Police force criticised over 'pointless' plans to give blunt knives to domestic violence victims 

The "no point" knives are being offered to those who have previously been threatened by a blade in their home
The "no point" knives are being offered to those who have previously been threatened by a blade in their home Credit: Nottingham Post / BPM Media

A police force has been criticised over "pointless" plans to hand out blunt knives to domestic violence victims in a bid to prevent people being attacked in their homes.

Nottinghamshire Police have launched a pilot scheme whereby individuals who have been threatened or attacked with a blade will be offered to replace them with unpointed knives.

Senior police chiefs said the initiative is designed to tackle the level of knife-related incidents taking place in homes across the county.

The force has 100 of the blunt blades, which can still slice food but cannot be used to stab, and have so far distributed 50 of them. 

Victims would need to agree to have their blades replaced as it is not mandatory. The knives were purchased by the force to use in "appropriate high risk domestic situations".

Nottinghamshire Police have 100 of the blades, which can still slice food but cannot be used to stab. Credit: Nottingham Post / BPM Media

However, domestic abuse survivors claimed the scheme doesn't "solve any problems" and suggested police could be left with “serious questions to answer” if someone identified as at risk is later harmed.

Charlotte Kneer, the chief executive of Reigate and Banstead Women's Aid Refuge, said: "It is well intentioned but the wrong approach. 

"If the people who are being given blunt knives are identified as being at risk of serious harm, then that is what the police and other agencies should be acting on, rather than just putting a blunt knife in their drawer. 

“If a victim is seriously harmed or murdered with another instrument after you give them a blunt knife then the police will have serious questions to answer, given they had identified the victim as being at risk.

“If someone is grabbing knives out of kitchen drawers then they are a homicide threat. If there is not a knife handy in the drawer, they will do something else. They could grab a rolling pin.”

Domestic incidents made up 17 per cent of knife crime reported to Nottinghamshire Police in 2018/19.  Credit: People Images/Getty Images

Ms Kneer, whose ex-partner was sentenced to jail for crimes against her, added the trial reinforced the idea that domestic abuse was usually “a crime of passion”.

She said: “It brings up trauma for me. Once my ex grabbed a knife out of the kitchen drawer and attempted to stab me and another time he grabbed a knife out of a kitchen drawer and tried to make me stab him. 

"I see the intent of what they are trying to achieve but it is not solving any problems.”

Currently domestic violence knife crime makes up more than 17 percent of all incidents reported to Nottinghamshire Police. 

Superintendent Matt McFarlane, the force's new knife crime strategy manager, said: "We do see a fair amount of knife related incidents in domestic abuse not just on the streets.

"This is a measure we need to take. We want to reduce that risk. It is a trial. We have about a 100 of them - and we have so far given out about 50.

"The knife is blunt at the end - but still functions as a knife - so you can't stab someone. "People will stay in a relationship after some serious episodes of domestic abuse.

"They may stay together for children, get back together, or might get back together when they are out of prison."

While the pilot has won the approval of some residents, others on social media criticised the force, describing the scheme as "literally pointless".

Domestic abuse survivor Fiona McCulloch, a 38-year-old mother-of-two from Chilwell, Notts, said: "I think it is 100 per cent positive. In a domestic setting, if they are determined to hurt you then they will.

"To have a blunt knife in my situation it would have taken that risk away. It is like you are taking away their options and the more you can take away the better.”

However, Andy Carlin, who also lives in Nottinghamshire, said: "Blunt knives are going to do nothing to tackle domestic violence as they can still use their fists and other household items to stab someone."

Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire's police and crime commissioner, said: "It is an excellent initiative."