Church leaders call for tougher restrictions on knife sales


Church leaders have added their voice to calls for tougher restrictions on the sale of knives as Britain struggles to contain its knife crime epidemic. 

An open letter signed by church and community leaders is urging the Government to promote the sale of safe kitchen knife designs and make the sale of pointed domestic knives "a thing of the past". 

The letter has been signed by the Rt Rev James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester and Bishop to HM Prisons, and Rt Rev Simon Burton Jones, Bishop of Tonbridge, among others.

They write that pointed knives are no longer needed in the modern age but should be abandoned especially in light of the staggering numbers of violent and domestic crimes involving knives. 

"Dear Ministers, we the undersigned are professionals and community leaders from across the UK who call on Government to see the sale of pointed domestic kitchen knives as a thing of the past," they write.

"We urge them to take urgent measures to promote the sale of safe kitchen knife designs and restrict those designs which have been used in so many acts of violence.

"Historically we needed a point on the end of our knife to pick up food because forks weren't invented. Now we only need the point to open packets when we can't be bothered to find the scissors." 

They cite a five-year study in Edinburgh which found that kitchen knives accounted for 94% of the sharp instruments used in homicides.

They said that the choice of the kitchen knife as a weapon was "due to their lethality and availability".

They went on to cite research by the Home Office Scientific Development Branch showing that rounded knives, although able to cause slash wounds, were less able to penetrate the skin than pointed knives.

"Criminologists have demonstrated that reducing availability in turn reduces crime," they wrote. 

The letter concludes by asking the Government to show the same level of commitment to addressing the harm from pointed kitchen knives as it has done with other potentially dangerous items like plastic bags and smoking. 

"The UK has worked for the public good by restricting handguns, paracetamol, smoking in public and plastic bags – now it is time to say 'no bloody point'," the letter concludes. 

Also signing the letter were the Rev Nathan Ward, Vicar St Margaret's Church Rainham, Dr Liza Thompson, CEO of Swale Action To End Domestic Abuse (SATEDA), Andy Slaughter MP, Sarah Jones MP, Dr Lisa Cameron MP, Louise Haigh MP, Shadow Police Minister Julian Hendy, Dr Naomi Thompson, senior lecturer at the University of London, and David Woodger, head of community studies, Goldsmiths.