ACCORDING to the latest figures, there’s a knife crime epidemic sweeping the country.

Mercifully, it seems we in Wiltshire are escaping the worst of it, although the number of reports made to our police about unlawful knife possession has risen.

There were 289 in 2016/17, compared to 270 in 2015/16.
Perhaps I’m misremembering, but I’m sure we were told ages ago that banning zombie knives from sale would do wonders for the knife crime problem.

Remember zombie knives? They were just like any other knives but painted in garish colours and had stencilled images of things like skulls. 

Strangely, banning them doesn’t seem to have made much of a dent in knife crime. Quite the opposite, in fact.
It’s almost as if the most important consideration in dealing with knife crime is the person holding the knife, rather than the knife they’re holding.
Who’d’ve thought it?   

Great idea guys... try it out yourselves

YOU’LL have heard of the scheme in which householders are to be offered a grand a month to put up NHS patients.

The aim is to prevent hospital bed blocking by patients recovering from minor treatment who live alone and have no loved ones living nearby.

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s an absolutely brilliant idea.

Admittedly, I can’t quite understand why NHS trusts would want to hand over huge sums of money to random members of the public instead of, oh, spending it on extra wards and extra staff, but that’s obviously because I lack the intellectual capacity of NHS bosses and their political masters.

Some cynics suggest that recovering from treatment in a hospital, surrounded by compassionate professionals who chose their careers carefully and then trained for years, is better than recovering among some random people who only need to be able to operate a microwave three times a day and are only doing that because they need the cash.

Those cynics should be ashamed of themselves, as should the ones who claim that all manner of disgusting sociopaths will be attracted to the scheme because they want to exploit vulnerable people financially and in even more horrible ways.

Oh, and any suggestion that the patients involved – people who have no close family to look after them – are absolutely the most vulnerable to exploitation is clearly nonsense. As with any visionary new departure in the way the public sector is run, there is a need for prominent people to take a lead and prove there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Who better than the prominent people in ultimate charge of the NHS – the senior managers and relevant elected folk in London?

We should ask everybody among them who thinks this scheme is a good ‘un to sign a simple yet legally-binding document.

I suggest something along the lines of: “I do hereby swear that if I am ever unfortunate enough to have surgery which requires a longish recuperation, I shall forego all opportunities to recuperate in a safe hospital bed, cared for by experts and surrounded by potentially life-saving equipment which can be deployed within about three and a half seconds should I take a turn for the worse.

“No, nothing like that for me. Instead I shall consign my welfare to some strangers from the internet who wouldn’t know a stethoscope or a thermometer from a nine-pound lump hammer – and who are only in it for the money, no matter how they like to pretend otherwise.

“I shall not worry that they are feeding me the cheapest condemnable rubbish they can find. Nor shall I worry that whoever gave them the go-ahead to look after patients was possibly in a hurry for their tea break, and wasn’t quite as careful as they might have been when it came to weeding out undesirables.

“On no account shall I worry that I have inadvertently been placed with people who want to make cushion covers from my skin, necklaces from my teeth and perhaps a set of castanets from parts of me I’d sooner not mention. Nor shall I worry that my hosts’ lack of expertise and equipment places me in any more danger than I would be in a hospital bed should some health crisis occur.

“Who needs a defibrillator anyway, when it’s just as easy to attach a set of longish jump leads to my nipples and run them through a window to the battery of a car parked outside?”

If that idea works, perhaps we could extend it to the key people in other public services.

Any politician or senior police officer who defends the ongoing depletion of frontline officer numbers, for example, might agree never to call the police and to gather their own evidence of crimes, even if there’s a murderous, googly-eyed cannibal maniac trying to smash through their front door.

And those who defend cuts to the fire service should agree to rely solely on neighbours with garden hoses should the worst happen.