Socialist Worker

Busting the myths of knife crime

Issue No. 2644

Cops want to use knife crime as an excuse to increase their powers

Cops want to use knife crime as an excuse to increase their powers (Pic: West Midlands Police)

Every death from a knife, gun or other assault is a tragedy. But it’s not true, as the Daily Express newspaper claimed on Tuesday, that there are “war zones on our streets”.

Hospital admissions for knife assault in England were lower last year than in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

The number of knife-related killings did rise last year to 285.

But there were, for example, 272 in 2007.

The focus on knife crime is being used to demand more police and more powers for the police. It doesn’t stop knife crime.

Over the last decade the average prison term for those jailed for carrying a knife has gone up from almost five months to well over eight months. Sentences for all kinds of violent crime have been getting tougher.

In the year ending September 2018, 36 percent of those caught carrying knives were jailed and a further 18 percent were given a suspended prison sentence.

The figures for 2008, when data was first compiled, were 18 percent and 8 percent respectively.

More cops, more repression, more stop and search and harsher sentencing will make people’s lives worse—and they will hit young black people particularly hard.

A good start would be to reverse all the cuts in education, benefits, housing, mental health services, youth services and everything else the Tories have wrecked.

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