No To Knives was launched in 2007. © NTK
Around 400 serious offences a week in the UK involve knives, reveals a new report from the Royal Armouries Museum. The report on tackling knife crime is part of the Armouries’ ongoing No to Knives campaign, launched in 2007.
It may seem strange that the museum that holds the country’s national collection of arms and armour is spearheading a campaign against weapons, but it is in a unique position to take on this role because of its unparalleled knowledge of weapons.
The new report highlights a number of issues on this serious problem, and shows that the number of people treated after suffering a knife assault rose by 30 per cent between 1997 and 2005. A separate study in 2007 clocked up 5,023 serious knife crimes committed over just three months.
“The findings of this report form part of our No To Knives campaign and set out the steps that need to be taken to address the serious issue of knives on our streets,” said Peter Armstrong, Director of the museum. “With the support of key partners, we look forward to putting these recommendations into action.”
The Armouries has identified four points that need to be acted upon to reduce knife crime. It has called for local and national partnerships and projects to take the campaign forward, along with evaluation of weapons awareness programmes aimed at young people. A national framework for knife statistics is also required, it says, as is work towards tackling the long-term issues behind thriving knife crime such as deprived environments.
You can make a pledge on the NTK website. © NTK
The No to Knives (NTK) campaign aims to get one million young people to pledge to not carry a knife, and hosts a ‘Tackling Knife Crime Forum’ which tries to find the truth behind the headlines.
Ann Oakes-Odger is a keen supporter of the campaign. Her son, Westley, was killed with a knife while withdrawing money from a cash machine.
“Having tragically lost a son through knife crime, I cannot stress enough the importance of this campaign to help raise awareness of the very real consequences of carrying bladed weapons,” she said. “In an ideal world no parent should have to go through what I did.”
NTK has already brought together different agencies, with huge support and a partnership with ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers), Operation Blunt and Safer Scotland. Free media support worth £2.5m has been secured from companies including Clear Channel, EMAP, Metro and MTV.