17th Feb 2020
New figures reveal the extent knife crime is having on the front line of our emergency services.
According to statistics from the charity Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (AAKSS) knife crime is becoming a part of everyday shifts for AAKSS crew members. Since 2013, the paramedics and doctors of AAKSS have responded to over 400 critical knife crime related call outs.
The figures reveal AAKSS critical missions across Kent, Surrey and Sussex related to knife crime were at an all-time high between June 2018 and June 2019. These were in line with a recent report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) that revealed knife crime has risen to its highest levels in eight years.
Between June 2018 and June 2019, there were 75 knife related critical pre-hospital cases across the four counties. It was the worst year of knife crime related call outs in five years; and an increase of 32% since 2013, when 57 critical knife crime cases were responded to.
The data also shows a rise in the proportion of knife crime victims treated by AAKSS who are female, increasing to 12% last year – its highest recorded level.
According to the figures the highest number of victims of knife crime that needed critical care from AAKSS across Kent, Surrey and Sussex were in their thirties. 9% of critical knife crime victims across Kent, Surrey and Sussex were aged 18 and under, more than a third (35%) were aged between 19-29, and over a quarter (27%) were in their thirties aged between 30-39. A further 16 % of victims were aged between 40-49, 8% aged 50-59, 2% aged 60-69 and 3% were in their seventies.
Responding to the figures, Dr Magnus Nelson, a HEMS Consultant with Air Ambulance Kent Surrey and Sussex, said: “It is concerning that we have seen this rise in our region and we know, that as part of our response to this we will continue to work with partners to support not only the immediate care for victims, but our engagement with partners and strategies to look at the longer term reduction in this type of violence.
“Our role in the treatment of the victims of this type of crime recognises the importance of being available 24 hours a day to provide a response region wide. Our teams offer the high acuity clinical interventions sometimes necessary to treat and stabilise patients along with the ability to rapidly transport them to the region’s Major Trauma Centres.
“These cases are always challenging and the existing ability of our teams to work with the other emergency services to make a positive difference is vital in good clinical outcomes.”