Kitchen knives in the homes of domestic violence victims will be replaced with blunt knives in a bid to protect them from attacks, as part of a police trial.
Around 100 “no point” knives will be given to victims who have been threatened or attacked with a knife as part of a small pilot scheme being run by Nottinghamshire Police.
The idea has been roundly criticised, with Dr Jessica Eaton, the founder of Victim Focus, labelling those behind the project “morons”.
The police force have so far given out around half of the 100 adapted knives, which has a blunted tip but is still usable for chopping.
Superintendent Matt McFarlane, the new knife crime strategy manager for Nottinghamshire Police, said the aim was to reduce the risk of knife-related incidents in domestic abuse, not just on the streets.
Responding to the criticism, he said: “This is a very small scale trial, which we will assess at the end of the year. It is only one small part of the whole range of what is done to safeguard and protect domestic abuse survivors.”
Dr Eaton, an expert in abuse between individuals and victim blaming, wrote on Twitter: “I feel like we are getting dumber and dumber around domestic violence.
“So you gonna leave her in the situation but nip round to provide the offender with some blunt knives?
“IN DV [domestic violence], ANYTHING IS A WEAPON, YOU MORONS.”
She added, directly addressing Nottinghamshire Police, “If she’s at high enough risk that you’re gonna go around to her house and give her blunt utensils – she’s at high enough risk for you to DO SOMETHING TO PROTECT HER FROM THE OFFENDER.”
Refuge, a women’s charity, released a statement on Twitter saying: “It’s vital that police arrest perpetrators of #domesticabuse; reports to the police are increasing, yet the arrest rate has fallen. We accept that this is a pilot, but alone this will not keep survivors safe. Police need to do much more to protect women.
“The fact that police propose to change the knives in high risk cases is really worrying: the police should be using their powers to arrest the perpetrator, secure protective orders for the survivor and refer to specialist agencies for support.”
Nottinghamshire Live reported that domestic violence knife crime totalled more than 17% of incidents reported to Nottinghamshire Police, with 159 incidents reported in 2018/19.
Taking the blunt knives is not mandatory for victims.
Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping praised the scheme, telling Nottinghamshire Live: “Having safer implements in the home can reduce injuries and save lives. It is important that we get the message across that the chance of being stabbed on the streets is low and there is a bigger problem around domestic violence.
“It is an excellent initiative. Some research shows that women are attacked around 19 times before they leave their home.”