in his 40s, was later arrested at a residential address in the same town. Both remain in custody.
Despite the arrests, police have warned the investigation is “live” and members of the public should “remain vigilant”. They say the attacker is believed to be a single male who is described as black, about 6ft 3in, of skinny build and wearing dark clothing, possibly a hooded top.
The first victim was a 45-year-old woman who was stabbed in the back in Aberdeen Road at about 7pm on Saturday. A 23-year-old man was attacked near Seven Sisters tube station shortly before 4am the following morning. Two more victims were stabbed in Park Avenue and Brettenham Road.
Meanwhile, Theresa May and Sajid Javid said knife crime “must not be allowed to continue” as they announced new measures to tackle the issue.
They are to give hospitals, schools and social services a legal duty to protect youngsters. A&E staff and GPs will be obliged to flag up knife wounds or other suspicious injuries so children can be referred to violence reduction units. Teachers and social workers will also have to report warning signs, including truancy and serious misbehaviour.
In a joint article for the Daily Mail, they said: “We must and will use every tool and tactic at our disposal to deter young people from carrying knives. We must treat the threat which knives pose to our society like a disease.”
The measures are similar to the system deployed in Glasgow, formerly the knife crime capital of Europe, where stabbings have halved in 12 years.
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