Safer Knife Replacement Scheme
The Kent and Medway Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) will be facilitating a Safer Knife Replacement Scheme (SKRS).
Police and partner agencies will be able to offer the SKRS to eligible families and will provide them with a pack of 4 or a single 5” rounded Kitchen knife, alongside safety advice and guidance in exchange for replacing all the pointed knives within the property.
Discussions regarding the scheme will take place with each family prior to them being offered a chance to engage in the SKRS. Focus on promoting protective factors linked to the risk of carrying a knife or weapon will be a key part of this discussion.
Eligibility for the SKRS will be based on the circumstances of the family home, young person and their family/guardian engagement.
The main referral reason will need to be:
- If the young person has been arrested for a weapon related offence or has information suggesting they are carrying a weapon.
- The young person is coming to the attention of the Police in relation to drug dealing and/or young street group/gang involvement.
- In relation to high risk domestic abuse, this compliments advice provided, it does not replace current safety advice.
This new initiative will also see the SKRS being offered in addition to offence focused prevention-based interventions with families engaging with key workers, out of court disposals or statutory services.
This reduces the risk in the home and makes them less attractive to street-based knife crime.
Safer design knives
What makes them different?
The Safer Design Knives have been tested in a controlled environment by Assoc. Professor Leisa Nichols-Drew (BSc MSc NTF CF ChFP PGCertHE DTLLS SFHEA).
They did not penetrate the four fabric types when used in a stabbing motion.
The correlation between the lack of damage caused to the fabric samples when they were struck in a stabbing motion means they are unlikely to cause as much harm to an individual who was stabbed with them than an individual who was stabbed with a knife that has the traditional pointed tip.
On a knife edge: A preliminary investigation of clothing damage using rounded-tip knives
These knives have a blade with a rounded end. On all stab tests, it did not penetrate any of the four garments used in testing, thus no severance damage was produced. On three garments (knitted cotton, woven cotton, non-woven faux leather), it was evident where the impact site was as a depression had been formed in the fabric. However, the fabric surfaces remained intact. This is a highly significant observation with regards to damage examinations, in which knives are the alleged weapon.
By Leisa Nichols-Drew, Rachel Armitage, Robert Hillman, Kelly J Sheridan and Kevin J Farrugia
- This is a voluntary scheme and families/guardians will have had to agree to this exchange before the knives within the home are exchanged.
- Case workers in Kent County Council and Medway Council will assess the case and contact the young person and carers/family to explain the SKRS intervention, record this on their case notes and contact their area VRU Coordinator for facilitation of an exchange.
- Police will contact their area VRU Coordinator for facilitation of an exchange to take place.
- Secure tubes with a QR code are provided by the VRU. Officers and/or partnership staff will need to scan and complete the form at the start of the exchange. The QR code MUST be scanned, and waiver completed BEFORE any exchange takes place to ensure agreement.
- When a case worker attends the family address, they will take the surrendered knives and place them into the weapons tube and secure the tube by screwing the lid back on. If a young person or their parent/carer offers to surrender additional knives or weapons which fall into the category of offensive weapons, the worker should accept them and safely store them as per the recovery of knives and document this on case notes.
- Once the surrendered knives have been safely stored in the knife tube the case worker will give the family the exchange of the Viners Assure Knife. The knives and any weapons surrendered will be transported and safely disposed of and marked for destruction at the local Police station.
- This Scheme is to compliment usual safety advice and guidance; it does not replace it. Officers and case workers will still carry out all other educational inputs and advice alongside the scheme
- A personal Health and Safety risk assessment is to be completed as part of the planning of the knife surrender by the officer or the case worker as per their employer’s own policies.
- When you visit the property, you are to use your usual visit protocols and any control measures would have been identified before visiting by yourself.
- Conduct your own risk assessment on the family before you attend the home address to accept the surrendered knives.
- If the risk assessment identifies any matters which require additional control measures, such as family members who have previously shown aggression to officers/case workers then an appropriate worker will be allocated with the agreement of the family. This will be to attend the address and assist with the knife replacement.
- Knives are to be made safe in a secure tube before handing over the Assure knife and surrendered knives are to remain in this tube and taken to your local police station to be surrendered for destruction.
- Check-All knives with a point are removed from the address otherwise what is the point of #pointless?
do you know a family in need of this scheme?
How to refer into our scheme
If you have read about our scheme and you have a family in mind for an exchange, please contact us and someone will be in contact.
Depending on the circumstances, we can take referrals from commissioned providers and charities.