The International Response to Knife Crime: An Investigative Study to Improve the UK Situation




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Peer reviewed


Violent crime is a frequent occurrence in the UK, predominantly due to knives, with urban and rural areas significantly impacted. Personal casework experience has involved the forensic laboratory examination of bladed weapons from offences including murder, sexual assaults, armed robberies, aggravated burglaries, wildlife crime, cold case reviews and terrorism.

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 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 for a particular subject sector which is a pertinent cause for concern and improvement. The intention is to improve the situation by obtaining new knowledge for dissemination with peers and relevant organisations 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 proposed 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. Insights into laboratory procedures, crime scene processing, police strategies and novel research developments could aid the UK response.

Ultimately, a dual legacy is envisioned, in aiding detections and convictions, whilst also preventing crimes and reducing injuries. Therefore, this presentation will facilitate the sharing of best practice and interest law enforcement agencies and Criminal Justice Systems around the world.



Knife Crime, Reactive, Proactive, Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Travel Fellowship, Bladed Weapons


Nichols-Drew, L. (2018) The International Response to Knife Crime: An Investigative Study to Improve the UK Situation. Australia and New Zealand Forensic Science Society 2018 Symposium in Perth, Australia


Research Institute

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