Intended for healthcare professionals


Reducing knife crime

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 26 May 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1221
  1. Emma Hern (, specialist registrar in emergency medicine,
  2. Will Glazebrook, specialist registrar in emergency medicine,
  3. Mike Beckett, consultant in emergency medicine
  1. West Middlesex University Hospital, London TW7 6AF

    We need to ban the sale of long pointed kitchen knives

    “Britain in the grip of knives terror—third of murder victims are now stabbed to death.” Daily Express, 31 January 2005

    “Stabbing rampage kills one, injures five—a large kitchen knife was found.” Independent, 24 December 2004

    Violent crime in the United Kingdom is increasing; figures from London show a 17.9% increase from 2003 to 2004,1 and one easily accessible weapon used in many incidents is the kitchen knife. Unfortunately, no data seem to have been collected to indicate how often kitchen knives are used in stabbings, but our own experience and that of police officers and pathologists we have spoken to indicates that they are used in at least half of all cases. UK government statistics show that 24% of 16 year old boys report carrying knives or other weapons and 19% admitting attacking someone with the intent to harm.2 Although other weapons—such as baseball bats, screwdrivers, and chains—are also carried, by far the most common weapons are knives.3 …

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