A senior police officer has said the best way to deal with a knife attacker is to "run away as fast you can", after a Tory MP suggested youngsters should learn Martial Arts to defend themselves.
Sir Christopher Chope said youngsters who got fit and learnt Judo or Tae Kwon Do would be better able to deal with a knife attack.
But Dave Thompson, the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police warned against relying on unarmed combat, and insisted that the best advice was always to run away.
Mr Thompson was appearing at the Home Affairs Select Committee, alongside Met Commissioner, Cressida Dick, to answer questions from MPs on serious violent crime.
They both said the current knife crime epidemic was the worst it had been in their long careers.
Sir Christopher, who is a member of the committee, said: "One of the ways in which people can be prepared is by doing Judo or Tae Kwon Do, being physically able and taught how to deal with a situation when you are threatened with a knife."
Mr Thompson replied: "The best knife prevention technique is to run away as fast as you can...I would probably not advocate a strategy of increasing combat readiness through martial arts of young people generally, but there is some attraction in those sports, they are hugely popular and they take young men off the streets."
I find myself learning towards the view on the Chief Constable (Mr Thompson) on this one. “Take up martial arts” strikes me as a very simplistic idea; from someone who has obviously never done martial arts or considered the reality of a knife attack.
It’s beyond the scope of this forum to discuss political and social issues. The self-protection side of things is in our wheelhouse, and I’m sure most would agree that escape (which is more than simply “running away”) and avoidance are the “best” options. Martial arts and combat sports don’t cover these things and can be downright harmful if false confidence results. I agree with the Chief Constable that martial arts can be part of more positive lifestyle choices though.
All the best,