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Crime: Knives

Volume 684: debated on Wednesday 12 July 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many weapons were handed in to the police during the five-week national knife amnesty in May and June; whether these have been categorised by type; if so, how many of each type were handed in; and how many were handed in in each of the 51 police areas of England, Wales and Scotland.[HL6737]

Figures for the number of items handed into the police during the knife amnesty in England and Wales are currently being gathered from forces and collated. The figures will be released later this month. Figures for the number of items handed in under the knife amnesty in Scotland are a matter for the Scottish Executive.

The amnesty was one part of our wider strategy to tackle knife crime. Provisions have also been introduced in the Violent Crime Reduction Bill to tighten legislation, including raising the age at which someone can be sold a knife to 18, introducing a new offence of using someone to mind a weapon and new powers for head teachers to search pupils for knives.

The Home Secretary announced on 19 June that he was giving very serious consideration to the suggestion that the maximum sentence for having a knife or blade in a public place should be increased from the current sentence of two years. We are also supporting education and prevention projects aimed at highlighting to young people the risks of carrying knives. Following on from the amnesty, many forces will now focus enforcement effort on knife possession to ensure that those carrying knives are brought to justice.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their assessment of the research by the Press Association which showed that there were 91 serious knife attacks in England and Wales from 24 May to 30 June, 19 of which were fatal stabbings.[HL6738]

The Government are aware that there have been a number of knife-related incidents during the period of the knife amnesty—some of which have been fatal. The knife amnesty is one element in our overall strategy to tackle knife crime and has served to highlight the importance of this issue as well as removing dangerous weapons from circulation.

We are also tightening legislation. Provisions have been introduced in the Violent Crime Reduction Bill to tighten legislation, including raising the age at which someone can be sold a knife to 18, introducing a new offence of using someone to mind a weapon, and new powers for head teachers to search pupils for knives. The Home Secretary announced on 19 June that he was giving very serious consideration to the suggestion that the maximum sentence for having a knife or blade in a public place should be increased from the current sentence of two years.

We are also supporting education and prevention projects aimed at highlighting to young people the risks of carrying knives. Following on from the amnesty, many forces will focus enforcement effort on knife possession to ensure that those carrying knives are brought to justice.