Over the past few years, knife crime has been growing at an alarming rate across the UK — although it is disproportionately concentrated in and around the capital.
Sixteen of the 20 most dangerous places in England and Wales for serious knife crime offences are in London, with the West End area of Westminster seeing 35.5 violent knife crimes per 10,000 residents — the highest rate in the country. In this year alone, London saw 15,023 knife crime offences — not including possession offences — which is the highest annual tally ever registered in the city.
However, the problem isn’t isolated to the capital. Outside of London, knife crime has been spreading rapidly, too. In Milton Keynes, knife crime has risen by a staggering 90% over the past two years — making it one of the top three fastest-growing areas for knife crime. Oldham, where such offences have more than doubled since 2017, and Norwich are also amongst the top three.
Victims and suspects in the 25 to 34-year-old bracket are the hardest hit by knife crime, with 18 to 24-year-olds coming a close second. As such, it is especially important to secure venues and events where young people gather — nightclubs and festivals, for example.
Earlier in 2019, a brawl in a Brixton nightclub left three men in their 20s with stab wound injuries and one of them fighting for his life. Knife crime offences have also dominated the narrative around Notting Hill Carnival for some years. The number of stabbings at the carnival has featured heavily in media coverage, echoing wider concerns about rising knife crime in the capital. The 2016 events saw 15 stabbings, while seven were recorded in 2017.
Even high-class areas are not immune to the knife crime epidemic; three men were stabbed after a fight broke out outside the swanky Mayfair nightclub, Tape, in the early hours of February 2019.
Elsewhere in the country and more recently, fans blasted a sold-out Radio 1Xtra event over claims of ‘slack security’ and ‘inadequate checks’. Organisers halted the show after one of the acts was slashed across the face with a knife. In an unrelated incident, security also arrested a man at the entrance for carrying a knife.
Advanced security measures
Knife crime is a major concern for many people. But for those working in events, there is even more reason to be alarmed. Security and event professionals and venue managers have a duty to keep guests safe, but this recent wave of violence is yet another thing for organisers to think about when planning and executing events.
The answer to tackling knife offences at events lies in advanced and sophisticated security screening technology. Pryzm nightclub in Nottingham invested in three airport-style metal detector arches earlier this year to stop revellers entering the premises with weapons and to send a clear message that violence will not be tolerated.
Wolverhampton nightclub Banjul is now also using a knife arch to scan people as they enter the venue to check for drugs, knives and other dangerous weapons — in a bid to keep clubbers safe amid the recent rise in knife crime. This move came after The Outback, located opposite Banjul nightclub, had its licence temporarily suspended following a stabbing outside the venue in January.
But attacks aren’t just happening in clubs. They’re also happening on the streets outside venues once partygoers leave or at festivals and events where large crowds gather. How do you protect people in this case?
Event organisers deployed significantly more knife arches at this year’s Notting Hill Carnival — which attracted around a million people over the two-day event. Arches were used for the first time at the carnival in 2018 to detect offensive weapons including knives — helping to bring down the number of stabbings from seven in the previous year to two. As a result, the number of security screening technology was increased this year to great effect.
Working in tandem
Whilst there is a need to maintain a friendly and welcoming atmosphere in clubs and at events, it is imperative venue managers and organisers do not create a fortress mentality. It is, therefore, crucial to work side by side with security professionals and police to ensure a personal element is maintained — all the while keeping people safe.
2X Event Solutions offers a comprehensive range of rapidly deployable security scanning equipment for a variety of applications — including public events, festivals, concerts and general venue security. All products are easily transportable and available for hire, even at short notice.
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