The right to bear arms might be under attack here in America–but in the United Kingdom, police are trying to do something even more ridiculous: they’re attempting to ban knives.
The British police have recently joined forces with liberal grassroots activists in the UK, launching the “Save a Life–Surrender Your Knife” program. Knife crime has been climbing recently in major UK cities like London.
The program involved several weeks of “amnesty” for “pointed knives.” Civilians can turn in these apparently dangerous weapons at their local police station in exchange for “amnesty,” apparently, even though knives (rounded or pointed) aren’t illegal in the United Kingdom.
In the last few months of 2014, when the program was running, about 800 knives had been handed in across the country–”including swords, machetes, and commando knives,” according to the Lancashire Police Department.
800 seems like a large number… until you remember the United Kingdom has a population of more than 64.1 million people, most of whom probably have a knife or two lying around the house.
Because the problem with knife crime, however, is that it’s pretty much impossible to stop just by banning knives itself. Virtually every person in the United Kingdom owns a knife–and, as long as food needs cutting, that’s not going to change.
That doesn’t mean they carry a knife around in their pocket but, as the BBC reported a few years ago, the problem is that “many assaults are committed impulsively, prompted by alcohol and drugs, and a kitchen knife often makes an all too available weapon.”
Basically, the police can ask for a knife ban as many times as they want–but as long as you have cutlery, you’re going to have easy access to a “deadly weapon” that can be used in a whole number of crimes.
Of course, that hasn’t stopped the police from declaring the program a success.
Lancashire announced that “officers have now given their backing to a national initiative designed to raise awareness of knife crime and encourage the surrender of dangerous weapons.” Even without so-called “amnesty,” British citizens can drop knives in special bins in the police station.
The logic seems to be: if you can’t convince the British people to part with their “dangerous” and “pointy” cookware… well, keep trying.
“While projects encouraging the surrender of knives are not a single solution to violence, they have an important role to play in inspiring communities to get behind education and preventative measures,” explained Detective Chief Inspector Steve Dowson, also of the Lancashire Police Department.
He added: “We’ve been delighted with the response so far, but our communities have told us that they want an end to knife crime and that they want to work with us to make that happen.”
Incidentally, the knife violence rate in the United Kingdom is about double the rate of gun violence in the United States. Possibly because Americans haven’t yet been asked to throw away their right to self-defense in a bin at the police station.