Knife crime is a growing problem within the UK and there is no discrimination when it comes to its victims, although a large percentage of activity seems to be aimed at the younger community and the disadvantaged.
A variety of solutions are being implemented in order to tackle this spiralling problem, but with a varying degree of success. However, knife crime has reached an eight-year high, with over 40,000 selected offences being recorded by the police, involving a knife or sharp instrument, within England and Wales during 2018. Of these figures, 285 deaths were recorded during the same period of which accounted to an increase of over 33% of all homicides involving knives, sharp objects or broken bottles compared to this time the previous year.
The fatal number of stabbings last year was the highest since records began in 1946 with the ONS reporting that 1 in 4 of these victims were men between the age of 18 and 24. Compared to the reported 29 deaths by shooting, the "knife carrying culture" is becoming a way of life for the youngsters and it is becoming the greatest law enforcement challenge that faces the police, communities and families across the UK.
Ministers have blamed that this growing epidemic is largely associated to disputes between rival gangs. There are several statistical reports available that provide various data across this issue, one being the "police reported” incidents. However, another report that provides another statistical measure is the hospital admissions and cases involving knife crime, which highlighted over 5,055 cases last year alone.
There have been some concerns that a recent statement by the government placed a direct correlation between knife crime and the number of available and visible police offices that were available on the streets of our towns and cities. While some welcomed the statement, others challenged the police authorities’ approach to "stop and search " tactics and perceived targeting of certain groups. The government statement has since been broadened to include other factors relating to the growing knife issues within our communities.
Handguns and especially knives are becoming the choice weapons of the youngsters of today because of their availability, ease of concealment and ease of use. Empathy and discussions alone won’t solve this issue. There is a lot of constructive work ongoing with groups within our communities that are trying to re-address the imbalance of knowledge and understanding of knife crime and its impact on families and communities. Education and support must be made available to all youngsters in an attempt to change a mindset, that it's "not cool to carry", and to highlight and demonstrate the devastating impact knife crime has on individuals, families and communities alike.
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