Knife crime rose by 22% in England and Wales in 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). There is nothing new about knife crime: sharp objects, blades and knives have been used as weapons for thousands of years.
There were 37,443 offences in the 12 months ending in September 2017, a 21% increase on the previous year and the highest number since 2011, the earliest point for which comparable data is available. Out of the 44 police forces, 38 recorded a rise in knife crime, with the Metropolitan Police showing the biggest increase. Police figures are prone to changes in counting rules and methods, but data for NHS hospitals in England over a similar period showed a 7% increase in admissions for assault by a sharp object, leading the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to conclude there had been a “real change” to the downward trend in knife crime.
The Facts in numbers:
- Knife crime affects many young people.
- It is a persistent and worrying concern for parents, police and the public.
- The most common age to start carrying a knife is 14-17 years old.
- Possession of an offensive weapon on school premises is punishable by up to four years’ imprisonment and a fine.
- Most fatal stabbings involve a domestic kitchen knife.
- Over 80% of stab victims are male.
- Around half of attackers are drunk or under the influence of drugs when an attack takes place.
- Over 70% of stab victims know their attackers.
- Knives are used in 4 out of 10 murders involving young people in the UK.
- A third of children in the UK have been affected by gun and knife crime.
- Gang members are at the highest risk of being victims of crime.
- Possession of a knife carries a prison sentence of up to 4 years even if it’s not used.
- If you are caught with a knife it doesn’t matter if it was for your own protection or you were carrying it for someone else – you will be arrested and prosecuted. Self-protection is not a reasonable excuse for carrying an offensive weapon.
- The legal definition of an offensive weapon includes anything intended to be used to harm another person, like a sharpened comb. It’s also illegal to carry a ‘disguised knife’ – anything with a concealed blade or sharp point that’s made to look like an everyday object (like a pen, cigarette lighter or lipstick).
- Police can – and do – stop and search anyone they think is carrying a weapon.
- If you stab somebody and they die, you’ll face a life sentence and serve a minimum of 25 years.
- If you have a criminal record you might not be accepted into a college or university, get a job, or travel to some countries, like the USA, Canada or Australia.
Knife crime is not just an issue in London. Liverpool has its own problem:
Don’t be in the dark about knife crime!
Below is where you’ll learn the facts about knife crime in black and white. You’ll hear from someone who knows all the right answers for all the wrong reasons and find out just how sharp you are on knife crime. Watch, then share with others so they aren’t left in the dark either.
What are the consequences of carrying a knife?
What happens if you get caught with a knife?
What happens if you use a knife?