All to often we read about the death or injury of children, killed by another child carrying a knife. Between April 2019 and March 2020 there were 46,000 knife crimes reported in England and Wales. That’s a massive amount – over 100 per day. These figures are the highest ever recorded.
As parents we are concerned for the safety of our children. So, how much of a risk do they face when they go to school or walk down the street? For this week’s survey we decided to find out. We asked a total of 1,935 children whether they have ever known any of their friends to carry a knife. The results are not as horrendous as you might expect, but they are not pleasant by any means.
The first thing to state, and the best part of our results, is that almost three-quarters of children (73%) have never known any of their friends to carry a knife, either in school or out. That is good news although 90% would have been better.
One-tenth of our respondents said that they have known a friend to carry a knife out of school. That figure sounds low but it is worse than you might think. Imagine a street with fifty children on it. According to our results, five of them could be armed - a frightening thought.
More shocking still, 17% of our respondents (that’s just over a sixth) said that they have friends who carry knives in school. That means that in an average class of thirty pupils there could be five knives!
With so many knives being carried by children the high rate of offences is not surprising. But the figures quoted at the beginning of this article include adult knife crime. How bad are the figures for knife crime involving children?
A report made in 2020, using figures obtained from Kent Police, showed that from April 2017 to December 2019 one hundred and nine children were investigated for carrying an offensive weapon in that county alone. Some of these, including a seven-year-old, had their weapon while in school.
The law, as it stands, means that children under the age of ten cannot be prosecuted because they are under the age of criminal responsibility. Thankfully younger children carrying knives is still rare. Of the one hundred and nine children investigated only three were below the age at which they could be prosecuted. The average age of the children involved was fourteen.
The numbers are frightening. In 2019 a total of twenty-four children were murdered by someone carrying a knife of other sharp instrument. That’s almost one a fortnight. With around 9 million children in the UK, 24 deaths is a very small number, but it is still far too many.
It seems that there is a disturbingly common knife culture amongst the younger generation. To save the lives of children a way must be found to make carrying knives as unacceptable as carrying guns. Not so simple when knives are so easy to come by. Over to you Boris.CHILDREN’S SURVEYS ON OVER 50 DIFFERENT SUBJECTS
Here are the results from the 1,935 children who answered our question "Have you ever known any of your friends to carry a knife?" The survey was conducted in the week ending 9th May 2021.
|Have you ever known any of your friends to carry a knife?||Percentage of Respondents|
|Yes, in school||17%|
|Yes, out of school||10%|