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Monday, March 24, 2008

State of Knife Crime in the UK

With the Government announcing a 'Violent Crime Action Plan' (view it by clicking here), I have a genuine belief that real progress could now be made in 2008 or thereabouts. Maybe I'm too optimistic, but this must be an appropriate direction. I'm not saying the problems will be solved, but there could be reasonable progress.

That said, I still think it's important to highlight the current state of knife crime in the UK, as I said I'd do.

I came across a useful website that covers some of this -

As well as containing details of knife crime (see rest of this post), you may find it useful and helpful to check the following information on that website:

Statistics - about the sources

Statistics - some specifics / the numbers

Who is at risk

Public perceptions

Tackling the problem - current initiatives / and some suggestions

Information sources / interpretation

Metal Detectors / Body Scanners and other technology aids

Tips on knife safety

Legislation relating to Weapons / Knives / etc

It seems that hardly a week has gone by without at least one high profile stabbing being reported in the press or on the national news.

Figures obtained under the freedom of information act show that there is a knife crime committed in the UK every 24 minutes! In fact the figures show that there can be 5,500 serious knife crimes in the UK in just 3 months.

In March 2007, following the fatal stabbing of Adam Regis (and four other fatal stabbings within the previous week), the then Home Secretary John Reid finally admitted that we don't know enough about knife crime, and ordered police forces to start collecting statistics on the use of knives in crime, as the Government does not know enough about the scale of knife violence!

This must be viewed as a positive step (if somewhat late in the day), as current statistics are simply unreliable.

As an example, based on one survey, a worst case projection indicates that 60,000 young people (predominantly male) may be stabbed and injured in the UK each year, whilst a rather more conservative estimate could be 22,000.

The discrepancy in the two figures should not really be surprising as the figures were derived from the questioning of around 600 under 25 year olds, who were asked whether they had been knifed or stabbed, and then extrapolated to provide a "National Statistic" (Governments Offending, Crime and Justice Survey - OCJS).

Whatever the actual numbers, it is clear that the persons most likely to be at risk from knife violence are; young, black or Asian males, living in high crime inner city areas, ...but as is all too evident from the events of the last year, young or old, ordinary citizens, solicitors, police officers, etc., no one is exempt!

Few would argue that anyone has a need to carry on the streets of Britain, the sort of lethal blades you can see collected in amnesties across the country, and it's illegal to do so (generally speaking, the carrying of any knife other than a folding pocket knife with a blade length of less than 3" is illegal in the UK).

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