Forensics expert calls for pointed knives to be banned as street violence surges
PUBLISHED: 11:29 08 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:29 08 August 2019
A forensic scientist from Norfolk is urging the government and retailers to ban pointed knives as part of a new law aimed at tackling knife crime.
The Offensive Weapons Act 2019 received Royal Assent in May, but a forensic expert with almost two decades working on major crimes said there were "loopholes" in the law.
Leisa Nichols-Drew, who lives close to King's Lynn, worked as a forensic scientist for the Home Office on major crimes including murders by Ian Huntley and the Suffolk Strangler Steve Wright.
And for the last year she has been researching new methods to combat knife crime with a Churchill Fellowship grant.
She visited Australia and Canada to investigate international responses to knife crime to assist the UK situation.
Her findings were submitted to the House of Lords Forensic Science Enquiry and recently shared at a national knife crime conference. She said the Home Office lab had "never seen so many" cases of knife crime, including domestic incidents.
She said: "There are restrictions on how people can purchase items online, however people can purchase items from other countries to come into the UK.
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"We know they are coming into the country because they come through a facility near Heathrow, but it does not become an offence until it is being carried on the streets.
"One thing would be to change legislation for that, but also for all new knives that are sold and supplied in the UK, to have different shaped ends."
The 41-year-old said flat-ended knives would limit the number of fatalities and serious injuries.
"I examine clothing for damage and what type of weapon has been used," she said.
"The majority of fatalities are caused by domestic kitchen knives when the tip causes penetrative wounds and life-threatening injuries.
"If we changed legislation there is actually no need for that point. That is the most dangerous part of the knife."
She added: "It is something NHS trauma surgeons and judges who deal with these cases have commented on - why knives need these pointed ends."
Ms Nichols-Drew has written to national retailers urging them to consider the initiative, and said there were companies interested in producing new designs.