London, July 6 (ANI): Almost 14,000 Britons were admitted to hospital with knife injuries last year, and according to the latest Department of Health statistics, an average of 38 victims of knife wounds are admitted to accident and emergency departments across the country every day.
An analysis of hospital admissions data for England and Wales reveals that assaults and injuries from knives and sharp implements, together with sword and dagger injuries, resulted in 12,340 people being admitted last year - 446 of whom were no older than 14. This is an increase of 19 per cent on the 10,372 admissions five years ago. The latest figures from Northern Ireland and Scotland bring the total number of victims in Britain to 13,795 each year.
According to The Independent, the latest statistics from hospitals in England alone highlight an 88 per cent jump in the number of children suffering stab wounds - from 95 in 2002-03 to 179 in 2006-07. And among 16- to 18-year-olds, there has been a 75 per cent rise from 429 to 752.
New figures highlight how the number of people being prosecuted by magistrates for possessing knives has rocketed up from the 4,489 in 1997, the year Labour came to power, to 7,699 in 2006.
Most were not jailed, with just 14 per cent ending up in prison for little more than three months on average. Suspended sentences leapt from nine in 1997 to 552 in 2006.
The revelations undermine claims by the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith that knife crime "is not more serious than it has been previously".
A report by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King's College appears to confirm that knife crime "suffers from a lack of research on the nature, extent, cause, motivation, frequency and possible growth of knife carrying".
British capital London accounted for more than a third of all under-16s taken to hospital with stab wounds last year, and has seen numbers of teenagers needing treatment rise from 139 in 2002-03 to 324 in 2006-07.
Hundreds of people were due to attend a rally at Islington, north London, today where one of the most recent victims, 16-year-old Ben Kinsella, was stabbed to death last Sunday.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) will issue new guidance tomorrow, calling on all forces and crown prosecutors to charge anyone over 16 caught in illegal possession of a knife. This will extend to under-16s already "known" to the police.
ACPO also wants hospitals to notify police of all patients with stab wounds, in the same way that they do with gunshot victims. The police now want to use hospital records to identify knife-crime hotspots.
However, campaigners against knife attackers have called for tougher action, as they are not impressed by the Metropolitan Police Force's announcement on Friday that just 75 officers - a fraction of its 30,000 strength - will run a new taskforce against knife crime across London's 32 boroughs. (ANI)