Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Police officer's death thrusts knife crime into spotlight

Awhile back I wrote "The Brit's, A Foreshadowing of our Future?". It was basically a short commentary on the knife laws in London, and some of the measures the Brit's are attempting to get knives off of the streets.

Well, it does not seem to be working.


The death of a police officer today has thrust knife crime into the spotlight once more.

A brutal series of stabbings of mainly young people has left many parents fearful for the safety of their teenage children.

The stabbing today has been a further reminder of the grave dangers faced by police officers attempting to carry out their day-to-day duties.

Figures published last year showed that the number of people convicted of carrying a knife or blade in a public place had reached record levels.

Home Office statistics showed 5,784 people were found guilty of the crime in English and Welsh courts in 2004 compared with just 3,511 in 2000, a leap of 65%.

It was also disclosed that the number of children found guilty of the specific offence of carrying a knife on school premises had doubled from 18 in 2000 to 37 in 2004.
I am a bit confused here. Great Britain has very restrictive gun laws. These gun laws are supposed to have reduced violent crime, yet the violence continues?

What are the Brit's to do?

The widespread concern about knives has prompted a debate on how to tackle knife crime.
That's it. Have a debate.

This is what the U.K. has done so far:

A knife amnesty last year resulted in more than 100,000 knives being handed in to police forces in England, Scotland and Wales, and was hailed a success by ministers.

But a report by the Metropolitan Police suggested that such amnesties would not have a long-term impact on reducing knife crime.

An eight-week amnesty run by the Met over summer last year achieved only a slight dip in knife-related crime, with levels returning to normal within weeks, the review found.

Such amnesties were also criticised as a strategy by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, a charity based at King's College, London.

Given that there are some 22 million households in England and Wales, the knife amnesty held between May and June last year may only have succeeded in removing a tiny fraction of knives that might be used in crimes, it said.

The Home Office has countered such criticism by staying that amnesties are only one element of a three-pronged approach of prevention, education and enforcement measures for tackling knife crime.

In March, Home Secretary John Reid announced that data involving knives would be recorded separately as part of a package of measures to tackle the use of such weapons.

He also said the Government will improve facilities to allow the public to pass on information about knife crime to the authorities.

Teachers or security staff are also able to search pupils for knives and other offensive weapons without consent, under a new law which came into force at the end of last month.

The law follows powers allowing schools to use screening devices, such as metal detecting arches and wands, in a bid to protect students from knife crime.
Sound familiar? Same 'ol song and dance the anti's are doing here to stop "gun violence", with the same results.

Well heck, if all this has not worked, maybe they should come up with some newer, more restrictive laws.

In spite of such new powers, the Police Federation, representing frontline officers, has said current legislation is "unclear" and "arbitrary" in relation to knife crime and has called for an overhaul of legislation.

In a written submission to the Commons all-party Home Affairs Select Committee, the Federation called for the closure of loopholes which allow knife-carrying criminals to escape prosecution.

The Federation suggested changing the standard of proof so that prosecutors do not have to convince a court that someone found with a weapon intended to use it illegally - instead, the individual should have to prove they had an innocent reason for holding the weapon.

Laws which currently cover possession of weapons in public places should also be extended to private property such as homes, particularly to tackle domestic violence involving bladed weapons, the Federation said.

Home Office minister Vernon Coaker has ruled out introducing a minimum mandatory sentence for carrying a knife, such as the similar sentence introduced earlier this year for carrying firearms.

He said there needed to be a "distinction" between guns and knives.

Knives are lawfully available, he said, and there needed to be a law that was "proportionate and workable".

He said the Government had just increased the maximum sentence for carrying knives from two years to four years.
Did you notice this - "Laws which currently cover possession of weapons in public places should also be extended to private property such as homes". Next, only licensed butchers and meat packers will be able to own knives.

After they have written all the knife laws possible, and have metal detectors on every street corner and video surveillance in every kitchen, will the violence then stop? Or will violent people continue to commit violent acts?

At what point will someone in authority finally wake up and decide that maybe they should be focusing upon the violent offender instead of his tools.

I have a thought. Instead of banning firearms and knives, why don't we ban violent criminals? Just a thought.

Thanks to Tony, who emailed this article.


BobG said...

There is no way to control knives; they can be made too easily. And metal detectors will not help; I could make a dandy stabbing/slashing instrument with some polycarbonate plastic, or some glass and a bit of wrapping for a handle. If they can't keep convicts from manufacturing shivs in a controlled prison environment, what chance do they have in a general civilian population?

John R said...

Or you could use a Swordfish snout: