Cambridgeshire hospitals treated up to 87 stabbing victims last year as campaigners predict new knife crime explosion as lockdown lifts
Stab victims accounted for up to 87 admissions to hospitals in Cambridgeshire last year, despite the prolonged periods of social distancing and lockdown measures in place.
NHS Digital suppresses small numbers to protect victims’ identities, but data shows there were between 21 and 87 hospital admissions in Cambridgeshire reported to be following an assault with a sharp object in 2020.
This was compared to between the same figures the year before.
The Ben Kinsella Trust anti-knife crime charity said the Government must take steps to prevent another rise in attacks across the country as coronavirus restrictions are eased.
Across England and Wales, there were 4,100 hospital admissions after attacks involving a sharp object last year, down from 4,800 in 2019.
However, the Ben Kinsella Trust said the drop last year was largely achieved because of the coronavirus lockdown suppressing the movement of people out on the streets or in gatherings.
Chief executive Patrick Green said: “While any drop in knife crime is clearly a good thing, there is an ominous warning contained in these figures.
“As the country unlocked in July, blade attacks soared.”
In August, hospitals in England and Wales dealt with 543 admissions for assault with a sharp object – the highest monthly figure since comparable records began in 2012.
Admissions increased by 62 per cent between April and June – when the country was under the strictest coronavirus regulations – and July and September last year.
Office for National Statistics figures show knife crime rose by one quarter (25 per cent) between these periods, with 12,120 offences across England and Wales.
Mr Green added: “As we emerge from lockdown three and restrictions are eased, the Government, local authorities and police must take steps to ensure that we do not see a similar surge in knife attacks as we witnessed last summer.
“This includes helping youth services to get up and running as soon as possible.
“It is imperative that young people have access to positive activities to keep them away from those who want to exploit them for criminal gain.”
The NHS figures also showed that around 40 per cent of all hospital admissions across England were victims aged under 25.
In Cambridgeshire, no fewer than nine admissions were for under-25s, while 70 were for those older.
Charity Stand Against Violence said people become involved in violent crime for many different reasons, including desperation, fear and status.
Dave Urwin, community funding and development officer at the organisation, said multi-agency collaboration is needed to prevent another rise in knife crime this summer.
He added: “Sufficient funding and support needs to be given to those who are working to prevent violence and everyone needs to be aware how pressing an issue this is.”
Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said the Government is investing millions into tackling the causes of violent crime, supporting “vital” youth projects and working with local partners to protect young people at risk.
He added: “Too many young lives are being needlessly lost.
“We are working closely with the police and others to stop this senseless bloodshed, particularly as Covid restrictions are eased over coming months.”