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Offensive Weapons: Sentencing

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons convicted of an offence of possessing a knife were dealt with by way of (a) a discharge, (b) a fine, (c) a community sentence, (d) a custodial sentence, (e) a custodial sentence of six months or more and (f) a custodial sentence of 12 months or more in (i) each of the last 10 years and (ii) each quarter in the last three years for which figures are available. (216725)

The figures requested are set out in the following table.

Persons sentenced1 for possession of a knife2 1996-2006

Discharged

Fine

Community sentence

Fully suspended sentence

Immediate custody

Otherwise dealt with

Total Sentenced

Custodial Sentence six months or more3

Custodial Sentence 12 months or more

1997

992

1,181

759

9

375

44

3,360

34

17

1998

1,084

1,187

925

16

550

42

3,804

67

19

1999

958

1,032

970

7

536

61

3,564

48

11

2000

912

996

1,080

14

506

54

3,562

69

27

2001

1,030

1,164

1,509

8

592

61

4,364

82

24

2002

1,166

1,356

1,954

14

773

63

5,326

114

27

2003

1,237

1,289

2,033

16

761

63

5,399

136

46

2004

1,281

1,148

2,565

21

815

78

5,908

147

44

Quarter 1

324

313

580

5

208

19

1,449

44

15

Quarter 2

330

293

635

2

174

23

1,457

36

12

Quarter 3

327

285

625

7

206

17

1,467

31

10

Quarter 4

300

257

725

7

227

19

1,535

36

7

2005

1,050

953

2,832

113

970

84

6,002

136

35

Quarter 1

264

256

722

7

228

22

1,499

36

6

Quarter 2

261

237

714

15

256

24

1,507

39

16

Quarter 3

272

244

702

34

239

21

1,512

33

6

Quarter 4

253

216

694

57

247

17

1,484

28

7

2006

907

691

3,007

552

1,075

102

6,334

193

43

Quarter 1

286

220

751

90

275

23

1,645

54

9

Quarter 2

225

166

779

116

273

25

1,584

49

12

Quarter 3

198

150

754

175

289

22

1,588

51

11

Quarter 4

198

155

723

171

238

32

1,517

39

11

1 Principal offence

2 Possession of a knife in a public place, and possession of a knife in a school

3 These figures include those persons sentenced for 12 months or more

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the Oral answer of 14 July 2008, Official Report, columns 1-2, on sentencing guidelines, what the evidential basis was for her statement that someone is now three times more likely to end up in custody for possession of a knife. (220637)

[holding answer 21 July 2008]: Figures show that in 1996, of 890 offenders sentenced for having an article with a blade or point in a public place, 56 received an immediate custodial sentence, comprising 6.3 per cent. In 2006, of 6,284 offenders sentenced, 1,070 received an immediate custodial sentence (17.0 per cent.): almost achieving a three-fold increase compared to 1996 figures.