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Knife Crime Prevention

Knife Crime Prevention

By Myrah Yaseen

Knife crime is defined as an offence involving any sharp object that is possessed or used. Offences include: 

  • Trying to buy a knife under the age of 18 
  • Carrying a knife 
  • Owning a banned knife 
  • A robbery where a knife was carried
  • Threatening someone with a knife 
  • Intent to injure/kill someone with a knife 
  • Injuring/killing someone with a knife 

From July 2022-23, there has been a recorded 50,823 offences involving knives, the highest statistic being from the North West with 6008 recorded incidents. 10 - 17 year olds represent roughly 20% of those cautioned/convicted of knife offences. 

 

Knives are carried for multiple reasons such as self protection, to instil fear/out of fear, gang culture and exploitation from drug dealers, family, intention to harm, to be respected etc. There has been a rapid increase of knife carrying in young people for these very reasons within the past few years. I asked a police officer within the local area why she thinks there is an increase in carrying knives, “There appears to be some sort of culture with carrying knives, it is often seen as a badge of honour or respect within the youth community. Youths who do carry knives/bladed weapons are happy to share this fact to brag or intimidate, which may lead to more fear in young people and a need for protection showing the knock on effect that carrying a knife has on other youths. They then feel like they also need to carry a knife to protect themselves against others with knives”. 

 

If caught carrying a knife, community service, unlimited fines and 6 months to 4 years imprisonment can be given as punishment even if it is a first time offence. If a knife is used to threaten or harm someone the penalty increases up to life imprisonment if a murder is committed. If someone is injured with a knife while another is present, they can both be prosecuted via “joint enterprise”. 

 

Tackling knife crime has become a government priority due its growing increase. On a national level, the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 was introduced to help prevent knife crime. Within the Act, Knife Crime Prevention Orders (KCPO’s) were introduced allowing the police and courts to divert people away from knife crime by working with young people who may carry knives or are at risk of carrying knives; this can be through interventions, curfews/restrictions, education etc. On a more local level, Greater Manchester Police introduced Operation Sycamore to prevent violent crimes including knife crime by disrupting the supply of knives, raising awareness of knife crime and providing young people with positive alternatives. Officers regularly educate pupils in schools on knife crime and its dangers as part of this program. Greater Manchester police also established “forever amnesty” at the beginning of 2020 where knives can be anonymously disposed of without consequences or giving any personal details. The locations are shown in the image below. 


 

Upon asking a police officer what she believed would help to tackle knife crime, she stated “I believe the way to combat this is to increase youth services across the borough, focusing on projects that build up young people’s confidence in the community, raising aspirations and expectations, and reducing violence. We have also increased our stop and search powers where officers can search individuals under sec 1 of pace. There has also been an increase in community involvement and engagement through school visits and high visibility patrols around the local area”. 

 

It is vital that knife crime is prevented and stopped to ensure the safety of everyone, knife crime has immense damage on relationships and communities that can be prevented.

 

Any advice or help regarding knife crime can be found: https://www.met.police.uk/StopKnifeCrime