» Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Knife Crime

Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned about new sentencing guidelines stating that people caught with knives could escape with a fine or community sentence, the PMS made clear that the Sentencing Guidelines Council was an independent body. The guidelines they had issued were not saying that if you injure someone with a knife, you would get a fine; they were saying that there were a range of sentences and of course the most serious offences would be dealt with either by custody or given that these guidelines were for magistrates, the Crown Court.

Where a knife was used in a crime, the appropriate offence would be charged, for example, grievous bodily harm would carry life imprisonment. The Prime Minister thought that we needed to continue to look at what more we could do in order to discourage a culture of knife-crime in this country.

This was why the Government had doubled the maximum sentence for possession of a knife, we had introduced a new offence of using someone to mind a weapon, we had given school staff powers to search pupils for weapons, we had raised the minimum age at which a person could buy a knife from 16 to 18years and in the Violent Action Plan, published a few weeks ago, the Government said it would provide police with 100 portable knife arches and 400 search warrants. So of course, we would continue to look at what more we could do, but we had already done a lot of work to help tackle the culture of knife crime in this country.

The other issue that the Prime Minister had been talking about was the need for a presumption to prosecute. There were much more widespread fines or community orders in relation to knife crime, which unlike warnings which were previously more prevalent, do carry a criminal record. So the Government was continuing to tighten up sanctions relating to knife crime wherever it could.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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