Violent crime in the United Kingdom is increasing; figures from London show a 17.9% increase from 2003 to 2004,1 and one easily accessible weapon used in many incidents is the kitchen knife. Unfortunately, no data seem to have been collected to indicate how often kitchen knives are used in stabbings, but our own experience and that of police officers and pathologists we have spoken to indicates that they are used in at least half of all cases. UK government statistics show that 24% of 16 year old boys report carrying knives or other weapons and 19% admitting attacking someone with the intent to harm.2 Although other weapons—such as baseball bats, screwdrivers, and chains—are also carried, by far the most common weapons are knives.3 In the United Kingdom in the first two weeks of 2005 alone, 15 murders were attributed to stabbings and 16 other non-fatal attacks.4
To tackle this increasing problem, various measures are being considered by the government, particularly targeting the adolescent age group. These include raising the minimum age for purchasing a knife from 16 to 18 years and allowing head teachers the power to search pupils for knives.5 However, not all crimes are committed with newly purchased knives, and every household and home economics department in schools contains a plethora of readily available weapons. The modern stainless steel kitchen knife has a high quality blade that makes it unnecessary to look further for another lethal weapon.