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Knife Possession

Volume 570: debated on Tuesday 12 November 2013

17. What assessment he has made of the most recent quarterly statistics on knife possession sentencing under the new offence of aggravated knife possession, published in September 2013. (901045)

Knives on our streets are a social scourge, and that is why we introduced new mandatory minimum sentences for threatening with a knife. Few offenders have been sentenced so far, but the majority have received custodial sentences. We are keeping this whole area under close scrutiny and I have raised how the offence is being sentenced with the senior judiciary and the Sentencing Council.

I am grateful for the Secretary of State’s reply, but does he agree that Parliament has spoken, that the offence should carry mandatory sentences, and that sentencers should bear in mind the will of Parliament? Will he use the opportunity to press the case for introducing mandatory sentencing for possession as well?

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for his work in this area. I also pay tribute to the work done by members of his community in Enfield, whom I have met and spoken to. I fully understand the nature of the impact of knife crime on their community and on communities around the country. I assure him strongly that we will keep the issue under review. The clear will of Parliament is that such offences should be dealt with with great severity. I hope that those presiding over our courts recognise the will of Parliament. I also assure him that I continue to look at this area extremely carefully.