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21 October 2011

Gun-free England plagued by knifepoint robberies

Now what? Will England ban knives?

A rise in knifepoint robberies was last night blamed on overseas demand for expensive mobile phones.

The number of robberies carried out with a knife went up by seven per cent last year.

Police in England and Wales recorded 14,980 robberies at knifepoint over the 12 months to June, up from 13,994 a year earlier.

Total robberies were up 3 per cent, to 76,786 from 74,887.

Chief constable Jon Murphy, crime spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: 'While there were falls in most police recorded crime and particularly in violence against the person, the increase in robbery and robbery with knives is a cause for concern.

'We believe this is in part driven by demand for mobile phone handsets, which can fetch more than double their worth on the black market abroad.'

He warned users to protect their handsets, such as iPhones and BlackBerrys, with passwords to stop personal details being stolen along with their phones.

The British Crime Survey of more than 40,000 households showed overall crime was up 2 per cent in the year to June, to 9.7million offences.

A Downing Street spokesman claimed many of the rises were not 'statistically significant'. But shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the Government 'needs to take urgent action to cut crime instead of just cutting police'.

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