Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Knife Policies

When I saw the headline "government knife strategy incoherent" I was expecting to hear calls for a complete ban. Was I wrong.

A study by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies says there is nothing to suggest that knife amnesties, such as the national amnesty held recently across the UK, are effective.

Report author Chris Eades also warns that the government's plans to increase the maximum sentence for carrying a knife from two to four years "smacks of a knee-jerk legislative response" to media concerns.

"Government and the police lack a coherent, evidence-based, reasoned strategy for dealing with knife carrying and knife-related offences," the report warns.

Funny how they link the completely victimless "crime" of carrying a knife with the use of knives in crimes. Of course, the government rejects any criticisms of its policies. The Tories tried to jump on the bandwagon and criticise Labour too-

Shadow home secretary David Davis said today's report was a sign that the government had failed to get a grip on the growing problem of knife crime, which he described as a "scourge on society".

"It completely undermines Labour's claims to be tough on crime. We have consistently proposed tougher measures on knife crime which the government have blocked - the public are now paying the price," he said.

So the report criticises knee-jerk sentence increases and the Tories repsonse is, "yeah, we told you that tougher sentencing is the way forward." Way to listen to what's actually being said. You just know that the Tories want to be seen to be doing more than Labour- regardless of the actual effect. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them propose a knife ban.

The key point of the report is this- "none of the government's proposals to tackle knife crime are based on any proper evidence – there had been little evaluation of local amnesties across the country, nor of education schemes." And yet that remains the government's policy, and they seem quite happy to carry on with it because they believe that it will work. The same way they believed that banning handguns would lead to a reduction in gun crime. And we all know how that one turned out.

Perhaps the solution is not to increase the sentence for carrying a knife but to throw violent criminals into prison for long, long periods of time. Regardless of what they use in the commission of their crime.
While they're at it perhaps they could stop harassing law-abiding citizens who simply try to defend themselves against thugs.

No comments: