Police in a British county have purchased one hundred kitchen knives without the pointy ends, for the purpose of distributing them to homes where someone is at risk for domestic violence, with the hope that the blunt-tipped knives will make it harder for the victims to be stabbed to death.
Yes, you read that correctly. From the report by the New York Times:
The proposal by the Nottinghamshire Police, in the East Midlands of England, comes as Britain struggles with an epidemic of knife crime outside the home, which some analysts say is fueled by reductions in the nation’s police forces under austerity and cuts to social service programs.
In Nottinghamshire, the police say domestic abuse cases involving knives make up 17 percent of all the county’s reported knife crimes. In an effort to address the issue, the Nottinghamshire police bought 100 knives specifically manufactured without points to replace kitchen knives in the homes of Britons who have been attacked or threatened with a knife, a police spokesman said.
The initiative was part of a larger strategy to tackle the level of knife-related episodes taking place in homes across the county, officials said. The knives would still be sharp enough to cut food, the police said, and the results of the small-scale trial would be evaluated at the end of the year.
In an attempt to tackle domestic violence, police in a British county proposed replacing sharp knives in victims' kitchens with blunt-tipped instruments to prevent their partners from stabbing them to death https://t.co/G3Jpsn2ARU
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 17, 2019
The Times interviewed several domestic violence experts — including one who had the same reaction I did, thinking at first glance that this was a story from The Onion or another parody site — who denounced the plan as “ludicrous” and failing to understand the reality of domestic violence.
The Nottinghamshire Police, facing criticism on social media, backpedaled a bit and said the program was simply being considered as part of several initiatives to combat domestic violence and had not yet been implemented. If it does go forward, they would distribute the blunted knives in “appropriate high risk domestic situations.”
Excuse me? If a person presents such an obvious risk of committing violence against others that you don’t think they should be around sharp knives, then maybe a higher level of interference is warranted?
Gun control advocates frequently point to Britain, with its stricter gun laws, as an example. Stories like this show the reality: violent people are still violent, and use the instruments they have available to them. Changing the laws doesn’t stop violence; it means that violent people either obtain their weapons illegally, or find some other way to cause harm.
Britain may have made it harder for private citizens to legally obtain guns, but as the Times points out, knife crimes are on the rise, as are domestic abuse cases:
This week, the Ministry of Justice said that the number of people caught carrying knives and other offensive weapons in England and Wales had reached a nine-year high. Offenses involving such weapons have risen by 34 percent, to 22,041, since 2015 — the highest number since 2010, according to the ministry.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.