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West Midlands Police Federation

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Plans to tackle knife crime don’t go far enough, says Fed chair

1 February 2019

New Government proposals to tackle the knife crime epidemic do not go far enough, the chair of West Midlands Police Federation has argued.

The Home Office has announced it is seeking to amend the Offensive Weapons Bill to include the following new measures:

  • The introduction of Knife Crime Prevention Orders
  • Increased action against traders who sell knives to children
  • More money to help Trading Standards prosecute retailers who repeatedly sell blades to under 18s, and
  • The continuation of the #knifefree campaign.

But Federation chair Rich Cooke says tougher action is required.

“What I want to see is enforcement of the law, and severe punishments. These children may be young in years but they are killing people with the knives they carry. If they want to commit offences of this severity then minimum custodial sentences should apply; no early release, hard time is required,” he explained.

“I also think that any ASBO-style order just imposes further burdens on the police to enforce them at a time when our resources are already being stretched to the limit.”

The new Knife Crime Prevention Orders would be given to anyone aged 12 or over with the aim of stopping vulnerable young people from becoming involved in knife possession and knife crime. They would fill a gap not covered by gang injunctions and criminal behaviour orders.

Introducing the measures, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I have been clear that I will do everything in my power to tackle the senseless violence that is traumatising communities and claiming too many young lives.

“The police already have a range of measures they are using to keep our streets safe, but there is more we can do to help them in this battle. I have listened to their calls and will be introducing these new orders to stop gang members carrying knives in the first place.

“It is vital we continue to focus on improving the law enforcement response while at the same time steering young people away from criminal activity in the first place.”
But the national chair of the Police Federation, John Apter, claimed the Home Secretary had, yet again, missed the opportunity to make a significant impact on knife crime.

“The Government is simply tinkering around the edges of this highly complex and very serious issue. While I cannot fault Mr Javid’s intentions, I do not hold out much hope that these measures will have the dramatic impact I am sure he is hoping they will,” John said.

And he added: “Mr Javid says he has listened to the police. But his hearing appears to be selective. I urge him to listen now, to listen to the public, and to listen to my members when they tell him the most effective way to address this problem is by putting more police boots on the ground.

“We need officers out on our streets actively targeting this crime epidemic where it is happening, and helping to stop yet more lives being lost to this preventable evil.”