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Criminal Justice Act 1988

Volume 475: debated on Friday 16 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many people were (a) prosecuted and (b) convicted for an offence under section 139A of the Criminal Justice Act 1996 in each of the last 10 years; and on how many occasions the maximum sentence of two years imprisonment was imposed; (205373)

(2) how many people were (a) prosecuted and (b) convicted for an offence under (i) section 141A of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and (ii) section 1 of the Knives Act 1997 in each of the last 10 years.

Data showing the number of people proceeded against and convicted of offences under sections 139, 139A, 141 and 141A of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and section 1 of the Knives Act 1997 are in the table below. The number of people who received the maximum two year sentence under sections 139 and 139A(1) and the maximum four year sentence for section 139A(2) is also shown in the following table.

The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offence for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

Number of people proceeded against at magistrates’ courts and found guilty at all courts for selected knife offences1, England and Wales, 1997 to 20062, 3, 4

Proceeded against

Statute

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Section 139 of Criminal Justice Act 19886

4,466

4,867

4,556

4,606

5,798

6,941

6,903

7,313

7,277

7,654

Section 139A of Criminal Justice Act 19886

31

36

28

32

43

43

45

67

77

93

Section 1 of the Knives Act 19978

1

3

5

3

2

5

3

2

4

1

Section 141 of Criminal justice Act 19889

8

10

5

7

11

6

8

18

14

6

Section 141A of Criminal justice Act 198810

2

2

3

9

11

17

11

29

63

Found guilty

Statute

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Section 139 of Criminal Justice Act 19886

3,341

3,788

3,538

3,513

4,338

5,319

5,367

5,853

5,961

6,320

Section 139A of Criminal Justice Act 19886

35

31

29

29

41

36

43

77

73

85

Section 1 of the Knives Act 19978

1

2

2

3

1

1

1

Section 141 of Criminal justice Act 19889

4

10

3

1

5

5

4

12

10

4

Section 141A of Criminal justice Act 198810

2

2

2

8

10

17

9

26

51

Given the maximum sentence of two11 years.

Statute

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Section 139 of Criminal Justice Act 19886

1

1

1

1

1

1

Section 139A of Criminal Justice Act 19887

111

111

1

1 Following investigations, data from 1999 to 2004 for the offence “having an article with blade or point on school premises" for West Mercia PFA are deemed to have been coded incorrectly. These data are now included within the offence “Having an article with blade or point in a public place”. 2 Staffordshire Police Force were only able to submit sample data for persons proceeded against and convicted in the magistrates' courts for the year 2000. Although sufficient to estimate higher orders of data, these data are not robust enough at a detailed level and have been excluded from the table. 3 These data are on the principal offence basis. 4 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 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. 5 The number of people found guilty in a particular year may exceed those proceeded against, as it may be the case that the proceedings in the magistrates' court took place in the preceding year and they were found guilty at the Crown Court in the following year, or the defendants was found guilty for a different offence to the original offence proceeded against. 6 Includes “Having an article with blade or point in a public place.” 7 Includes “Having a blade or point on school premises” and “Possession of offensive weapons on school premises without lawful authority or reasonable excuse”. 8 Includes “Unlawful marketing of knives - Selling or hiring”, “Unlawful marketing of knives—Offers or exposes to sell or hire” and “Unlawful marketing of knives—has in possession for purpose of sale or hire”. 9 includes “Manufacture, importation and sale of certain offensive weapons”. 10 includes “Selling to a person under 18 a knife, knife blade, razor blade, axe or any other article which has a blade, that is sharply pointed and which is made or adapted for use for causing injury to the person”. 11 The maximum sentence for “Possession of offensive weapons on school premises without lawful authority or reasonable excuse” Section 139A(2) and 5(b) of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, is four years. The two instances(in 1997 and 1999) in the above table are where a four year sentence has been given. Source: Criminal Evidence and Analysis - OCJR