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Offensive Weapons

Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) warnings, (b) cautions and (c) charges have been brought against persons for possession of knives in each of the last 10 years. (194275)

The number of persons given a final warning, caution, or 'proceeded against' at magistrates courts for offences involving the possession of knives in England and Wales for the years 1997 to 2006 is shown in the following table. Court proceedings data for 2007 will not be available until the autumn of 2008. Charging data is not held centrally, so information on the number of individuals proceeded against has been provided in lieu of charging data.

Number of persons given a final warning, caution, and proceeded against at magistrates courts for offences involving the possession of knives in England and Wales for the years 1997 to 20061, 2, 3

Final warning

Caution

Proceeded against

19974

n/a

1,629

4,888

19984

n/a

1,976

4,566

1999

28

1,618

4,566

20005

375

1,222

4,625

2001

519

883

5,823

2002

453

1,131

6,963

2003

433

1,070

6,928

2004

578

1,441

7,352

2005

736

2,094

7,319

2006

777

2,300

7,699

n/a = not applicable. 1 These data are on the principal offence basis. 2 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts, other agencies, and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. 3 Data include the following statutes and corresponding offence descriptions: Criminal Justice Act 1988 s.139(1) and (6): Have blade/article which was sharply pointed in public place. Criminal Justice Act 1988 s.139A(1): Having an article with a blade or point on school premises. 4 The scheme of reprimands and warnings under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 was piloted for 18 months from 30 September 1998 in a few selected areas. The scheme was rolled out nationally and replaced police cautions for juveniles from June 2000. Data for juvenile reprimands and final warnings are included in the ‘total cautioned’ figures presented in the table. 5 Staffordshire police force were able to submit sample data only for persons proceeded against and convicted in the magistrates courts for the year 2000. These data are therefore excluded from the table. Source: Court proceedings data held by RDS—Office for Criminal Justice Reform—Ministry of Justice. Our ref: IOS 165-08 (Table) [Contribution for PQ 194275].