From the May 2017 print issue of Professional Security magazine, Steve Collins of PS5.
Over the past four decades I have written a huge amount of material about weapons related crime, and in particular, knife crime. Whether the Government likes to admit it or not, this country is in the grip of a knife crime epidemic, and the public’s perception is that such crime is out of control. This is a statement of fact, and anyone who has read any of my work, listened to any of my lectures or attended one of my training courses will know that I forewarned the arrival of this problem years ago. We should be mortally embarrassed that in the 21st century we have allowed this horrendous decline in values to ravage our streets and terrorise our citizens.
All time high
The fact is that the increase in weapons related crime, and especially knife crime, is at an all time high, and the latest UK Ministry of Justice official figures show the number of people caught carrying knives in England and Wales has risen to its highest level in six years. UK courts dealt with more than 19,000 knife possession cases last year alone – that is an average of 365 per day. This is the highest number since 2011. A record number of 41 per cent of adult offenders were jailed, and 11pc of ten to 17 year olds were sent to prison for knife offences, and in London, knife crimes are at their highest level since 2008.
Of course, there are those who say it’s just ‘scare mongering’ and it’s very unlikely that you will ever be attacked by someone with a knife. However, this is no consolation to any of the thousands of innocent victims that end up lying on a hospital operating table or worse, a mortuary slab with a knife stuck in their guts. Truth is, the only ones that think and say ‘don’t worry it’s unlikely to happen’ are those that have never been on the wrong side of a knife attack. Contrary to what the police and government tell us, there is, and always has been, a knife culture in this country. Knife crime is now four times more prevalent than gun crime. Hospitals receive hundreds of victims of knife attacks every month, with figures of 55pc of murders attributable to knife wounds.
Tributes have been pouring in from colleagues, friends and MPs to honour the 48-year-old married father and brave Met police officer, Keith Palmer, who was murdered while confronting a knife-wielding terrorist intent on unleashing carnage in Westminster, on March 22. His funeral was at Southwark Cathedral last month. However, the sad facts are that PC Palmer will have received little to no training whatsoever in how to react effectively against a full-blown knife attack, thus making the tragic outcome a foregone conclusion. I have been banging on about the lack of appropriate training for decades. I have, on a couple of occasions, had the honour of being asked to speak at the Police Federation conference, talking on weapons awareness and officer safety. A senior police officer attending stated ‘Every officer in the UK should have the training Mr Collins has demonstrated to us today’. Has it happened? Well of course not, because funerals are cheaper than training.
Some of you may have read my theories on ‘educate the victim’ and by victim I mean you and me. We are all victimised because of the total lack of training and education on the subject of knife attacks. If a tiny fraction of the time and funds that are being poured into trying to re-educate the perpetrators of knife crime were diverted into educating the victims, our streets would be much safer places to be. We all face the inherent dangers of a crisis that is getting out of control. We have no time to waste. No time for another government study group to come up with some new laws, and no time to call 999 and wait for the police to come to the rescue. It’s simple, if you carry a knife you are a potential murderer. Further, I believe if you carry a disguised or stealth knife the intent to murder is premeditated.