BORIS Johnson has admitted successive governments have failed to learn the lessons from Damilola Taylor’s death.

Today, the PM writes for The Sun to mark what would have been Damilola’s 31st birthday.

Boris Johnson admits Britain has failed to stamp out knife crime 20 years after Damilola Taylor's …

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The PM is on a mission to put a stop to knife crime on Britain’s streetsCredit: PA:Press Association
Boris Johnson admits Britain has failed to stamp out knife crime 20 years after Damilola Taylor's …

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Today marks what would have been Damilola’s 31st birthdayCredit: Getty Images – Getty

And he has thrown his weight behind the campaign to etch December 7 into the calendar as a National Day Of Hope.

Today is the culmination of the Hope 2020 campaign — which has pioneered efforts to offer more support and early intervention to help vulnerable youngsters, 20 years after the Nigeria-born schoolboy, ten, was stabbed to death in Peckham, South East London.

Mr Johnson says London’s streets are still riven with knife crime, fuelled by gangs that “compel young boys and girls to carry drugs and risk their lives”.

Damilola Taylor wanted to be a doctor and, had he lived, I have no doubt he would have fulfilled his ambition.

The PM says the Government’s police recruitment drive, the war against county lines gangs and greater stop and search powers are turning the tide.

But he says a tough approach is not enough as he salutes Damilola’s dad Richard for giving youngsters an alternative to a life of crime through his relentless campaigning.

Boris Johnson admits Britain has failed to stamp out knife crime 20 years after Damilola Taylor's …

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The PM has admitted successive governments have failed to learn the lessons from Damilola Taylor’s deathCredit: Reuters
Boris Johnson admits Britain has failed to stamp out knife crime 20 years after Damilola Taylor's …

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The PM has praised Damilola’s dad Richard for giving youngsters an alternative to a life of crime through his relentless campaigningCredit: Rex Features

Mr Johnson says: “There is another path for them.

“Damilola Taylor wanted to be a doctor and, had he lived, I have no doubt he would have fulfilled his ambition.

“We need to give all our kids the same sense of ambition, of purpose, of hope.”

‘Let’s honour the memory of Damilola Taylor on what would have been his 31st birthday’

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IT’S been 20 years since the senseless death of Damilola Taylor — and I wish I could pretend that no such tragedy could ever happen again.

I wish I could pretend that we had driven knife crime off the streets of London and other major cities. I wish we had totally defeated the gangs that compel young boys and girls to carry drugs and risk their lives.

We are putting more police out on the streets — 6,000 already of the 20,000 we have promised. We are backing them with greater powers of stop and search.

We have launched a massive programme to roll up the county lines gangs — not just in the cities but in towns across the country. We are making progress — sometimes big progress.

But you can’t beat this problem just by locking people up. We need to change the lives of the young people who are being sucked into this world and who become the victims of this culture of violence.

There is another path for them. Damilola Taylor wanted to be a doctor and, had he lived, I have no doubt he would have fulfilled his ambition.

We need to give all our kids the same sense of ambition, of purpose, of hope. That is why I have for so long supported the campaigns of Richard Taylor, Damilola’s father, to change the lives of kids growing up in this country.

I salute the Taylor family, the Damilola Taylor Trust and Hope collective, for all the work they do.

Let’s honour the memory of Damilola Taylor on what would have been his 31st birthday — and let’s make today a National Day of Hope.

Ricky and Danny Preddie found guilty of murder in Damilola Taylor trial

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