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Knife Crime - The UK Street Epidemic

Jul 17, 2008
The UK has seen a massive increase in publicised knife crimes in 2008, with so many newspaper front pages covered in stories about the latest victim of another vicious attack. On Sunday 13th July, a 22 year old man was stabbed at Scotland's T in the Park music festival in yet another high-profile case of British knife crime. As knife crime continues to attract more publicity in the UK, the public are looking to the government for answers and solutions.

While media attention has increased dramatically in the last couple of years, the actual figures show that knife crime has remained reasonably constant at around 7-8 per cent of all UK crime. However, these figures will do little to appease the victims of stabbings and knife attacks that regularly make the news headlines. So, what are the government's plans to reduce knife crime and what punishments will these offenders face?

In 2006, the Home Office introduced a number of measures in an attempt to reduce crime including an amnesty where nearly 100,000 knives were surrendered. Doubling the maximum penalty for knife possession, increasing the age limit for knife purchasing and a ban on owning samurai swords has done little to bring knife crime down. With a large number of front-page knife attacks including five fatalities in one weekend, it seems that the Home Office's efforts need to be revisited.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has put together a dossier of the government's proposals that attempt to address the problems of youth crime, and particularly knife crime. One of the more controversial solutions that the government will propose is that youths caught carrying knives will be forced to meet knife crime victims in an attempt to deter them. It is doubtful how effective these tactics will be on a youth that is intending to use a knife, however shocking the victim's injuries.

As well as this punishment, Gordon Brown's government plans to increase police visibility, community service orders and targetting 'problem families'. Brown appears to believe that young people need to be made aware of what is deemed unacceptable behaviour in an attempt to make the British streets safer for the majority. With increasing notoriety surrounding knife crimes, the media attention could be having a negative effect on both the general public and the youths in question.

Newspaper headlines emphasise the imminent danger that we face every day as we leave our houses, while young wannabe gang members try to 'fit in' by getting the latest fashion accessory - a knife. So where does reality end and paranoid hysteria begin? Knife crime is a serious issue in the UK, but it is not increasing as much as the media may have you believe. However, the problem is rife amongst the youth of today and this trend mayb continue to flourish with the suggested solutions of the current Labour government.
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