A Tory MP has been roasted for suggesting that the answer to knife crime is for young people to simply get fitter.
Backbencher Sir Christopher Chope has suggested that young people should simply learn judo or taekwondo so that they avoid becoming victims of knife violence, and to dissuade people from carrying knives.
The comments come amid outcry over a spate of fatal stabbings of young people in England and Wales, as well as the highest level of knife crime since 2009.
Speaking during a committee hearing, Sir Chope said:
One of the ways in which people can be prepared is by, for example, doing judo, taekwondo, being physically able and taught how to deal with a situation where you are threatened with a knife
Do you think there is something to be said for increasing the encouragement for young people, so they don’t have to take a knife out?
They can protect themselves by actually knowing how to deal with such an incident, were it to arise.
In response, Dave Thompson, chief constable of West Midlands Police, said that the best type of knife prevention technique is 'to run away as fast as you can'. In response, Sir Chope said:
You need to be fit to do that.
He then said:
If they say I’m carrying a knife to protect myself, an alternative to that is to protect yourself by actually being fitter and more able to deal with that sort of attack.
Needless to say, Sir Chope's comments went down extremely badly online.
One expert said he was 'talking b******'.
Others made their views clear.
Sir Christopher Chope gained notoriety after he blocked the progress of a bill on upskirting from passing in 2018. Earlier this year, he blocked a planned law protecting children from Female Genital Mutilation.