May Must Sharpen Focus on Knife Crime | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

May Must Sharpen Focus on Knife Crime

Comment Writer Natalia Carter discusses the promotion of knife crime on social media and why she believes Theresa May's cuts are to blame.

Between September 2010 and September 2016, the numbers of police workforce in England and Wales fell by 18,991. Theresa May argued that they protected the counter-terrorism policing budgets, but she fails to recognise the problem. Ultimately, her negligence and rejection of warnings that police cuts would result in an increase in crime has led to the horrific knife crimes of present.

With the lessened security on the streets, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that crime will increase

With the lessened security on the streets, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that crime will increase. Unfortunately, Theresa May seems incapable of realising this. If young adults and teenagers are feeling unprotected, then they are going to turn to alternative ways of keeping themselves safe. For some it’s carrying around an alarm or putting a bell on your purse, and for others it’s carrying around a knife.

It is illegal in the UK to manufacture, import, sale, hire or loan a flick knife. Yet Instagram has recently been seen promoting such items on their website. These knives are weapons disguised as everyday items, they are highly decorated and targeted towards young females. Whilst the pictures themselves might not be a problem, the fact that UK citizens are buying and importing these weapons is a huge issue.

The iridescent design and novelty of the items has led to customers purchasing the weapons from the US company, Alien Outfitters. The company is using Instagram to promote their products and link to their company website, which is based in North Carolina. The knives are glamorised as fashion accessories, creating a less threatening appearance and hence making them seem like nothing more than a toy.

If knives are being glorified like this, and disguised in everyday items such as lipsticks and combs, what chance do the few police left on the streets have at stopping knife crime spiralling out of control? The knives are presented as insignificant, as though they could be nothing more than a fun gift to bring out and show your friends; but imagine if one worked its way into a club. All it would take is a rowdy argument before the deadly lipstick made its way out. After all, there’s no way anyone would know it was anything different from a lipstick.

As far as I can tell, Theresa May has done a terrible job of keeping our streets safe from (regrettably) everyday threats of violence.

The promotion and distribution of these products is making our cities more dangerous. But who will deal with it? Who will prevent knife crimes from becoming an epidemic? As far as I can tell, Theresa May has done a terrible job of keeping our streets safe from (regrettably) everyday threats of violence. I cannot dispute that the counter-terrorism budgets have been protected, or that they are very important, but so are neighbourhood policing budgets. These are the budgets that have been cut.

It is despicable that knives are being advertised on social media platforms popular with teenagers, and it is outrageous that they are making their way into the country. Instagram are promoting a page which violates its community guideline of following the law. It’s illegal to sell flick knives, and I believe they should remove the posts. Yes, it’s an American company, but that does not detract from the UK purchases and the general danger generated by the owning of, or carrying of, a knife. It is an insult to anyone who has been affected by knife crime that the page still exists.

Knife crime is becoming a severe problem with the number of crimes increasing over 2017 and fears about gangs growing. Over the New Year period, four young men died in London from fatal stab wounds. All four incidents were unrelated and brought the number of knife deaths in 2017 alone to a total of 80. The availability of weapons such as flick knives can only end in tragedy. One of the victims was 18, another only 17 years old, the others both 20. The lives of the four young men killed over New Year are a consequence of the persistent ignorance of the Conservative Party and their irresponsible police budget cuts, and as far as I am concerned, they have blood on their hands.


7th February 2018 at 9:00 am

Last Updated

5th February 2018 at 9:39 pm

Images from

UK Parliament and Jessica Taylor