Named ‘Don’t Stop Your Future’, the Luther star’s campaign aims to ban machetes and zombie knives following an alarming number of teenage murders in 2023.
Hackney-born Elba launched his campaign with an eye-opening installation in Parliament Square yesterday.
The exhibit consisted of neatly folded outfits, each symbolising a life cruelly cut short by knife crime.
Among those remembered was 16-year-old Harry Pitman , who was stabbed to death on New Year’s Eve while waiting to watch London’s New Year fireworks from Primrose Hill in Camden.
His murder marked the 17th teenage death in London in 2023.
Others included Taye Faik, killed just yards from his home in Kendal Gardens, Edmonton on October 1.
Schoolgirl Elianne Andam, 15, was stabbed to death on her way to school in Croydon in September with what was believed to be a large zombie knife.
And Ilyas Habibi was on his way home from college when he was attacked and killed in Sutton High Street on December 5.
Speaking about the campaign, Elba said: “I can’t stay silent as more young lives are lost to these brutal and heartless crimes.
“Young people are our future, their potential deserves to be met, not taken away by violence.
“Parliament has repeatedly not given this issue the focus it deserves, and our political leaders need to prioritise it now.”
The actor and rapper is also releasing the song Knives Down to give voice to those most affected by knife crime and raise awareness of the issue through music.
The ‘Don’t Stop Your Future’ campaign plans to highlight the risk through billboards nationwide, including in Leeds, Manchester, and Sheffield.
Beyond the immediate ban, Elba demands increased funding for youth services and calls upon the Government to assemble a coalition to combat knife crime.
Patrick Green, chief executive of anti-knife crime charity the Ben Kinsella Trust, said: “Idris’s Don’t Stop Your Future campaign is a vital and much needed intervention to shine a spotlight on serious youth violence, which has been neglected for too long.”
Last August, the Home Office proposed tougher regulations on machetes and zombie knives, including banning intimidating designs, and increasing the maximum penalty for the importation, possession, and sale of these weapons to two years.
However, the passage of this legislation through Parliament has been slow, and several incidents have occurred since, prompting calls for more action.