Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Should carrying a knife result in a mandatory five-year sentence?

John Denham, the innovation, universities and skills secretary has been talking about the new, tougher legislation on knife crime and anti-social behaviour.

Mr Denham said: "The knife crime we have seen recently and some of the drunken behaviour - we are not where we need to be on those issues. Where there are underlying problems, like the acceptance of gang culture among young people, knife carrying or too-readily-available alcohol to young people, we have got to carry on until we have beaten the problem. We have very powerful new legislation in place for the police to use to tackle these problems."

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: "It took two years for the government to wake up to the massive explosion in knife crime and concede to Conservative calls for an increase in the penalty for carrying knives. The government owes it to the public to take a grip of drink, drugs, and the broken homes that have spawned this plague on modern Britain."

The director of the Victims of Crime Trust, Norman Brennan, said: "The police should take community leaders with them so they can see the feral youngsters who are roaming our streets."

Mr Brennan is calling for mandatory five-year sentences for carrying a knife, mass stop-and-searches and the introduction of national or community service.

Q. Should carrying a knife result in a mandatory five-year sentence?

Click: HERE to vote.

(The results are archived by the British Library)

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William Gruff said...

As usual we get the same old cries of tougher sentences. The first thing one might ask is where, in a penal system that is now filled to capacity to the extent that criminals are being released before their sentences have been completed, will these people be kept? The second question is, given the ease with which drugs and weapons can be obtained in prison, how likely is it that incarceration for five years (with time off for 'good' behaviour) can help in the reform of anti-social drug addicts who are addicted to knife use?

Prison is no good. It simply keeps violent people out of harm's way, for a while and at great expense, and knives, in themselves, represent no threat to anyone. We have been taught to regard knives, and other weapons, as somehow evil but they are not. The problem, as with drink, lies with an anti-social minority and it is they who must be dealt with, not the law abiding majority who carry knives for entirely innocent purposes. There is, I now believe, a much more immediate and cost effective method of correcting young offenders before they reach the stage of wounding or killing others than custodial sentences.

It wants only the political courage of those who purport to lead us to implement it.

Daily Referendum said...

Mr Gruff,

Are you talking about corporal punishment? If you are, I tend to agree with you.

William Gruff said...

I am. Short, sharp and shocking. The video I saw was shocking but it was also impressive, and made a believer in corporal punishment out of me, a doubter. Anyone who has ever torn a strip of skin off by accident knows how painful it can be. No one would want to be flayed like that again and few would be stupid enough to risk it. I am convinced that it would be effective, and even with medical treatment for the malefactor (which I would not deny him) it would cost a great deal less than probation or community service. An added benefit is that in five years a thug could have a demonstrable record of five years as a good citizen, rather than be an ex-con and social cripple in need of social support.

I advocate this not for those carrying knives, which is, in itself, harmless and should not attract the attention of the law, but those using them to threaten or wound others.

Corporal punishment cannot prevent crime, nothing can, but I believe that it can substantially reduce it. Prison clearly does not work (witness the spiralling prison population). Those prone to violence believe in violence, and understand little else. Savages do not understand civilisation and if they cannot or will not accept its obligations and responsibilities they must be brought to fear them.

Daily Referendum said...

Mr Gruff,

I wrote a post a while ago and held a vote on corporal punishment. You may be interested in the results.

Just click on the label for Corporal punishment. (scroll down on the left)



kate said...

The main thing is people need to know that they wont get away with it. most kids 12 /17 year olds in my area carry knives and they arent scared about the consequences as there are none.