According to statistics issued by parliament (Read the report here) knife crime in the UK is at its highest level since records began. In the year ending March 2019 there were around 47,000 recorded offences involving a knife or sharp weapon and so far into 2020 we have personally noted reports of 10 knife related offences in just the first few days of the year.
And don’t think while reading this you’re excluded from risk, that perhaps these crimes are all isolated incidents revolving around gang culture or terrorist cells. Two of those recorded so far in 2020 were muggings of people walking dogs and one was a home raid burglary.
"A persistent and worrying concern, especially as it impacts particularly upon young people"
Even if you personally may avoid the pointy end of an attackers weapon, the growth in offences involving knives is, as the report states “a persistent and worrying concern, especially as it impacts particularly upon young people”. If you have children, nieces and nephews, their involvement in knife crime whether as a victim or an attacker can have life changing implications not just on them but on family and friends around them.
Weapons are so easily acquired, you may have noticed lately if you’ve been out shopping for new kitchen equipment that knives have more or less disappeared from the shelves. Many offences have been recorded with the weapon of choice being an everyday household kitchen knife but we’re also seeing rapid growth in assaults with machetes. We did our own research into ease of access to offensive weapons, not just bladed weapons but everything from baseball bats to extendable batons just like the police use, to disabling sprays which attack the eyes and respiratory system, knuckle dusters, weaponised jewellery and key rings and all are available with the click of a button for next day delivery.
A perfect example of that is this machete, 18” of blade with a sheath to attach it to a belt making it easy to conceal and carry and bought online from a UK supplier for just £6 - pocket money prices. The age challenge to buy this item goes only as far as clicking a box to confirm you are over 18. The item came through the letter box the very next day with no further age evidence required. That makes them available to anyone who wants one and indicates why we may be seeing such a sharp rise in their use in street crimes.
Here’s a selection of some of the other items which can be bought online for just a few pounds and be delivered without age or background checks.
Stay Safe - Tips from the experts
As knife related crime grows seemingly without police or government policy able to stop it, it’s all of our responsibility to keep ourselves safe, so just how do we do that? Here’s three tips from the experts:
Situational awareness can be as simple as locking your house or car doors when you are inside, to planning your route ahead to avoid isolation. If you are a runner or a dog walker stick to well lit and preferably busy areas. To put it simply, don’t put yourself in situations where you can be easily isolated and become prey to an attacker. Be aware of where you are, who is around you, don’t walk with headphones on, keep phones and jewellery safely out of sight and stay tuned in to your environment at all times.
In Glíma we teach techniques for defence against weapons including pointed and edged ones like knives, machetes and broken bottles and in every lesson without hesitation the first and consistent advice is always run. If you can escape, do so. If at any time you feel at risk or threatened, run. We don’t mean just at the point when someone confronts you or threatens you or worse, pulls out a weapon. Your in built sense of safety, your gut instinct is rarely - if ever - wrong, if you don’t feel safe get away and get to safety.
Not all but the majority of knife crime is committed by young offenders. If you have children it is in your and their best interest to make sure they don’t have access to weapons. As we established they are so easy to get hold of so check their rooms, check their bags, keep them safe.
Glíma for self defence has many practical techniques and tactics which are absolutely relevant on the street today. Find an accredited Glíma Instructor for regular training or attend a masterclass to learn some fundamental skills and learn to protect yourself, your family and your property.