Hundreds of London bars to get bleed control kits to help knife victims

17 November 2019, 21:45 | Updated: 18 November 2019, 00:43

Hundreds of bars and pubs are to be given specialist medical equipment to treat catastrophic bleeding in response to rising knife crime.

Some 320 bleed control kits are being supplied to late-night venues in London's financial district over the coming months.

It is thought to be the biggest initiative of its kind in the country, following a pilot scheme in Birmingham earlier this year.

That came about after passionate campaigning by Lynne Baird, whose son Daniel was stabbed to death outside a pub in 2017.

She said she was "delighted" by the roll-out in the capital but she "doesn't want it to stop here".

"I hope that this launch today will spark more forces to join our campaign and help make these kits available up and down the country," she added.

The idea was also welcomed by Barry and Margaret Mizen, whose 16-year-old son Jimmy was murdered in a bakery in southeast London in 2008.

"This is not a panacea to solve knife crime, the idea really is to stop so many people dying," Mr Mizen told Sky News.

"And if it prevents just one person losing their life then that is no bad thing."

Mrs Mizen added: "When you lose a child to the violence the way we lost Jimmy, you really want to bring something good out of it.

"And I think Lynne Baird is trying to bring something good out of the death of her lovely son Daniel. I commend her for that, I think it's wonderful."

City of London Police said the decision was a "no-brainer" given rising levels of violent crime.

The force is covering the £25,000 cost with money raised by the local council from a late-night levy on licensed premises.

Chief Superintendent David Lawes told Sky News: "To not do nothing would be the travesty.

"This is a really, really simply piece of kit which can make a big difference.

"Particularly with the most catastrophic bleeds, if you don't get help in the first few minutes the person will almost certainly die."

The bright red containers are packed with trauma bandages, tourniquets and adhesive chest seals to treat knife wounds or gunshots.

Ambulances taking an average of seven minutes to get to patients suffering major bleeds so it is hoped the equipment will help bar staff and the public give potentially life-saving help before paramedics arrive.

Manufacturer Prometheus Medical will run a "show and tell" for all venues, similar to the advice in this demonstration video.

One of the first London venues to receive their kit was the St Paul's branch of the Slug & Lettuce.

General manager Shawn Bewick said he found the training "very easy" and it gave him the confidence to pass the skills on to all his bar staff.

"It reassures me because clearly the regular first aid kits don't have this type of equipment inside. This is a new thing, to be able to offer someone this level of help while we wait for an ambulance to come," Mr Bewick said.

In the 12 months to June 2019, there was a record high of 44,000 knife crimes in England and Wales.

NHS England figures show hospital admissions for all injuries caused by an assault with a knife or sharp object have gone up by almost a third since 2013, to 4,986 last year.