THE full extent of Britain’s violent crime epidemic, which yesterday claimed the life of another teenager, is revealed in shocking new figures that show the number of street robberies involving knives has more than doubled in two years.
Attacks in which a knife was used in a successful mugging have soared, from 25,500 in 2005 to 64,000 in the year to April 2007. The figures mean that each day last year saw, on average, 175 robberies at knife-point in England and Wales – up from 110 the year before and from 69 in 2004-5.
The study, by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS) at King’s College London, is based on the government’s own statistics. It shows that knives are used in one in five muggings, twice the frequency reported two years ago. The new figures will renew pressure on ministers to address the rising tide of violence and antisocial behaviour on Britain’s streets.
New laws to tackle gun and knife crime will not work, a senior police representative has said.
Alan Gordon, vice-chairman of the Police Federation, spoke after the fatal stabbing of 14-year-old Paul Erhahon on Friday.
Mr Gordon said some people had a “scant regard” for human life which would not be combated by legislation.
The Violent Crime Reduction Act introduced a range of new offences relating to gun and knife crime.
Mr Gordon said he thought the intention to try to control violent crime was good but added that he was cynical as to whether legislation was the right answer.