Knife crime fight undermined by ‘inconsistent and lenient sentences’

19 December 2018

PFEW Chair John Apter

National Chair John Apter

Efforts to combat a surge in knife crime are being undermined by inconsistent and lenient court sentences, argues PFEW National Chair John Apter.

According to the Sky report latest figures show that two-thirds of those carrying a knife escape a custodial sentence and one-in-five repeat offenders are still avoiding prison, despite the government introducing a "two-strikes and you're out" policy for those caught with a knife on more than one occasion.

National Chair John Apter, said: "For far too long, we've been soft on those who carry knives and those who inflict injuries with knives. A tougher approach to sentencing is urgently needed.

"We need to step up our game as a country and demonstrate that carrying a knife is completely unacceptable.

"That's where the law must step in and there must be a consequence.

"There's got to be a consequence, because without that consequence, this epidemic in knife crime will continue and these kids will keep getting murdered on our streets."

In the year to September, more than 21,300 knife and offensive weapon offences were dealt with by the criminal justice system in England and Wales, including around 4,500 committed by children.

Mr Apter continued: "I believe strongly in rehabilitation of offenders, people should have chances.

"But there are some people who just need to be locked up, they need to be punished, there needs to be a consequence for their action.

"We hear all too often about these offenders, who dress up in a suit for their annual court appearance, they stand in front of a magistrate or a judge and they're given a slap on the wrist.

"As they turn around, they're laughing, literally they are laughing, they are taking advantage of a soft system and it's a disgrace, it's letting down the public and it's letting down the victims."