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UK Prime Minister Announces Crackdown On Knives

Prime Minister Announces Crackdown On Knives

The Prime Minister has announced an extension of tough measures aimed at getting knives off the streets and reducing knife-related crime.

Following meetings in Downing Street this morning, Gordon Brown said that from today anyone over the age of 16 caught in possession of a knife can expect to be prosecuted on the first offence rather than cautioned.

The PM said:

"We have to send out a message and reinforce it with immediate action. It is completely unacceptable to carry a knife. Young people need to understand that carrying knives doesn't protect you, it does the opposite - it increases the danger for all of us, destroys young lives and ruins families. Recent tragic events have reminded us of that. I am pleased to see the Police and the Courts working with us to tackle this and make the streets safe in all our communities."

Those under 16 who commit offences without aggravating factors can still expect to receive a caution coupled with referral to a knife education scheme to help them understand the dangers and consequences of carrying knives. Their parents will also be notified and may receive parenting orders to ensure they play their part in changing their child's behaviour.

The Number 10 summit held this morning was attended by Ken Jones, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), and Ken Macdonald, the Director of Public Prosecutions. Prior to the meeting the PM also spoke with young people inside Number 10, some of whom have been victims of knife and gun crime.

Explaining the new measures, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said:

"I am serious about getting knives off our streets. We have doubled the maximum sentence for carrying a knife to 4 years, launched a new national £3 million advertising campaign to challenge the fear, glamour or peer pressure that can drive young people to knife crime, increased the use of stop and search by police, improved witness anonymity and extended knife referral schemes so that young people convicted of carrying a knife receive education on the dangers and risks.

"Those who carry a knife on our streets need to know that they will be caught and should expect to end up in court. They will face tough consequences."

ENDS

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