London

Knife-crime first aid should be taught, surgeon says

Knives

First aid skills should be taught in schools to counter the rise in knife crime among young people, a leading London trauma surgeon has said.

Duncan Bew, a consultant at King's College Hospital, said he has seen increasingly ferocious stabbing injuries inflicted on children.

In 2016, 299 children were caught carrying knives in schools, up from 152 in 2011, according to the Met Police.

The first-aid skills would mean fewer deaths from stab injuries, Mr Bew said.

The number of pupils caught in possession of knives in schools has risen for a fifth successive year, according to Met Police statistics.

"There's a need to raise public preparedness," Mr Bew said.

The surgeon co-founded Growing Against Violence which provides training in schools for 10-15 year olds to reduce gang membership and tackle violence, including equipping them with first aid techniques.

"We see more stabbing victims around the end of school than any other time," Mr Bew said.

"Gone are the days of children coming in having fallen off their bikes, now it's all because of knives."

The family of murdered teenager Quamari Barnes told BBC London that for some children carrying a knife came as naturally as picking up "their keys or mobile phone".


'Wanted to look cool'

Image caption Justin's mother who did not want to be indentified, says she "wasn't angry at all; I'm just really concerned."

Justin (not his real name), was 12 years old when his mother found a hunting knife in his bag as he left for school.

"All the bigger boys in my class bully me and make me feel scared, they threaten me," he told the BBC.

"I wanted to carry a knife to look cool."

His mother said she "wasn't angry at all; I'm just really concerned."

"I live on an estate and I see bad things all the time. The situation will get worse because young people are competing against each other," she added.


First aid is taught in some schools as part of the personal, social, health and economics education (PSHE) curriculum - but it is not compulsory.

In March, the government announced PSHE would be made compulsory in all state schools, but there is no timetable for its introduction.

The government is currently consulting on what to include in the permanent curriculum.


First responder skills

  • Protect yourself and any casualties from danger
  • Comfort and reassure casualties
  • Assess the injury
  • Put pressure on the wound to slow down the flow of blood
  • Call emergency services

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