So far in 2018 between January and April, there have been 1,296 stabbings in London. In February, more than 250 knives and swords were seized across London in one week, and 283 people were arrested, many of whom were teenagers. Met figures show that knife crime has increased by 16 per cent and excluding terror attacks, there has been a 12 per cent rise in murders.
What does this mean for the society we live in? And, will knife crime continue to rise or will it eventually plateau?
Perhaps the most unnerving part of the increased weapon carrying is that police have reported that most people holding blades are not linked to gangs. This ruins the idyllic image most people have in their heads; namely, that only those in gangs carry knives whilst all others are blissfully innocent. The reality that most weapon-holders are not gang members not only challenges the set stereotype, it is also a fact that happens to be particularly upsetting when you consider that young teenagers are likely to carry blades for protection from their peers.
Carrying weapons for protection produces what psychologists describe as the ‘weapon effect’. If you carry weapons you are more likely to have the aggressive urge to want to use them, simply because they are there. Research has proven that just the sight of a weapon can cause increased levels of aggression in angry and non-angry individuals.
The Office for National Statistics has reported that knife crime has hit a record high this year with 40,147 offences recorded by police, meaning that nearly five crimes take place every hour. At the same time, the Home Office reports that the number of police officers has fallen by 738 to 122,404 — the lowest since 1981. If crimes are rising and the number of police personnel dropping, how are citizens protected?
Is the Government itself distracted from their biggest responsibility of keeping people safe? Many people have stated that whilst money has been pulled out of the police force, more money is not the only solution. Rather than police officers attempting to save face on social media platforms by explaining their actions, perhaps the focus should be on saving citizens and protecting society.