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What Does Knife Crime Mean To Modern Britain?

Dec 25, 2007
The press recently has been up in arms about the levels of knife crime present within the UK today. The fact of the matter is however, that nobody in the police or government truly understands the issue or has any idea of the real extent of the problem.

A recent amnesty that saw over 90,000 knives handed in at police stations is believed to have just scratched the surface of the problem. The crisis with knife crime is that it is a difficult problem to police, unlike gun crime; anyone of any age can pick up a knife and use it. Knives can be obtained from a variety of sources; it does not have to be machete to be lethal, a kitchen knife will do.

Ministers have called for the underlying reasons behind knife crime to be understood. Young people today are increasingly carrying knives through fear of being attacked. What must be realised is that for those who have been attacked in the past, carrying a knife is purely a protective measure.

Knife carrying is clearly just a step away from knife crime. What police forces and policy makers must do is get to the root of the issue; why are knives being are carried? More research is certainly needed as the usual factors of 'poverty' and 'gang culture' are touted as reasons. Seemingly these are just the easy answers.

With more than twenty incidents of knife crime in 2007 statisticians are unclear whether numbers are up or down. Home office figures say violent crime is down but the old adage that 'statistics can be used to prove anything; eighty percent of people know that,' makes many suspicious of home office releases. It seems that statistics make for good ammunition during Prime Minister's questions and that is all they are good for.

One solid policy is that the government will be banning the sale of Samurai swords from April next year. Apart from legitimate collectors the ban will be enforced in shops countrywide following a spate of violent attacks. Ministers have noted that it is the widely available low price swords which are bolstering knife crime figures and not the more expensive collector's items or antiques that are to blame.

Despite this attempt at defined policy the government is still being criticised for the lack of a coherent strategy to tackle knife crime. Figures show that knives are used in twenty percent of all muggings, a number that has almost doubled in two years.

Opposition politicians have drawn the conclusion that the rise in knife crime is a symptom of Britain's broken society. The break down of law and order and a rise in antisocial behaviour are cited as reasons although the opposition as well as the government are at a loss of how to cope with these sociological developments.

The breakdown of society has long been seen as a problem but despite efforts it still presents a major headache for policy think tanks. Studies have shown that amongst the industrialised nations, including the US, citizens in Britain are more likely to experience street robbery than anyone else.

Technological advances in home security and car manufacture are seen as reasons behind this, but government statistics still show a fall in the numbers of such incidents. The British public however are aware of what they see on their own streets and government attempts to dispel fears have failed.

Knife crime and more widely violent crime is a major concern for the citizens of modern Britain. The government needs to think hard and create a clear and purposeful response to this; if they do not, it could be a slippery slope to our streets being unsafe.

If government continues to produce statistics showing the opposite of what we see with our own eyes they will also lose what little respect they have left. One thing is certain, if the streets are not made safe, more radical elements will be able to work their way into power and put the current bi-polar political system under threat.
About the Author
Expert Shaun Parker is knowledgeable in social policy and understands government attempts to tackle knife crime in modern Britain. To find out more on this subject please visit http://www.knifecrimes.org/
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