Keeping Yourself Safe From Knife Crime
You might have heard about some stabbing incidents in Cardiff on the news recently. Hearing about violence and knife crime involving young people in Wales might cause you to worry. Here at Meic we want to give you facts and offer advice to stop you getting into a dangerous situation.
This article is also available in Welsh – I ddarllen y cynnwys yma yn Gymraeg – clicia yma
This article is not meant to scare you. The Met Police say that 99% of young people in the UK don’t carry knives. When looking at the population as a whole knife related offences in Wales are quite low, 49 per 100,000 of the population in 2020 (July 19-June 20 – Office for National Statistics). These are small numbers, so the likelihood of being involved in something like this is low, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risks further.
Does carrying a knife protect you or put you in danger?
Some young people say that they carry knives for protection but the fact that they choose to carry a knife actually puts them in more danger. Evidence shows that you’re more likely to be targeted and attacked if you carry a knife. If you bring a knife to a fight then things can really escalate and get out of hand. Something that might have been someone getting beaten up and walking away could quickly turn into someone getting seriously injured or killed.
Even if you’re the only the one carrying a knife it doesn’t make you safer. Evidence shows that people are injured or killed by their own knives as these can be turned against them. If there are no knives at a fight then this can’t happen. So does carrying a knife really protect you? Or does it put you in more danger?
What’s the law?
The law is very strict on knives. It is illegal to carry any sharp instrument that can be used as a weapon. If a police officer or a teacher suspects that you’re carrying a knife they can, by law, stop and search you.
If you’re found to be carrying a knife, this will get you into serious trouble, even if you’ve never used it or shown it to anybody. The fact that you are carrying it is enough. If you want to check the law out then go to the gov.uk website.
Carrying a knife could get you a criminal record or even go to prison. One quick decision to “protect yourself” could ruin your life forever. It can affect future job prospects and may even stop you travelling to some countries.
You can also get in big trouble if you’re present when someone else carries out a knife attack. If you’re aware that your friend is carrying a knife and you think it’s likely that they are going to commit a crime with it then you can actually be charged under ‘joint enterprise’ law. This means that if your friend murders someone you could also be charged with murder just by being there.
What should I do if I think someone is carrying a knife?
The most important thing is to keep yourself safe. If you’re threatened with violence then the best thing to do is get away. Don’t get involved. Once you’re safe tell someone you trust. This could be a family member, teacher, friend, the police or you can even contact the Meic helpline. We can help guide you towards the best steps to take.
To report knife crime, or any other crime, contact the police on 101, or if a serious crime is happening, or has just happened, or if someone is in immediate danger then call the emergency number 999. You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or report crimes anonymously through the Fearless website. Fearless is the Crimestoppers brand for 11-16 year olds.
This article isn’t here to lecture you. We want you to keep yourself and others safe. We know that sometimes people can get themselves into situations that seem impossible to get out of, like being involved in gangs. Even if you think there is nothing you can do, there is always a way. Speak to someone you trust. Childline have information on their website giving advice on what to do if you’re being intimidated or asked to join a gang.