In recent years Britain has lost too many teenagers to knife crime - both as victims and as offenders - this needs to stop!
What counts as knife crimeKnife crime is an expression covering any crime involving a knife, including:
- carrying or trying to buy a knife if you’re under 18
- threatening people with a knife
- carrying a knife that is banned
- a murder where the victim was stabbed with a knife
- a robbery or burglary where the thieves carried a knife as a weapon.
Carrying a knifeCrimes involving knives still make up a small percentage of the total crimes committed every year in the UK, but there have been national news stories where teenagers have been injured or killed by someone using a knife as a weapon.
Some people say they carry a knife to protect themselves or make themselves feel safer, even though they’d never think of using it. But research shows you’re more likely to become a victim of crime if you’re carrying a knife. It could even be used to harm you by someone else.
If you do want to know more about protecting yourself, there are much easier and safer ways to do it.
What are the knife crime laws in the UK?There are a number of different rules and laws which apply to knives.
The main things to be aware of are:
- it’s illegal to buy most types of knife if you’re under 18
- anyone over 16 can be charged and taken to court if they’re caught with an illegal knife – even if it’s the first time they’ve been stopped by the police
- if you're under 16 and are caught carrying a knife, you could receive a community sentence or a detention and training order
- you could be searched at any time if a police officer or teacher thinks you might be carrying a knife
- even if you’re carrying a knife you’re legally allowed to - like a penknife with a blade that’s shorter than three inches - it becomes illegal if you use it as a weapon to threaten or harm anyone.
The maximum sentence for anyone found guilty of carrying an illegal knife is now four years. If you injure someone or use a knife to commit a crime the penalties could be far worse.
What you can do to stop knife crimeIf you already have a knife and want to get rid of it, talk to an adult who you trust. They’ll be able to help you find the best way to dispose of it. You might also want to find out when your nearest police station runs a knife amnesty – this is where people can hand in unwanted knives without having to answer questions from the police.
If you have information about knife crime in your area and you're nervous about going to the police, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They’ll never ask for your name or try to trace the number you're calling from.
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