British Reformers Propose Ban On Pointy Kitchen Knives

300px-Chef's_KnifeWhat will happen to Col. Mustard in the dining room with the kitchen knife? It is not just Clue aficionados that will be effected by a new reform being proposed in England, pointy kitchen knives may soon be a thing of the past. A group associated with West Middlesex University Hospital is proposing a ban in the British Medical Journal on pointy kitchen knives as unnecessary from a culinary standpoint and downright dangerous from a crime standpoint.

The proponents of the ban insist that the ready availability of pointy kitchen knives are fueling injuries, particularly in cases involving alcohol and drugs where they are used as weapons.

220px-Chinese_and_old_North_American_cleaversThe group interviewed 10 top chefs around England and none of the chefs described pointy knives as essential. They said that they could use small pointed knives instead that threaten a far less serious wound in an attack. There does remain of course the question of the cleaver which resembles a medieval weapon.

The group notes that 24% of 16-year-olds have been shown to carry weapons, primarily knives. I doubt though that those are kids carrying kitchen knives, which leads to the question if other knives like camping knives will also be banned.

One fact that I was not aware of was that the French ordered table and street knives ground smooth in the 17th Century and that blunt kitchen knives were decreed in England in the 18th Century. We have seen a steady stream of kitchen knife attacks like this one where the availability of the knives combines with momentary rage.

For many, the proposal is a continuation of England’s reputation as a growing “nanny state.” We have previously discussed (here and here and here and here) some English laws that do appear to micromanage the choices of adults in that country. Previously we saw how scissors were being regulated at English library in fear of people stabbing each other. This proposal does raise the interesting question of why kitchen knives have to be pointed. I can see an educational campaign to encourage people to move away from the use of such knives, but is a prohibition warranted?

Ironically, the move will be cited by NRA advocates who have long argued that once guns were regulated, advocates would move to control kitchen knives. The argument was treated as absurd but this proposal is now picking up steam inside and outside England.

220px-GlennalexPutting aside the personal choice issue, there is also the question of what Hollywood will do without the ever present kitchen knife to use in movies like Fatal Attraction. Somehow the blunt butter knife is not going to cut it, even in the hands of a furious Glenn Close. Of course, Gwyneth Paltrow showed how a meat thermometer can be a perfect substitute in A Perfect Murder.

So what do you think? Is it time to disarm Col. Mustard . . . or if we outlaw kitchen knives, will only outlaws be able to chop and mince effectively?

Source: BBC

34 thoughts on “British Reformers Propose Ban On Pointy Kitchen Knives

  1. Who thinks that the NRA may have funded this “study”? Good grief. In a country where employers are forcing workers to accept “no hour” contracts, this is what some people are worried about and studying. Misplaced effort.

  2. Every try to open a foil-sealed pack of medication with a butter knife?

    Wondering if in the rush to make us all safe, we are polluting the gene pool with undesirables that would normally die off due to sheer stupidity and bad luck, thereby passing inferior genes down the human chain of life. Survival of the fittest allowing for the best adapted mutation to carry on may give way to survival of all and ruin any chance for us to look like David McCcallum in the Outer Limits episode, “The Sixth Finger”:

  3. So the British will now need a special tool for making small holes in roasts to insert garlic (or whatever). What’s next, mandate that we all must wear only paper gowns in case we feel like hanging ourselves?

  4. I thought the English got over that with the repeal of the Act of Proscription (19 Geo. 2, c. 39) in 1782. The Act was passed shortly after the battle of Culloden Moor in April 1746, Scots were not allowed to have pointy knives…..or bagpipes. Those were considered “weapons of war” as well.

    And what Catullus said. How do they expect one to open a child proof medicine package with its nearly indestructible Mylar cover, which seems to be glued down with Super Glue?

  5. If I am ever in need of medical attention in the UK, I will make sure that I avoid that so called hospital that only uses butter knives for their surgeons. Or maybe they have all their surgical knives registered with the government to ensure that no unauthorized person gets hold of one. Fortunately, this is only a fringe group that thinks that we need more laws to provide for public safety to an absurd degree.

    As I pointed out once before, just see what happened to smoking. First it was no smoking areas, then it went to complete bans. Now some places are outlawing smoking in ones home and car. So the NRA fear is not paranoia at all. One has to use common sense in our laws and set limits, but unfortunately legislators are not prone to such things since demagogy is a surefire way to get headlines and votes. I do think that background checks for ALL gun purchases is a common sense measure that we do need.

    Poor Alfred Hitchcock must be spinning in his grave. If Pycho did not generate a ban on knives, I don’t think that this group will be any more successful.

  6. I heard about this movement 5 years ago, I thought it absurd back then and thought it had stabbed itself with its overreach. I guess I thought wrong.
    This is a symptom of a extremist pathological groupthink.
    There is a phenomenon in the mind, that is emergent when a person concludes that some principle is absolutely true in some limited context, then it must be true in all contexts.
    So, in this example, pointy knives are bad in some circumstances, blunting pointy knives is good, conclusion: blunting all pointy knives for everyone is all good for everyone.

  7. Next: pencils, pens, knitting needles, pointed sticks, anything used in gardening, dental instruments, screwdrivers………….Never mind non-pointy things

    Never doubt human ingenuity. When authorities in UK banned from stadiums anything that could be construed as a weapon to control soccer violence, the hooligans invented a way that you can fold newspaper into a hard and heavy club that they used to attack the opposition.

  8. Next thing you know, by the logic some lawmakers use, they may want to ban ice cream. Dr. Ionica Smeets of the Netherlands explains in a TED talk.

  9. They need them to cut off the head of Kings and Queens like my ancestors did, but I guess the ones who did that have all left not so Merry England centuries ago. Maybe I should move there and carry on the family tradition.

  10. Using knives as weapons!?

    Careful examination of statistically significant sample of kitchen knives demonstrates that in addition to the dangerous point, they also have an even more dangerous sharp edge.

    If you care about his sort of thing, it behooves you to demand that the sharp edge be ground flat as well.

    Excuse me but I am cooking a roast tonight and I need to try my best to cut it with a very thin metal rod I found in the knife rack.

  11. There is no more Colonel Mustard. The newest version of Clue has changed several weapons, several rooms and the names. I believe Colonel Mustard is now simply _guy’s name_ Mustard, and he’s an athlete, I believe.

    But on this topic, wow, how stupid… Pointy knives? Really?

  12. I use the point of the knife to open packages… Don’t know about anybody else. It comes in handy.

    Also, so to poke into some fruits and vegetables before slicing.

  13. Jude,

    Well, someone needs to tell that to a Wikipedia editor:


    There are 11 suspects in Clue Suspects, listed below. These include the original six suspects from the game of Clue (marked with an asterisk), plus five additional ones.”

    “Dagger (knife in North American editions, each represented by a respective depiction)

    Colonel Mustard appears to have survived the cut. No pun intended. (:

    So there you have it:

    Colonel Mustard with the dagger (knife in N.A.)… on the Turley blog.

  14. Hey, Jude. Say it isn’t so. Jack Mustard? What’s the world coming to! (:


    “It has been criticized for destroying the quaintness and charm of the original Cluedo” (from the Cluedo: Discover the Secrets link)

    Miss Scarlett becomes Kasandra Scarlet, a famous actress often featured in tabloids.
    Colonel Mustard becomes Jack Mustard, a former football player.
    Mrs. White becomes Diane White, an ex-child star seeking the spotlight.
    Reverend Green becomes Jacob Green, a go-to guy “with all the ins”.
    Mrs. Peacock becomes Eleanor Peacock, a manners freak from a political family.
    Professor Plum becomes Victor Plum, a billionaire video game designer.


    The lead pipe, spanner/wrench, and revolver have all been dropped from the original list of possible weapons used and replaced with the baseball bat, dumbbell, and pistol. Likewise, the knife officially replaces the dagger in UK editions. In addition, an axe, trophy, and poison have been added, bringing the total number of murder weapons up to nine as follows:

    Rope (orig.)
    Candlestick (orig.)
    Knife (orig. US, replaces Dagger in UK ed.) …. weapons continue


    As one might expect, we now have more weapons. Drones will be added, at some point in the future.

  15. Jude,

    They took away the lead pipe and added an axe, among other handy weapons!

    “The mansion gets remodeled with a spa, home theater and guest house. The new characters each have a “special power” to help them solve the mystery more quickly, and there’s an extra deck of cards that can eliminate players.

    The wrench, lead pipe and revolver are being replaced with different weapons, and more of them: a pistol, poison, an ax, a baseball bat and a dumbbell are among the additions. (The candlestick remains.) Daviau explains the weapon choices: “Would this really be in the Hamptons, or a Hollywood mansion setting? Would someone have a lead pipe lying around?”

    Well, they might. Just last week in Charleston, W.Va., police charged a woman with assault after she swung a metal pipe at two people’s heads and used it to ram a hole in a door. What more proof does Hasbro need of the lead pipe’s staying power?

    “The game isn’t the same without the lead pipe,” Chapman says. “That was always one of my favorite weapons.””

    The things one learns via the Turley blog.

  16. Dear God, they cannot be serious can they? Good luck preparing your evening meal using a knife that can hardly cut through bread without tearing it to pieces!

    This is going further than becoming a “nanny state” – if this ban were to go through, Britain would be losing their complete minds. You think that removing knives will stop people using them as weapons? They’ll only find something else that they can use!

  17. The Kitchen knife story is total nonsense, the British Parliament has never sought to ban kitchen knives and the story came about due to a 2005 BBC Article in which three doctors Emma Hern, Will Glazebrook and Mike Becket at one hospital the West Middlesex University Hospital who expressed a view in relation to Home Office suggestions in respect of reducing violent crime.

    The Home Office responded back in 2005 saying “the law already prohibited the possession of knives in a public place without good reason, with the exception of a folding pocket knife with a blade not exceeding 8cm (3in)”.

    There has been no kitchen knife ban in the UK, there has never been any legislation regarding banning kitchen knives and there are no plans to ban kitchen knives in the UK full stop. So will the American Gun Lobby just drop this tired old story which has little truth to it.

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