I have been looking at knife crime UK statistics over the past few years and the results make for very scary reading. In the year ending March 2018, offences where a knife or sharp instrument were involved rose to 40,100 – the highest level in 8 years.
Even worse is the total number of murders where knives, sharp instruments or broken bottles were involved, a staggering 268. That is 1/3rd of all murders in the UK during 2017/18. Don’t forget this is murders, not including crimes involving knives etc.
Unsurprisingly, it is the large urban areas which see the highest levels of knife crime, with London holding the unenviable record as having the highest number of knife crimes in 2017/18 with 168 offences per 100,000 population.
Not only is the number of offences increasing, but the age of offenders is getting lower with children pre teen carrying knives. Why is this sad situation happening? What can be done about it?
Firstly punishments for offences involving knives are becoming more severe with the average custodial sentence rising from 2 months in 1995 to around 6 months in 2017. With knife crime increasing incrementally, I feel the punishments are not enough of a deterrent.
If I or a member of my family was a victim of knife crime, I would expect the offender to have a punishment that fitted the crime. The softly, softly, rehabilitation approach currently used is not working and is not seen as any kind of deterrent. As for prisoners demanding human rights, I believe they gave up any claim to them as soon as they committed the crime.
Punishment should be hard. Offenders should be made to work, doing manual tasks that benefit the community. I for one would feel a little more comfortable that some of my tax was being used to house offenders who were giving something back to society, rather than going towards equipping cells with tv, phones, electronic gaming etc. etc.
If I break my tv I have to save up to go and get another one. In prison, if an offender breaks their tv it is replaced immediately. I work hard to earn my wage and don’t want my tax paying for a criminal to have luxuries. Yes, it would cost to monitor and control work parties but it would save the councils money and provide more prison officer jobs.
The councils could pay a small amount to the prison service for the work they are doing to help offset the cost of the additional staff. This wouldn’t affect the staff levels at the councils as they are continually cutting back staff levels to save money and put jobs out to tender anyway.
The latest figures show the number of prisoners in the UK at 92,500 and the average cost in England and Wales of £22,933 per prisoner per year so the costs involved in running our prisons at the moment is not insignificant.
Then we get to the question of why more people are carrying knives? Looking at the younger people first, I have read some reports that those caught with knives blame boredom and lack of facilities such as youth clubs. I don’t get the connection myself.
Then there is the excuse of needing a knife for protection, I can see how a knife would be good protection but can’t see why a child would need protection in the first place. Protection from what?
In my opinion the main reason many youngsters carry a knife is for effect, to look cool to their peers, to get respect, to fit in, to show they are not afraid – in other words to make up for their inadequacies and inability to achieve those things any other way.
So in my eyes, youngsters carrying knives are saying they are not cool, have no respect, don’t fit in and are afraid to be themselves. Perhaps if we could convey this image to them, they may not be quite so keen to carry a knife.
As for adults carrying knives, sometimes it is for the same reasons as above but, more often than not it is for crime. There does appear to be a link (at least in my mind) between the increase in drug use and the increase in knife crime. Guns are very hard to get hold of in the UK in comparison to gaining access to a knife. Yet both are quite capable of killing.
As well as tackling the carrying of knives, the reason why people are carrying them must also be addressed. The police don’t have the resources at present to deal with the problem. With budgets being cut again and again this situation is not going to be resolved until more money is put into policing and more police are back out on the beat and showing a presence in our communities.
With more resources, the police would be able to keep chipping away at drug use and other crimes where knives are involved. This along with less luxurious prison stays and hard physical labour would slowly send the message that you are more likely to be caught and you are not going to enjoy your stay at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.
Well, I have had my little ramble, what do you think? I would love to read your views and solutions to knife crime UK. Please leave a comment and I will reply as soon as I can.
Thank you for reading. Justin – founder of twitway