UK Police Swapping Out Domestic Violence Victims' Sharp Knives With Dull Ones
Nottinghamshire, England, UK – Nottinghamshire police are replacing regular knives with blunt-ended knives that cannot easily be used to stab people in homes that have a history of domestic violence.
“We do see a fair amount of knife-related incidents in domestic abuse, not just on the streets,” Nottinghamshire Police Superintendent Matt McFarlane told the Independent.
Superintendent McFarlane is overseeing the “no point” knife pilot program.
“This is a measure we need to take. We want to reduce that risk,” the superintendent explained. “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.”
The measure is an attempt to reduce the number of domestic violence stabbings in “appropriate high-risk domestic situations.”
The knives will be distributed to homes “where a knife had been used or the victim had been threatened on a previous occasion,” the Independent reported.
“People will stay in a relationship after some serious episodes of domestic abuse. They may stay together for children, get back together, or might get back together when they are out of prison,” Superintendent McFarlane said.
More than 17 percent of incidents reported to the police in Nottinghamshire involved domestic violence knife crime, the Independent reported.
During 2018 and 2019, 159 out of 900 reported knife crimes were incidences of domestic violence.
British women’s advocates are calling the blunt knife pilot program the “wrong approach” for domestic violence, the Independent reported.
“If the people who are being given blunt knives are identified as being at risk of serious harm, then that is what the police and other agencies should be acting on, rather than just putting a blunt knife in their drawer,” Charlotte Kneer, the head of battered women’s shelter in Surrey, told the Independent.
“It seems like a strange – although well-intentioned – approach and I do not support it. It does not go anywhere near far enough,” Kneer said.
The domestic violence survivor said the idea of removing sharp knives from a home with a history of domestic violence is short sighted.
“If a victim is seriously harmed or murdered with another instrument after you give them a blunt knife then the police will have serious questions to answer given they had identified the victim as being at risk,” Kneer said. “If someone is grabbing knives out of kitchen drawers then they are a homicide threat. If there is not a knife handy in the drawer, they will do something else. They could grab a rolling pin.”
Superintendent McFarlane reinforced the fact that the effort is only in its infancy, the Nottingham Post reported.
"We are trialling [sic] it to see if it makes a difference. Sometimes you have to trial things to see if they work. Anything that stops someone being seriously injured is a good idea," the superintendent said.