Stop and search is the key to tackling a knife crime epidemic in the capital according to one Merton councillor.

On Wednesday night, Councillor David Dean told a full council meeting about his own experiences of growing up on the St Helier Estate on the border of Morden and Carshalton.

Now 56, Mr Dean lived on the estate in the 1970s and 1980s and thinks that things have not got better for working class young men since then.

He was putting forward a motion to call for knife surrender bins in the borough.

The Conservative councillor said: “When I was growing up I lived next to a drug dealer and opposite a bank robber who lived next to an enforcer.

“And unfortunately every now and then they would give me their advice on different ways they would have me killed and all the teenagers lived in absolute fear of these three individuals.

“I think people worry their whole teenage lives about being stabbed and about being murdered. They go to bed at night deeply concerned about what might happen to them tomorrow.”

Mr Dean said he thinks that police presence should be increased in communities, like the estate he grew up on.

The Wimbledon ward councillor added: “People used to say to me you used to run around a lot, I was scared I used to run away a lot. I remember being collared by a drug dealer to tell me how he would treat people, everyone had the same fears.

“You couldn’t go to the police because you were so scared of what was going to happen. So the  police have to go into these communities

“It’s something I fundamentally disagree with when I hear we shouldn’t be imposing police on these people – we should be."

He described knife crime as a viscous cycle with people carrying weapons for protection out of fear of being attacked.

Mr Dean says that he left the estate aged 21 when he went to university, he has since had a successful career in marketing.

“The only way to get those knives off them is to be stopped and searched," he added.

“Everyone I knew was stopped and searched, I hated the fact I was stopped and searched sometimes, but it is only when you get past the teenage years that you realise that is good for you.

“If we can get those knives off the streets then people aren’t going to get stabbed.

"Too many times we talk about bureaucratic things at this council, none of this makes any difference to a child getting stabbed and murdered in the working class areas of London.”

Mr Dean put forward a motion calling on knife bins to be installed at Mitcham and Wimbledon police stations.

An amended motion calling on the Met Police to consider knife surrender bins at locations around the borough, not in police stations, was backed unanimously by the council.

After the meeting Mr Dean said: “There’s the point I am trying to make, last night everything was about middle class issues, for me the biggest hate crime is knife crime.

“Verbally criticising is one thing, I understand, but those people on those estates feel that they have no hope and I don’t feel anybody at the council understands the lack of hope on housing estates.

“The thing is those kids on those estates had the brains they just didn’t have the hope and it is so painful.

Overall Merton is one of London’s safest boroughs.

And the borough is the sixth least deprived borough in London but there are inequalities and extremes there still.

The east of the borough, including Mitcham and Morden are amongst the 15% most income-deprived in the country while more affluent wards in the west, like Wimbledon, are among the top 5% most affluent.