Broken Britain: Gangs, knives and death

Broken Britain: Gangs, knives and death

Britain’s knife crime epidemic 

uk knife crime britain london stabbing

In February The Sun investigated Britain’s “knife crime epidemic” saying the rise had been dulled by lockdown and experts warning the crisis is on the cusp of “erupting” further. 

The paper says despite lockdown restrictions leaving the streets largely deserted, serious offences involving blades “still soared massively last year.” 

Stabbings soar as kids turn to knife crime and gangs during pandemic

Data showed that threats to kill involving a knife rose by 20 per cent from 4,117 to 4,936. The figures showed murders went up by two per cent from 257 in 2019 to 262 in 2020, and attempted murders surged by nine per cent, from 469 to 512. 

The paper’s investigation believes the wave of stabbing deaths that are plaguing Britain’s streets revealed the surge is feared to be linked to a 107 per cent rise in kids joining gangs or county lines. 

The Sun says the “deadly combination” of school closures and lack of safe spaces for vulnerable kids has led many of them falling prey to criminal gangs looking to exploit them. 

Evidence uncovered also revealed how violence spiked in the weeks after restrictions were eased in July 2020, the paper says. 

I fear there could be an eruption of violence when we come out of this lockdown.”

The investigation says blade attacks rose 25 per cent after the July easing, with hospitals treating 543 seriously injured knife victims in August 2020 – the highest monthly tally on record. 

Javed Khan, chief executive of Barnardo’s, added: “I fear there could be an eruption of violence when we come out of this lockdown.”

uk knife crime britain london stabbing

Knife-crime savagery in London 

The Express asks with Covid seemingly in retreat, will the end of lockdown bring a surge in crime? 

The paper says there are signs that will be a likely outcome as, over the sunny Bank Holiday weekend, Britain was again gripped by a wave of violence.  

The paper reports that in London alone, five people were killed in what the Met Police called a “relentless” series of incidents. These incidents include the fatal stabbing of a flower seller in Islington, the shooting of a young man outside an underground station, and the knifing to death of an 18-year-old on a tennis court in Barnet, the 15th murder of a teenager in the capital this year. 

But “the blood-soaked mayhem” wasn’t just confined to London. 

In Birmingham, 14-year-old Dea-John Reid was stabbed after being chased whilst being subjected to racist language. Micheal Shields, 35, has been charged with his murder. In Northumberland, a man was beaten to death in an underpass, the paper adds. 

uk knife crime britain london stabbing

This kind of savagery should have no place in a well-ordered society, which is what Britain once was, Leo McKinstry writes.

The paper adds George Orwell wrote that “the gentleness of English civilisation is its most marked characteristic”. 

Journalist Leo McKinstry says 80-year after Orwell wrote those words, they now sound hollow. He writes peace is shattered by crimes like the one in Hyde Park on Tuesday, where a teenager was attacked in broad daylight by masked men wielding machetes and poles. 

The paper says the ‘display of butchery could be a depressing harbinger of things to come. 

uk knife crime britain london stabbing

Killings of black people in England and Wales at highest level since 2002

The Guardian says the number of black victims of homicide in England and Wales is at its highest level in nearly two decades, official figures show. 

The ONS says a total of 105 black victims of murder and manslaughter were recorded in the 12 months to March 2020. It was the highest figure since the 12 months to March 2002. 

The figures show black people are more likely to be victims of homicide, the paper adds. 

Approximately one in five – or 21% – of convicted suspects were black. About 67% of suspects convicted of homicide were identified as white.

The ONS says the figures showed “clear differences” in the age profile of victims across ethnic groups, the paper adds.

uk knife crime britain london stabbing

Approximately half (49%) of black victims in the year to March 2020 were in the 16 to 24 age group, compared with 25% for Asian people and 12% for white victims.

For male and female victims, of all ethnicities – the most common method of killing was a knife or another sharp instrument, 

Overall, the total number of victims of homicide in England and Wales in the year to March 2020 was 695 – 39 of whom were victims of human trafficking whose bodies were found in a lorry in Grays, Essex, in October 2019. Excluding these victims, the number of homicides increased year on year by eight, or 1%.

The ONS said the incidence rate for homicide remained very low, with 11.7 homicides per million population in 2019-20, a similar rate to the previous three years.


Summer evening in London’s Hyde Park shattered by machete-wielding group – Washington Post 

Top criminal barrister leads campaign to combat rising knife crime – Telegraph 

Sheffield victims of knife crime and gang violence to get online support – Sheffield Telegraph 

We need to stop US gun crime taking root in Britain – Times

18 stabbings in a WEEK as knife violence erupts across UK after ‘perfect storm’ of heat and lockdown lifting – The Sun

Quick Facts

Is knife crime increasing in the UK?

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics revealed an 16% increase in the number of offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in the year ending March 2018 (n = 40,147)

Where is the highest knife crime in the UK?


London recorded the highest rate of 179 offences involving a knife per 100,000 population 2Fin 2019/20, a slight increase on a rate of 169 in 2018/19. Durham had the lowest rate of 26 offences per 100,000 individuals (down from 31 in 2018/19)

Are knives illegal in the UK?

It’s illegal to: sell a knife to anyone under 18, unless it has a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less. carry a knife in public without good reason, unless it has a folding blade with a cutting edge 3 inches long or less. carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife.

Dea-John Reid stabbing

On Monday, 14-year-old Dea-John Reid was chased and stabbed to death in Birmingham. 

Police believe Reid and his friends were subjected to racist language before the stabbing. 

Six people were arrested on suspicion of murder.

Micheal Shields, 35, has been charged with his murder. 


London flower seller murdered

A 21-year-old man has been charged with the murder of a popular flower seller.

Tony Eastlake, 55, was stabbed on Saturday afternoon near his Essex Road stall in Islington, north London, where he had worked for four decades.

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