Knife crime a public health, not policing, problem

Date: 
Friday, 27 April, 2018

Knife crime should be treated as a public health challenge, not a policing problem, our Director, Richard Garside, tells The Guardian newspaper today.

There is renewed concern that knife violence is on the rise following the publication of the latest crime data showing a 22 percent increase in knife crime and an 11 percent rise in gun crime.

Richard told the Guardian that while most people would never be a victim of knife violence, 'being young and male in some neighbourhoods in London and other cities is potentially lethal in itself'.

According to Richard:

What we’re seeing here is the product of a whole set of other social forces that are playing out in, at times, really lethal ways in some communities up and down the country. There’s a reason why this is a problem in Tottenham, Wood Green, and it’s not a problem in Richmond and South Kensington.

Our research for the Children's Commissioner for England on young people, knives and guns, found that the police were unlikely to have a major impact on the knife carrying and knife violence. Indeed, crackdowns and enforcement action are more likely to be part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Richard called for a rethink of responses to violence in society, with public health approaches, rather than policing, being at their heart.