Gun and knife crime

Gun and knife crime isn't as common as some people think. But it does happen. And guns and knives can affect everyone, not just people in gangs.

What exactly is gun and knife crime?

Gun and knife crime includes stabbing or shooting someone. But it's also illegal to:

  • carry a knife
  • threaten someone with a knife or gun
  • commit a crime with the use of a weapon - like a robbery
  • commit a crime by pretending you have a real knife or gun.

What you need to know:

  • if you carry a knife or weapon, you're more likely to be targeted by people who want to hurt you
  • if you feel you're in danger, you should tell a trusted adult or call Childline for help
  • it’s never too late to ask for help if you’re worried about gun and knife crime.

What if I'm involved in gun and knife crime?

It's never too late to get help if you're worried about gun and knife crime, or are involved with it already. You could talk to your teacher, another adult you trust or Childline. Your local youth club or community centre may run projects that are geared towards stopping gun crime, and you could get involved with these.

You can call Childline on 0800 1111 at any time if you're worried about your own safety. Or if you think someone you know is carrying or even using a gun or knife.

You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 if you want to report a crime that has happened. Don't be afraid to be strong and do the right thing.

What would happen if I got caught?

Some people carry weapons like knives and guns to feel protected, because of peer pressure or to feel powerful.  If you have a weapon you might not always plan to use it - whether you use the weapon or not, it is still illegal.

Police have the power to stop and search you if they think you or your friends have a weapon. You could be arrested or go to prison for carrying, buying or selling a weapon.

Situations involving weapons can get out of control very easily and you might not have time to think about your actions. You might feel safe by carrying a weapon, but it's very dangerous.

If you carry a weapon, you are putting your life and your future in danger. To get help and support, you can contact a counsellor in confidence at any time. You could also speak to an adult you trust like a parent, youth worker or other family member. 

If you or someone you know is in serious danger, you should dial 999 for urgent help.

If you carry a weapon, you are more likely to:

  • be attacked or threatened by other gangs who use weapons
  • be arrested by the police
  • kill or injure yourself badly with your weapon
  • hurt or kill others with your weapon
  • hurt innocent people if a fight happens
  • be charged with murder through joint enterprise if you're at a place where someone is killed, even if you weren't carrying the weapon.

How can I avoid gun and knife crime?

You may feel pressure from other people at school. You might want to be in a gang.

You might feel like you have to protect yourself. But carrying a knife is dangerous for you and other people.

It has been proven that if you carry a knife or weapon you are more likely to be targeted by people who want to hurt you, and more likely to be injured or even die because of this.

You shouldn't ever have to feel scared.

If you feel like you're in danger or are worried, you can call Childline on 0800 1111

If you feel that it's an emergency you can call the police on 999 and they should help you.

Why do people carry guns and knives?

Guns and knives can cause serious injury or even death. People who carry guns or knives may not ever plan to use them or hurt anyone. But they may find themselves in a situation that gets out of control.

Someone might want to carry one because they:

  • are scared and worried about their safety or the safety of friends
  • want to show off and scare people
  • want respect from other people