Idris Elba
Actor Idris Elba
Image: Grey Williams

Idris Elba is calling on the government to take action on knife crime, accusing politicians of "repeatedly not giving this issue the focus it deserves".

The London-born actor says a planned law change to ban all zombie knives and machete sales need to be fast-tracked.

The Luther and Thor star has said he "can't stay silent as young lives are lost to brutal and heartless crimes".


Clothes to represent the victims of knife crime will be displayed in London's Parliament Square on Monday.

The event is part of Elba's Don't Stop Your Future campaign, which works with local communities and well-known brands to try to tackle serious violence.

Organisers hope the bundles of clothes will provide a visual demonstration of the huge human cost of knife crime to MPs returning from the Christmas recess.


Yemi Hughes, whose 19-year-old son Andre Aderemi was murdered in 2016, has donated the outfit he was wearing when he was killed.

Andre was stabbed 26 times in broad daylight in Croydon, south London.

Ms Hughes has spoken of her frustration that knife crime is still a big problem: "Our individual voices have not been heard but yet our pain continues to be felt by families whose children are still being murdered.

"Young people need to feel safe in their communities and underlying causes of youth violence eradicated immediately."

Elba is also releasing a single, Knives Down, in support of his campaign.

The track is about his frustration with the government for what he perceives as their inaction on knife crime.

Although best known as an actor, Elba has released music and collaborated with artists such as Jay-Z and James Blake. HIs biggest hit came when he provided guest vocals on Wiley's hit Boasty in 2019.

The latest police figures for England and Wales from July 2022 to June 2023 show that around 247 people lost their lives due to knife crime.

Those numbers do not include teenagers like 15-year-old Alfie Lewis who was fatally stabbed in Leeds in November 2023 or 16-year-old Harry Pitman, who was killed on New Year's Eve 2023.

Their deaths will be recorded in the next set of crime figures.

Elba's Don't Stop Your Future campaign is also pleading for the immediate ban of zombie knives and machetes.

Zombie knives are defined as weapons having "a cutting edge, a serrated edge and images or words suggesting they are used for violence".

They were first added to the government's list of prohibited offensive weapons in 2016 but Labour has said a loophole allowing the sale of the weapons online still exists.

In August 2023, Rishi Sunak unveiled plans to ban more of the weapons and give police extra powers to seize machetes and zombie knives. But it is not clear when the new law will come into force.

Patrick Green from the Ben Kinsella Trust has said action is needed now: "Four months have passed since we were promised the legislation we so desperately need to ban these weapons, yet the Bill has only just started its agonisingly slow journey through Parliament.

"The government has demonstrated that when they deem it necessary, parliamentary time can be found to expedite Bills with urgency. So, why, when we know that these knives are being used to take the lives of our children, are they not prioritising a ban with the same urgency?"