Solutions to knife crime: a path through the red sea?

by Sue Roberts (University of Portsmouth)

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With this work, Sue Roberts addresses a complex and important topic by melding a practitioner and scholarly approach. The result is a practical handbook that is also a work of real academic rigour.
[…] an important work that argues convincingly for the need to adopt a partnership approach to dealing with the issue of knife crime.

Dr Mark Field
School of Area Studies, History, Politics and Literature
University of Portsmouth

This is a very timely book. It rightly claims that contemporary explanations have been left largely to journalists, so that the book has stolen the march on filling a void in academic research on the current surge in knife crime. The major strength of the book is in offering not just explanations, but also in offering solutions derived from a solid research base. Most notably, the approach used presents a richly textured context in which the research took place. Indeed, suggested solutions are developed from a combination of a solid public policy background, and also, crucially, from the voices and views of those most affected by, and involved in, knife crime. The resulting picture is a powerful one: of central government overlooking all of the above factors, but also of one where there is hope in the form of a reservoir of workable approaches to be tapped, along with an identification people who can lead and deliver change if only they are given the resources.

Tom Ellis
Institute of Criminal Justice
University of Portsmouth

This book addresses one of the UK’s most persistent and serious concerns: knife crime. While research diagnosing the cause of rising knife crime abounds, few studies articulate effective solutions to this complex social problem. Drawing on data from cities across the UK, Sue Roberts suggests concrete forms of collaboration that may just spare future generations from the worst of this terrifying scourge.
“Solutions to knife crime: a path through the red sea?” will fascinate law-enforcers, policy-makers, criminologists and other specialists both within and outside academia. It will also appeal to anyone who’s been affected, or is simply concerned, by this blight on British society.

List of figures and tables

Chapter 1 The problem with knife crime

Chapter 2 Summary of the findings

Chapter 3 Knife crime in Britain

Chapter 4 Lived Experience

Chapter 5 Working together

Chapter 6 Remedial actions

Chapter 7 A new partnership working

Chapter 8 The project

Chapter 9 Research design
i) Theoretical framework
ii) Phenomenology
iii) Background to phenomenology
iv) The philosophical background
v) Transcendental phenomenology
vi) Hermeneutic phenomenology
vii) Finer details of phenomenology
viii) Anomie and General Strain Theory
ix) Strain Theory

Chapter 10 History of the research
i) Research for this study and “wicked problems”
ii) Knife crime now
iii) Why we must re-establish links with communities

Chapter 11 Loss of youth services

Chapter 12 Cuts to services and local authorities in Britain

Chapter 13 A sense of community
Social capital and communities

Chapter 14 Communities

Chapter 15 The Haves and Have Nots

Chapter 16 Neighbourhood Policing

Chapter 17 Gangs
i) Postcode gang wars.
ii) Campus Cops
iii) Possible remedies for gang violence?
iv) Radicalisation and gangs

Chapter 18 Deprivation, policy, race

Chapter 19 School Exclusion

Chapter 20 Poverty

Chapter 21 Youth violence and the loss of public services

Chapter 22 Social media

Chapter 23 Framing solutions
i) Stop and search
ii) Reasonable suspicion

Chapter 24 Working together to tackle knife crime

Chapter 25 Partnership, Cure Violence and the VRU
The partnership approach in Cure Violence

Chapter 26 The case for policy transfer to tackle knife crime
i) A review of the Scottish policy
ii) The British policy

Chapter 27 Conclusion

Glossary of Terms

Sue Roberts is a senior lecturer in Politics and Public Administration at the University of Portsmouth. Reflecting her background in local and national government - 15 years as a manager in public services - Sue’s research interests are in community safety, policing, multi-agency partnerships and collaborative working. In partnership with the University of Macerata, she managed an EU project in Romania and Bulgaria to bring public sector partnerships in work and training to emerging democracies in Europe. She retains strong links with local multi-agency partnerships and groups across Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey, London and the North of England. She is currently researching effective solutions to knife crime through collaborative working.

Knife crime; Youth violence; Partnership Working; Collaborative Working; Government Policy

See also

Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Solutions to knife crime: a path through the red sea?





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm


9 B&W

Publication date

September 2021