UK: Knife Crime Near Decade High As Fatal Stabbing Rate Drops

Knife crimes in the UK have hit a nine-year high, according to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), which reports that in the first three months of 2019, more than 5,759 offenses were processed through the criminal justice system vs. 5,285 in the same period last year. 

About three quarters of those dealt with in the year to March were first-time offenders, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said. Almost two thirds of cases did not result in an immediate prison sentence but for those jailed the average term was 7.9 months, up from 7.1 months the previous year. -The Times

About 20% of those dealt with by the police were aged 10 to 17, while the number of juvenile offenders given warnings or convicted of possessing a knife increases by almost 50% between March 2015 and March 2019, from 3,800 to 5,600. 

According to the new figures, police also dealt with 22,000 cases of people either possessing or making threats with a knife in the first three months of the year, roughly a 33% rise over the same period in 2018. 

Fatal stabbings down slightly

If there's a silver lining to the UK stabfest, it's that the number of fatal stabbings as of May 14, 2019 (100) puts the country on track for a slightly lower rate than 2018 - which was the deadliest since records began in 1946, according to the BBC

There has been one fatal stabbing every 1.45 days so far this year in England and Wales. If killings continued at that rate for the rest of the year, the total would be slightly lower than the 285 stabbing deaths recorded in 2017-18.

Thirty of the fatal stabbings were in London, 10 in Greater Manchester and eight in the West Midlands. -BBC (May 17)

According to Reform think tank director Charlotte Pickles, the figures suggest that more jail time isn't the answer to reducing knife crime. "You cannot arrest your way out of this," she told The Times, adding that the UK must address the root causes of poverty, mental health, drugs and school exclusion first

Javed Khan, chief executive of Barnardo’s, said: “Knife crime is a symptom of a much bigger problem. When young people feel there is little or no possibility of a positive future . . . they are vulnerable to exploitation and criminality.” The MoJ figures show that although the 22,000 total is an increase on five years ago, it is lower than the 28,000 recorded a decade ago. -The Times

Will the UK adopt much-ridiculed MP Scott Mann's idea to embed GPS trackers in knife handles and track them in a database?