Promising Approaches to Knife Crime: An Explanatory Study – HM Inspectorate of Probation (May 2022)


HM Inspectorate of Probation have published research on the different approaches pertaining to knife crime.


HM Inspectorate of Probation, as part of their research and analysis bulletin have published ‘Promising Approaches to Knife Crime: An Exploratory Study’ (May 2022).
The study identified four groups of promising approaches to knife crime:

  • Diversionary activities
  • Strengths-based approaches
  • Knife crime programmes
  • Other ancillary interventions (e.g., health awareness, aftermath, and family interventions)

The key findings from the study include:

  • The frequency and severity of knife crime are changing, with participants suggesting it is both more prevalent and more serious than in previous years.
  • Participants were keen to stress the importance of a ‘child first, offender second’ approach to working with children.
  • Participants were keen to stress that a lack of resources and unhelpful commissioning arrangements were significant barriers to working with children when addressing knife crime.
  • Participants felt that a public health approach holds significant potential for responding to knife crime.

The study also found:

  • Despite some elements of knife crime programmes being effective, these should be considered as just part of a framework which includes more individualised and trauma-informed work.
  • Programmes alone should not be seen as an answer to the problem of knife crime.
  • Diversionary activities are considered to have potential but need careful evaluation
  • Mentoring may be a key part of the response.
  • Schools should be trauma-informed (exclusions and suspensions should be minimised, and alternatives to exclusion and suspension should be explored).

The research team emphasised that the key to addressing knife crime is early intervention and prevention, suggesting that once a child becomes involved with the criminal justice system, it can become more difficult to support them towards pro-social life choices.