In response to rising knife crime in the United Kingdom, Nottinghamshire Police this week unveiled an unorthodox plan to offer blunt knives to victims of domestic violence to replace the sharp ones currently in their homes.
The pilot program will result in 100 “no point” knives being given to individuals who have been attacked or threatened with knives, The Independent reported. The victims would need to consent to having their knives replaced as the program is not mandatory.
Superintendent Matt McFarlane, the new knife crime strategy manager, said police “see a fair amount of knife-related incidents in domestic abuse, not just on the streets.”
“This is a measure we need to take,” he said in a statement. “We want to reduce that risk. It is a trial. We have about 100 of them – and we have so far given out about 50. The knife is blunt at the end – but still functions as a knife – so you can’t stab someone.”
“We are trialling it to see if it makes a difference. Sometimes you have to trial things to see if they work,” McFarlane added. “Anything that stops someone being seriously injured is a good idea.”
More than 17 percent of all incidents reported to Nottinghamshire Police involve domestic violence knife crime.
A “pointless” knife crime scheme?
Paddy Tipping, the Nottinghamshire police and crime commissioner, was among those who expressed support for the scheme, which he called an “excellent initiative.”
But many commenters have disagreed. Social media users blasted the plan as “pointless.”
“Hey why don’t we also put padding on the walls & doors so when the abuser is smashing his victim’s head of it, it will leave just a little mark as opposed to the usual broken nose & black eyes!!. This may just be one of the maddest things i’ve ever heard; absolutely mental!” wrote one user.
"Rather than tackle domestic violence, we've decided blunt force trauma is a better look. It's easier to cover bruises with make up than cuts, after all."
— Halcyon Ember (@HalcyonEmber) June 12, 2019
Others were even more blunt.
“Literally the same stupid advice I was given when my daughter attempted suicide. She then went on to use a key, a sharpened stick and then took pills. Luckily all failed. Deal with the actual problem, not this box ticking, condescending, useless nonsense,” tweeted one user.
The United Kingdom really wants to blunt the threat of knives
U.K. police have comically tried to combat knife crime before. In May, London police officers were mocked after triumphantly announcing a “dangerous” weapons bust on Twitter, along with a photo of the stash that included a spoon and a butter knife.
Meanwhile, a knife surrender program undertaken by police in Weston ended in disaster in April after thieves broke into the drop-off bin and made off with the pointy contents.
Data obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Evening Standard earlier this year revealed that one person was knifed to death on average every four days in London in a two-year-period spanning 2017 and 2018.