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British Scouts may no longer carry knives

LONDON, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- British Scouts will no longer be permitted to carry knives, even on camping trips, due to an increase in fatal stabbings, Scout officials said Sunday.

Traditionally, Scouts learned to use knives properly to cut wood for fires or to carve tools. Recently, the Scout Association said parents should be the ones to bring knives to meetings or on camping trips, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

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"We believe that young people need more places to go after school and at weekends, where they can experience adventure without the threat of violence or bullying and the need to carry weapons," a Scouts spokesman said. "Scouting helps to prepare young people with valuable life skills, while keeping them safe by not carrying knives."

Sheila Burgin, a Scout leader for the 4th Sevenoaks Scout Group in Kent, took exception to the policy change.

"The first Scout Law is 'The Scout is to be trusted.' Scouts, by law, are allowed to have Swiss army knives," Burgin said. "I think this is going too far -- you just don't know when a Scout will need a knife. If you teach children to use a knife properly they won't abuse it.

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"If someone wants to cause harm they will do it anyway," said Burgin, who teaches pen-knife carving.

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