I have no doubt that knives are the biggest threat on our streets today and the problem is getting worse. Knives are commonly used in street robberies, gang violence and domestic disputes. The Evening Standard newspaper recently released this report: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/london-knife-crime-hits-highest-level-ever-recorded-a3965111.html highlighting the fact that knife crime in London has reached the highest level ever.
During the recent spate of muggings in Loughton, many of the attackers reportedly carried knives. As Loughton is virtually on the boundary with London, these statistics are very worrying.
The maximum penalty for an adult carrying a knife is 4 years in prison and an unlimited fine. New guidelines only ask that the courts impose a mandatory six months minimum prison term on those caught carrying a knife for the second time. Surprisingly, there is currently no minimum sentence.
The punishment for youths under the age of 16, caught in possession of a knife, is a ‘Youth Conditional Caution’. The punishment for youths aged 16 and 17, caught in possession of a knife, is a charge. With police officer numbers so low and the chances of being caught in possession of a knife also low, it comes as no surprise that knife crime has increased.
It’s clear for all to see that there needs to be more police officers to catch the criminals and act as a deterrent. Sadly, the current trend for cutbacks to our emergency services suggests that this will not happen. If sentences for carrying/using knives were increased, it would take these violent criminals off our streets and also act as a deterrent. A dwindling police force that cannot cope, can only react to reports of crime rather than prevent or deter it making arrests of knife carriers even less likely.
The reason why knives are so dangerous is that a cut of just a quarter of an inch to the body can be a fatal wound. A cut to a major artery or organ can result in severe blood loss, shock and death by heart failure in less than half a minute. It’s possible to survive a knife attack with several wounds if the vitals are missed and you receive good 1st aid treatment. Just recently, a shop owner in Ilford was stabbed 30 times by a crazed psychopath and was lucky to survive.
As part of my martial arts education, I studied knife with Dan Inosanto, Bruce Lee’s no.1 student in the 1980’s and more recently with sensei Mike Finn, a world-renowned weapons expert and author who has taught knife attack to special forces personnel across the globe. This gave me an understanding of how dangerous knives actually are and has helped me to develop more effective and realistic knife defence techniques for my karate students and self-defence clients.
To survive a knife attack, you need to be fast and lucky. Run is always the best option. If there’s nowhere to run and pleading for mercy fails, knowing where and where not to get cut could save your life. It also helps if you’ve trained knife attack scenarios although nothing can prepare you for the real thing. Controlling the distance, if possible, is essential for your safety. Much depends on the knife skills and determination of the attacker.
No amount of knife defence training will guarantee your safety but it will greatly improve your odds of survival.
Sensei Stephen O’Brien