Knife Crime Market Exploration
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) and the Home Office (HO) are scoping the potential for an innovation challenge addressing knife crime.
The Home Office is concerned about recent increases in homicides, gun crime and knife crime. Although crime has fallen rapidly over the last 20 years, some types of violent crime recorded by the police have shown increases since late 2014. In 2017, knife crime rose by 22% across England and Wales which has resulted in a significant increase in fatal stabbings and incidents where serious injury has been caused. The use of knives to enable acquisitive crime has also seen a marked increase. Whilst the increase in knife crime is a complex problem with many influencing factors, the ability for police to detect knives being carried by people is fundamental to reducing the harm caused. This is particularly challenging when knives are concealed and carried in crowded spaces. Consequently, the use of current detection systems is limited. The UK Police have implemented strategies to tackle the issue and the application of science and technology must play an important role in tackling this threat and in April 2018, the Government launched the Serious Violence Strategy, which aims to tackle knife crime and other forms of serious violence.
The HO is interested in solutions that can identify or detect people carrying, overtly or covertly, a wide variety of steel-bladed knives in open spaces, crowds and uncontrolled areas (i.e. where there is no presence of security). There is a requirement to detect steel-bladed knives in the presence of other commonly carried benign metal items (e.g. keys, phones, coins etc.). As well as being concealed on the person, this also includes knives carried in bags (e.g. handbags, backpacks etc.).