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Offensive Weapons

Volume 475: debated on Friday 9 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what further steps he is considering to reduce the level of knife crime in Northern Ireland following previous amnesties; (203726)

(2) what plans he has for (a) a further amnesty and (b) other measures to seek to reduce the level of knife crime in Northern Ireland.

A number of initiatives have been introduced since the last amnesty and are now in operation across Northern Ireland to reduce the level of knife crime. PSNI have rolled out the use of metal detectors and also introduced a stop and search policy. New legislation has been introduced to make it more difficult to obtain knives by raising the minimum age limit for purchase to 18. Last month, it became illegal in Northern Ireland to manufacture, sell, hire or import samurai swords. The recent Criminal Justice (NI) Order contains powers which double the penalties for possessing a knife in public and also for selling/manufacturing/marketing knives to under 18s.

Knife disposal bins have been retained on site at civic amnesty locations and PSNI education officers continue to raise awareness in schools on a number of key issues, including the dangers of carrying a knife.

Knife crime is totally unacceptable. While the Government currently have no plan to re-run the knife amnesty, we will continue to consider a range of policies and initiatives to tackle knife crime in Northern Ireland.