Legal duties to be extended to help combat knife crime?

Thursday 9th May 2019

Over recent months we have seen an increase in news reports of knife crime and homicides in England and Wales.

The Office of National Statistics reported that for the year ending March 2018 there were 285 knife and sharp-instrument homicides. This is the highest number of knife and sharp-instrument homicides since records began in 1946. It is expected that this figure will again rise with the increased number of knife crimes in recent months.

The Home Office has various plans to tackle the issue of knife crime, including the introduction of a legal duty being placed on doctors, teachers and other public sector workers. The duty upon them will be to identify and raise concerns about children at risk of being involved in knife crime. The recommended signs that should be considered by doctors, teachers and other public sector workers are suspicious injuries when attending A&E, and worrying behaviours at school or issues at home.

The idea of imposing a legal duty on police, health professionals, teachers and social services is to combine each sector and ensure all are working together.

A key aspect of preventing and stopping knife crime is early detection, interference and prevention. Despite funding being an issue with implementing the planned changes, something needs to be done otherwise figures will surely continue to rise.

Francesca Hodgetts, Trainee Solicitor

Waldrons Solicitors