gavin williamson
© AFP/Justin Tallis
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson AFP / Tolga Akmen (R) A British police forensics officer.
UK armed forces stand "ready to respond" to the current knife crime epidemic blighting the country, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has declared, leading to much mockery on social media.

Williamson made the remarks during a question-and-answer session on Tuesday night in which he insisted the Ministry of Defense is always available to assist Home Secretary Sajid Javid to "tackle this problem [knife crime]."

The intervention has prompted much derision on Twitter, with many questioning how military personnel could ever provide necessary support to a highly complex issue.

Comments ranged from: "What's he going to do - sail a Trident submarine up the Thames and nuke the bastards?" to "Don't stop there, Gav. Any squaddies [soldiers] available for nursing duties?"

Williamson claimed that no request had been made but that armed forces "stand ready" to provide support, adding that the home secretary is "looking very closely" at various options to address the spate of murders committed with knives.

It comes after two 17-year-olds, Yousef Makkie from Cheshire and Jodie Chesney from London, were murdered at the weekend in the latest in a string of stabbings.

Figures published last month by the Office of National Statistics showed that there were 285 fatal stabbings in England and Wales last year - the highest since records began in 1946. Ten teenagers have been killed in knife attacks since the turn of the year, with half the victims in London.