Children most at risk of stab injuries on way home from school

07 November 2018

National Chair John Apter

National Chair John Apter

New research published in the British Medical Journal which shows that children may be most at risk of being stabbed on their way home from school is “deeply concerning”, argues National Chair John Apter. 

The report, conducted by NHS trauma doctors at the Royal London Hospital, also shows that more teenagers and young people are getting stabbed with the frequency of stabbings spikes between 4pm and 6pm, attributable to incidents occurring on school days.

PFEW National Chair John Apter, said: “The findings from this report are deeply concerning and as a parent myself, quite frankly terrifying. How has it got to the point where we have senior medical experts suggesting staggered school closing times as a preventative measure?

“What we really need is more police officers on our streets preventing and detecting serious crime.

“The Prime Minister failed to acknowledge that dwindling police numbers had anything to do with the rise in violent crime. I’m sorry, but I simply do not accept this.

“Since 2010 we have lost over 22,000, 3,500 of these were neighbourhood officers who are the eyes and ears of our community and crucial in preventing serious crime such as knife crime. This is at a time when we have seen knife crime rise significantly.

“In 2017 just under 37,000 offences involving knives or other sharp implements were recorded in England and Wales – a rise of 26% on the previous year’s figures.

“What sort of community do we live in where our children fear being fatally attacked on their way home from school – or feel like they need to carry a knife to protect themselves? As a society we have truly lost our way and this is desperately sad.

Findings from the report also show:

  • 1824 patients under the age of 25 (out of a total of 3274) with knife wounds required emergency care at one major London trauma centre between 2004 and 2014
  • Of these, 172 (just under 10%) were children under the age of 16; 861 (just over 47%) were aged 16-19; and 791 (just over 43%) were in their early 20s
  • Young men between the ages of 16 and 24 from economically deprived urban areas are most at risk of knife crime
  • A large proportion of stabbings occurred within 1 km of home across all age groups, children were significantly more likely to be stabbed between 1 and 5 km from home and less likely to be stabbed more than 5 km away.

John continued: “I have said time and time again, we simply cannot go on like this.

“The Government’s proposal of a holistic public health approach to tackling the ongoing violent crime epidemic is all well and good in ten years’ time but action needs to be taken now to prevent any more innocent lives from being lost.

“Police forces have seen budgets slashed and officers working ever longer hours with reduced resilience because of the cuts introduced against a background of austerity. We have seen media reports that more officers have been deployed on London streets following recent spate of stabbings. But these are not more officers they are the same officers doing longer hours in a desperate attempt to keep our communities safe.

“How many more lives need to be lost for the government to wake up and adequately invest in public safety?”