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http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/330/7502/1221

Reducing knife crime
We need to ban the sale of long pointed kitchen knives

"Britain in the grip of knives terror—third of murder victims are now stabbed to death." Daily Express, 31 January 2005

"Stabbing rampage kills one, injures five—a large kitchen knife was found." Independent, 24 December 2004

Violent crime in the United Kingdom is increasing; figures from London show a 17.9% increase from 2003 to 2004,1 and one easily accessible weapon used in many incidents is the kitchen knife. Unfortunately, no data seem to have been collected to indicate how often kitchen knives are used in stabbings, but our own experience and that of police officers and pathologists we have spoken to indicates that they are used in at least half of all cases. UK government statistics show that 24% of 16 year old boys report carrying knives or other weapons and 19% admitting attacking someone with the intent to harm.2 Although other weapons—such as baseball bats, screwdrivers, and chains—are also carried, by far the most common weapons are knives.3 In the United Kingdom in the first two weeks of 2005 alone, 15 murders were attributed to stabbings and 16 other non-fatal attacks.4

To tackle this increasing problem, various measures are being considered by the government, particularly targeting the adolescent age group. These include raising the minimum age for purchasing a knife from 16 to 18 years and allowing head teachers the power to search pupils for knives.5 However, not all crimes are committed with newly purchased knives, and every household and home economics department in schools contains a plethora of readily available weapons. The modern stainless steel kitchen knife has a high quality blade that makes it unnecessary to look further for another lethal weapon.

Most domestic kitchen knives are based on two designs, the dagger variety with a pointed tip—for example, vegetable knife or carving knife—and the blunt round nose variety—for example, bread knife. When using a knife to harm, a blunt nosed knife is unlikely to cause serious injury, as penetrating clothing and skin is difficult with it. Similarly an assault with a knife with a short blade such as a craft knife may cause a dramatic superficial wound but is unlikely to reach deep structures and cause death. A dagger type knife, however, can penetrate deeply. Once resistance from clothing and skin is overcome, little extra force is required to injure vital organs, increasing the chance of a fatality (likened to cutting into a ripe melon).6

As knives are so readily available, does a culinary reason exist for so many domestic knives to be of the dagger variety, or are we just sticking to tradition? Knives as we recognise them were made first from copper and bronze between 3000 and 700 bc, and some are very similar in design to those used today. Personal eating knives were first used in Britain in the 14th century and became commonplace during the 1800s when manufacturing processes improved.7

Knives were used to spear meat, lifting it from plate to mouth, so pointed tips were vital for this function. Also, with repeated sharpening of a flat blade, a pointed tip inevitably develops. However, now domestic knives do not need sharpening, and numerous other kitchen utensils can be used to spear food. The current practice of eating with forks and blunt ended table knives was introduced in the 18th century to reduce the injuries resulting from arguments in public eating houses. In 1669, King Louis XIV of France noted the association between pointed domestic knives and violence and passed a law demanding that the tips of all table and street knives be ground smooth.8 Today many households have a block of kitchen knives of which several will be of the long pointed variety.

Perhaps the pointed kitchen knife has a culinary purpose that we have failed to appreciate? We contacted 10 chefs in the UK who are well known from their media activities and chefs working in the kitchens of five leading London restaurants. Some commented that a point is useful in the fine preparation of some meat and vegetables, but that this could be done with a short pointed knife (less than 5 cm in length). None gave a reason why the long pointed knife was essential. Domestic knife manufacturers (Harrison-Fisher Knife Company, England, personal communication, 2005) admit that their designs are based on traditional shapes and could give no functional reason why long pointed knives are needed. The average life of a kitchen knife is estimated to be about 10 years.

Many assaults are impulsive, often triggered by alcohol or misuse of other drugs, and the long pointed kitchen knife is an easily available potentially lethal weapon particularly in the domestic setting. Government action to ban the sale of such knives would drastically reduce their availability over the course of a few years. In addition, such legislation would make it harder to justify carrying such knives and prosecution easier.

The Home Office is looking for ways to reduce knife crime. We suggest that banning the sale of long pointed knives is a sensible and practical measure that would have this effect.

Emma Hern, specialist registrar in emergency medicine, Will Glazebrook, specialist registrar in emergency medicine Mike Beckett, consultant in emergency medicine

West Middlesex University Hospital, London TW7 6AF ([email protected])

Competing interests: None declared.

References

1. Metropolitan Police Service. Latest crime figures for London. www.met.police.uk/crimefigures/(accessed 20 Jan 2005).
2. Beinart S, Anderson B, Lee S, Utting D: Youth at risk? A national survey of risk factors, protective factors and problem behaviour among young people in England, Scotland and Wales. London, Communities that Care, 2002, JRF Findings 432.
3. Townsend M, Barnett A. Children of five who carry knives in class. Observer 2003, November 23. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_n...1091441,00.html (accessed 21 Apr 2005)
4. BBC News Online (manual search). http://newssearch.bbc.co.uk/cgibin/...ews&q=stabbings (accessed 20 Jan 2005).
5. Home Office. Off the streets and out of schools: Home Secretary's fight against knives. Press Release 389/2004. 15 December 2004. www.homeoffice.gov.uk/n_story.asp?item_id=1188 (accessed 30 Mar 2005).
6. Sadler D. Injuries of medico-legal importance. Lecture notes for LLB in Forensic Medicine, University of Dundee. http://www.Dundee.ac.uk/forensicmed...dsdws.htm#stabs (accessed 20 Jan 05).
7. The Sheffield cutlery industry. http://freespace.virgin.net/a.data/...f%20Cutlery.htm (accessed 20 Jan 2005).
8. Knives. http://www.eat-online.net/english/e...sils/knives.htm (accessed 20 Jan 2005).
 

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re

Stupid isn't it.

Problem with our government these days, is that Labour are constantly trying to bring in new (pointless) laws. Instead of acting as the government should, by listening to the will of constituents and acting on it democraticaly, the government keeps on banning stuff at random rather than solving the issue of the problem. Of course that doesn't stop criminals, it only limits the freedoms of the law obiding public. They are also trying to bring in ID cards, something they never said they would in their recent election campaign.

A revolution now and then is a healthy thing...
 

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Yimmy: A revolution now and then is a healthy thing...
We already took care of that for you, all you have to do is buy the plane tickets...... :p

"On another note- I think we should cover an even apparently dangerous everyday tools/items in bubblewrap, thus forever stopping all violet crime. For example- eating: since the fork, knife, and chopsticks have all been determined to be 'a danger to public safety' they will all be melted down and used in the construction of sporks that will be passed out to the public. Note- since the tip of the sporks are pointed, they have been ground off for your protection, and also, the chopsticks werent really usefull in the construction of the new sporks.......so we gave them to green peace to fund their new housing communities." (note, these brief comments were quoted from the book "APK's new world order" Vol. 1, chapter 5, section C-1, paragraph 258.)
 

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APK-223 said:
We already took care of that for you, all you have to do is buy the plane tickets...... :p
:lol: LLLOOOLLL :lol:
 

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caver101 said:
Quite possibly the best thing I have heard Yimmy say!! Good going Yimmy!! You are welcome to shoot my rifles any time.
+1
 

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I also heard that the British government wants to pass a law concerning water heaters.

They want to protect people from getting burned with hot water. Apparently, the English are not smart enough to know when their bath water is too hot.

So, the government will make a law making it compulsory to install automatic temperature limiting water heaters. That way folks will not get scalded...

Mad
 

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eh........we allready have that here in the US. In GA the plumbers are not allowed to remove the scald guards on tub fixtures, the owner has to do it. I think it is state code here.
 

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caver101 said:
eh........we allready have that here in the US. In GA the plumbers are not allowed to remove the scald guards on tub fixtures, the owner has to do it. I think it is state code here.
That's one of the seven building/housing codes Georgia has: I've never found a state so easy to get away with crooked real estate projects--ain't that right Spade?

Scatch Maroo
 

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amen to that brother.
 

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madgunsmith said:
I also heard that the British government wants to pass a law concerning water heaters.

They want to protect people from getting burned with hot water. Apparently, the English are not smart enough to know when their bath water is too hot.

So, the government will make a law making it compulsory to install automatic temperature limiting water heaters. That way folks will not get scalded...

Mad
Never heard of that one.
 

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Scatch Maroo said:
caver101 said:
eh........we allready have that here in the US. In GA the plumbers are not allowed to remove the scald guards on tub fixtures, the owner has to do it. I think it is state code here.
That's one of the seven building/housing codes Georgia has: I've never found a state so easy to get away with crooked real estate projects--ain't that right Spade?

Scatch Maroo
I have done several small projects on my own and the co I work for has 13 subdivisions going right now. If it is any worse in other states a developer could not make it. Have you ever had to deal with the EPD (state version of the EPA)? What is so bad about GA?

Whats wrong Spade? Bad taste in your mouth from a contractor?
 

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caver101 said:
What is so bad about GA?

Whats wrong Spade? Bad taste in your mouth from a contractor?
Nothing is wrong at all, Caver--Spade and I found the relative ease of passing inspections to be quite the delight. 8)

Scatch Maroo
 

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Just depends on the day you catch the inspectors and it varies from county to county.

So what are you doing out here in GA, thought your lived CA?
 

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PM me, or use AIM--no need to hijack the thread further.

Scatch Maroo
 
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