Safer communities: investigating the international response to knife crime




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Peer reviewed



Violent crime is a frequent occurrence in the UK, predominantly due to knives, with both urban and rural areas significantly impacted. Personal casework experience of the author has involved the forensic laboratory examination of bladed weapons from including murder, sexual offences, armed robberies, aggravated burglaries, wildlife crime, cold case reviews and terrorism offences. The September 2017 Crime Survey of England and Wales recorded 37,443 knife offences; a 21% annual rise impacting 38 of 44 police forces. This has a profound societal impact on the multi-agency response. Critically, the NHS (National Health Service) reported a 7% increase in emergency hospital admissions resulting from knife related injuries. Other countries have similar experiences. In particular 2 Commonwealth nations are of particular interest due to encountering the use of bladed weapons. In particular, Australia (knives reportedly the most used weapon) and Canada (stabbing is deemed the most frequent homicide method). The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust facilitates travel fellowships for British citizens to visit other countries to obtain new knowledge for pertinent issues for dissemination upon their return. This particular Fellowship project will involve vital research being undertaken to form best practices to assist UK knife crime investigations. It is intended that federal and state/province police forces, forensic science facilities and academic institutions will be approached within Australia and Canada for interaction with practitioners and researchers. An insight into laboratory procedures, crime scene processing, police strategies and novel research developments could aid the UK in its response. Ultimately, a dual legacy is envisioned, in firstly aiding detections and convictions, whilst, in future, by also preventing crimes and reducing injuries. This presentation may facilitate the sharing of best practice and will therefore be of interest to law enforcement agencies and Criminal Justice Systems around the world.


The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences Annual Conference 2018


Knife Crime Forensic Science Investigation


Nichols-Drew, L. (2018) Safer communities: investigating the international response to knife crime. The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences Annual Conference 2018


Research Institute

Leicester Institute for Pharmaceutical Innovation - From Molecules to Practice (LIPI)