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The Knife Crime Capital?

London is known as a fast-paced, exciting and dynamic city. Unfortunately, in recent years, it has also developed a reputation for knife crime. But exactly just how bad is knife crime in London? What counts as illegally carrying an offensive weapon? And what’s being done to fight it?


The Stats

Yesterday, the true scale of London knife crime was revealed. The figures show that 60 people were stabbed to death in 2016 and that 1,159 sustained serious injuries. In other words, three people were killed or seriously injured by knives every day in London last year.

This equates to a 17 percent rise in serious knife crime compared to 2015. At the same time, less serious knife crime – such as minor injuries or threatening behaviour – increased by 12 percent. Combined, these increases mean that 2016 saw the highest figures of knife crime in London in four years.


Knives and the Law

The legislation around carrying knives is straight-forward. The maximum sentence for an adult carrying a knife is four years in prison and an unlimited fine. If you’re convicted of carrying a knife more than once, you’ll get a prison sentence.


It is illegal to:

Sell a knife of any kind to a minor (someone under the age of 18)

Carry a knife in public without a good reason – unless it’s a knife with a folding blade smaller than three inches

Sell, buy or carry any type of banned knife

Use any sort of knife in a threatening way (including legal knives)

If you’re charged with carrying a knife illegally, a court will decide if you’ve got a good reason to carry it.


Some examples of good reasons to carry a knife include:

• Carrying knives which you use at work to and from your work premises

Carrying knives to a gallery or museum to be exhibited

Carrying a knife that is going to be used for theatre, television, historical re-enactment or religious purposes


Examples of banned knives include:

• Butterfly knives (or “balisongs”)

Disguised knives

Flick knives

Gravity knives

Stealth knives

And zombie knives


Many more weapons are banned in the UK. Contact your local police force to see whether a knife or weapon is banned.


The Battle Against Knife Crime

Though recent London-wide police operations have resulted in more than 1,400 weapons being removed from the streets, the fight against knives really starts at home. Police are encouraging parents to challenge their teenage sons and daughters if they believe that they may be carrying knives with them when they go out. Many schools, churches and community groups are also doing good work to raise consciousness of the dangers of knife crime.

However, there is no quick fix to the problem. In the meantime, use your common sense – don’t walk alone at night unless you know the area well, comply with your attacker if threatened and avoid dangerous areas. The boroughs with the highest rates of knife crime in 2016 were:

• Southwark – 1,258 incidents

Newham – 1,165 incidents

Lambeth – 1,156 incidents

Tower Hamlets – 1,087 incidents

Croydon – 1,026 incidents

If you’re concerned about someone who carries a knife, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Churchill Security is an experienced London security company. We work across sectors and deploy only the most highly trained London security guards to keep our partners’ people, premises and assets safe.

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