1 in 4 would use a knife

The Observer reports grim findings from a survey of 355 people aged 16 to 24 in London, Manchester and Bristol:

30 per cent said it was acceptable sometimes to carry a knife while 23 per cent would use one. One in 10 claimed to have had access to a gun. A third admitted that fear of gun and knife crime affected where they went out socially while 34 per cent believed that they would witness a knife attack.

This comes in advance of a Home Office campaign that promises to ‘challenge the fear, glamour and peer pressure that can drive youngsters to knife crime’. We’ll see.

Meanwhile the Guardian invited some young men to describe in their own words why they carry – and use – knives. It’s well worth reading in full. Here are some excerpts:

My dad was stabbed to death when I was three years old. That is one of the reasons that I now carry a knife. It’s for protection. You never know who else will have one. This way, if someone is going to stab me, I will stab them first. (Paul, 21)

I was once dragged into a van and had a replica gun placed against my head. In that situation, all I had to do was pull my blade out and it was job done. I stabbed him in the leg. I used my knife and I am proud of it. (David, 21)

I had been bullied at school for years and called “Paki” and I realised that I had better look after myself. It was also just after the Twin Towers thing and I knew people were hating all us Asians whether we are Muslim or not. I got a flick knife from a certain shop in Nottingham. (Shabs, 20)

This common theme of using knives for self-defence is the target of the government’s forthcoming campaign: if you carry a knife there’s every chance it’ll be used against you.

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