Former Peterborough judge calls for knife design change

Judge Nic Madge
Judge Nic Madge
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A former Peterborough judge has called for a radical change in knife design to prevent lethal stabbings.

Judge Nic Madge - a former resident judge at Peterborough Crown Court - used his valedictory speech as he retired from duty on Friday to make the call for round ends rather than sharp points for kitchen knives.

Home Office figures show that the Cambridgeshire Constabulary recorded 517 crimes in which knives were used between October 2016 and September 2017, an increase of 157% on the same period in 2012-13.

Speaking at Luton Crown Court Judge Madge said: "There are mandatory minimum custodial sentences for anyone convicted of a second knife offence However, those measures have almost no effect on the availability of knives to youths.

"A few of the blades carried by youths are so called rambo knives or samurai swords. They though are a very small minority.

"The reason why these measures have little effect is that the vast majority of knives carried by youths are ordinary kitchen knives.

"Every kitchen contains lethal knives which are potential murder weapons. Accordingly, it is very easy for any youth who wants to obtain a knife to take it from the kitchen drawer in his home or in the home of one of his friends.

"But why we do need 8” or 10” kitchen knives with points?

"Butchers and fishmongers do, but how often, if at all, does a domestic chef use the point of an 8” or 10” knife? Rarely, if at all.

"Any blade can cause an injury, but slash wounds from blades are rarely fatal. It is the points of such knives which cause life threatening and fatal injuries.

"I would urge all those with any role in relation to knives – manufacturers, shops, the police, local authorities, the government – to consider preventing the sale of long pointed knives

(except in rare, defined, circumstances) and replacing such knives with rounded ends.

"It might even be that the police could organise a programme whereby the owners of kitchen knives, which have been properly and lawfully bought for culinary purposes, could be taken somewhere to be modified, with the points being ground down into rounded ends. If such measures were taken, in time, the number of fatal and life-threatening injuries

caused by knife crime would reduce substantially."