Stabbing epidemic

or stabbing as normal?

Mr Cameron says knife crime is now a problem of "epidemic proportions" in the UK and that "Anyone caught carrying a knife without a good excuse should expect to be sent to prison." Yet, according to Home Office figures, almost three times as many people prosecuted for carrying a knife went to prison in 2006, compared with 1996 and the average sentence length has increased by almost a third over the same period. In addition murders involving knives and other sharp implements remain relatively stable. This is not to mention that there is no room in our jails.

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies shows that in 1995, 243 out of 663 homicides were committed using a sharp instrument. Ten years later in 2005/2006, the numbers were 212 out of 765. Not since 1999-­2000 has the number of people killed in this manner been so few, and the proportion has not been so low since 1994 when data became available. See here.

The figures regarding stab wounding is contradictory. The Home Office stating that they have halved since 1995 and hospitals reporting increases. No one appears to keep precise figures - this despite all the thousands of man hours our police and medical staff spend filling in forms. Similarly there appear to be no statistics regarding nationality or immigration status of any of the criminals and their victims. This is surely of some relevance?
scary scary
Mr Cameron claims we have a knife epidemic, is this simply because the media imply that we have?

Is media hysteria a sound basis for yet more legislation and police initiatives which may achieve nothing? Remember the Dangerous Dogs' Act? Jack Straw has admitted that new rules allowing knife offenders to be let off with a fine will come into force next month, despite promises of tougher action.

Evening Standard tells us that the Met are braced for a summer of violence as knife crime officers warn that school holidays could kickstart a surge in bloodshed at top London events. A new 75-strong team, dedicated to stamping out stabbings, will launch an unprecedented crackdown on people carrying knives and target trigger events in London's summer calendar. The new crack team will use intelligence-based leads to target key problem areas, using undercover officers and high visibility patrols.

I do hope that these 75 officers haven't been taken off terrorist duties and, in months to come, feel that they have been passed over for promotion.

However, the Evening Standard tells us that the police are summoned to schools in London more than 64 times a day.

In the past year, officers have responded to 12,300 reported offences in and around school grounds - a vast percentage committed by children under 16. The incidents include 2,828 complaints of violence, 5,732 of theft and 1,063 of criminal damage, including arson.

Officers have also investigated 113 children accused of possessing drugs and drug trafficking; 132 found to be carrying offensive weapons; and 243 accused of committing a sexual offence, 14 of rape.

There is one hell of a problem and it goes way beyond carrying a knife.