Church leaders in the Diocese of Rochester have called for the government to enforce stricter rules on the sale of domestic knives.
They’ve written an open letter asking for a ban on the sale of pointed kitchen knives. The letter was also signed by leading crime experts, as well as MPs, and community leaders.
It comes after a conference called The Point in Chatham last week raised awareness of the issue, as statistics show that there has been an 80 per cent rise in knife crime in the UK since 2014.
The signatories have urged Government 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.”
The letter endorses research, highlighted at the conference, which explains that points on domestic knives are historic and no-longer necessary.
“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,” the letter reads.
It continues: “A five-year study in Edinburgh found that of the sharp instruments used in homicides, 94 per cent were kitchen knives. Research demonstrates kitchen knives are used in a large percentage of homicides due to their availability and lethal nature.
“Criminologists have demonstrated that reducing availability in turn reduces crime.
“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 and conference are part of a month of awareness-raising activities about the dangers of knife crime in September, supported by the Diocese of Rochester, the Church of England in Medway, and the London Boroughs of Bromley and Bexley.
A special service reflecting on knife crime was also held in Rochester Cathedral on 21 September.
Rt Rev Simon Burton-Jones, Bishop of Tonbridge said: “Knife crime rips up the lives of families and friends, piercing the networks that give us life, meaning and support.
“Knife crime can be reduced if we follow the evidence trail, devote our resources to the right places, share knowledge smartly and value the organising power of local communities.
“The Church has a role to play, for it is located in most, if not all, places.”
An installation of the ‘Knife Angel’ will remain at Rochester Cathedral until the end of September. So far, more than 5,000 visitors to the monument have signed a book, pledging not to carry knives.