Spate of stabbings puts sharp focus on kitchen knife design

As knife crime gains an increasingly-high profile, the design of kitchen knives is at the centre of a growing debate.
Kitchen knives are responsible for the majority of fatal stabbings, and an article on the BBC website, bbc.co.uk, last week considered the pros and cons of eradicating the most lethal kind, those with long blades and sharp points.

The article quoted a group of doctors as saying that if long, pointed knives were less available we would have seen fewer deaths from knife injuries. The doctors believe that government action could “drastically reduce the availability” of a “potentially lethal weapon”.

Dr Mike Beckett said: “Kitchen knives could be redesigned so that they retain their cooking function but are not lethal. But as it stands you can go into a supermarket and buy for £10 something that’s a murder weapon – no questions asked.”

The doctors argue that most food preparation can be done with a blunt, round-nose knife and another sharp but under-5cm knife that is less likely to kill if used as a weapon.

In the article, chef Antony Worrall Thompson agrees with the doctors. He points out that in the Far East pointed knives are rarely used and says that “for everyday cooking a square-end or blunt-ended knife is OK”.

However, American chef Anthony Bourdain takes a different view, saying that, for chefs, knives “are extensions of our arms and, in many ways, our personalities”.

The article also quotes MP Roger Gale as saying that if long-pointed knives were banned “then a panoply of carpenters’ and plumbers’ weapons, such as hammers and screwdrivers, will have to be taken out of circulation”.

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