Monday, 21 July 2008

New figures expose Government failure on knife crime – Giles McNeill

Action needed to tackle worrying rise of young people carrying and using knives

Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Councillor, expressed deep concern today about new local knife crime statistics published by the Government, and called for action to tackle the growing menace.

The official figures published by the Home Office show that across Lincolnshire, there were 71 serious offences last year involving knives.18% of all wounding, grevious bodily harm or robberies were committed with a knife in Lincolnshire. Nationally, the figure is 19%.

Conservatives are calling for a series of urgent measures to reduce knife crime, which include:
· Anyone convicted of carrying a knife should expect to receive a custodial sentence. Currently, the Government is planning to allow offenders carrying a knife to be let off with a fine in some circumstances.

· Making it easier for police officers to stop suspects and search them for knifes and other weapons, and increasing use of mobile knife scanners on the streets and on public transport (as already being successful trialled in London by Boris Johnson).

· Providing more custodial places for young offenders, and increasing support for drugs and education programmes, and tackling the causes of knife crime such as family breakdown, lack of school discipline and welfare dependency.

Giles McNeill commented:
“I am very concerned about these new figures showing the the menance of knife crime on our streets. This is a shocking indictment of Labour’s failure to tackle crime and its causes.

“Our police have been tied up in so much red tape that they can only spend 14 per cent of their time on the beat fighting crime. At the same time our unprotected borders have allowed too many weapons and hard drugs to flow into our country. Labour have also failed to address family breakdown which sets too many young people on a path of crime.

“Conservatives would start tackling this crime crisis by freeing our police from red tape and targets so they can be deployed on our streets to catch and deter criminals. We need stronger deterrent sentences such as a presumption of prison for those convicted of knife crime. And we will address the fundamental causes of crime like drugs and family breakdown.”

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