Delyn MP David Hanson has backed the Government’s decision to end knife cautions for those over the age of 16. From today, anyone over the age of 16 caught in possession of a knife can expect to be prosecuted on the first offence.
Those under 16 who commit offences without aggravating factors can still expect to receive a caution coupled with referral to a knife education scheme to help them understand the dangers and consequences of carrying knives, and reduce the chances of re-offending. Their parents will also be notified and may receive parenting orders to ensure they play their part in changing their child’s behaviour. If they go on to re-offend they are likely to be prosecuted.
The effective end of knife cautions for the over 16s forms the key plank of a package of tough new measures which includes: £5 million of direct support for police and other delivery partners in the areas that are particularly affected by knife crime to support; increased use of searches; the fast-tracking the ‘knife referral project’ in which all young people convicted of a knife offence but not receiving a custodial sentence attend a course to bring home the consequences of knife crime; and home visits and letters to parents of those young people whom intelligence suggests are known to carry weapons.
David Hanson said:
“This Government is serious about tackling knife crime. People prosecuted for carrying a knife are now almost three times as likely to go to prison as ten years ago – from 6% in 1996 to 17% in 2006.
“The maximum sentence for carrying a knife has doubled to 4 years, and there is a new national £3 million advertising campaign to challenge the fear, glamour or peer pressure that can drive young people to knife crime.
“We need to work in partnership with police, young people, parents, support services and the broader community as part of a concerted effort to tackle knife crime and its underlying causes to ensure safer streets and communities for all.”