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Friday, December 29, 2006

Make a stand over use of knives - report

The local paper in my city has kindly helped promote this blog - and its nature. That's a level of responsibility missing from some parts of the media.

Chichester Observer - Make a stand over use of knives

If you have a knife story in West Sussex that should be in the public domain, contact Clare Hawkin at the Observer.

Knife threat raises fears about police & authorities

Just now I received a very disturbing phone call from a Sussex resident. Chances are he could be dead now - it seems only luck, or God's grace, kept him alive to tell me his story.

He lives in a block of flats and, with his family, was terrorised for months by, he said, a man, as well as a woman who had suffered mental illness.

As well as being threatened by a knife, slogans were daubed around his home, doors kicked in. A very scary tale.

The knife was an ordinary kitchen carving knife - it was kept specially stored in the woman's home as a weapon (not kept in the kitchen). It had 'pride of place' to be brandished when the woman wanted to use it.

Calls to the authorities failed to solve the problem for many months. The worrying part here is that this law-abiding resident (from Chichester) could easily have been stabbed and died well before any action was taken to stop this woman threatening him with a knife.

Can the authorities, can the police be counted on when a knife attack is threatened or carried out? Looks like the jury is still out on this.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Knife weapons removed from shop window

When Shane Freer went into a Chichester hardware shop and easily bought a hunting-type knife so he could kill Jackie Marshall, the shop brazenly displayed such weapons in its window.

Walking past there last night amid the joyful Christmas lights, I noticed the flick-knives and what I would call 'obvious knife weapons' are no longer on show.

The shop - David Messam in East Street - is to be commended for taking a progressive step. While pen knives and the like are still advertised as some kind of 'must have' accessory, the 'obvious weapons' are not.

Do you know any other shops displaying 'obvious weapons' in their windows? Why not pop in and ask them to take them off the shelves. Just a thought.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Amnesties fail to cut knife crime

A Reuters report just published shows knife amnesties fail to reduce crime, despite taking thousands of weapons off the streets.

So the main argument put forward in the article to tackle knife crime was for the government to tackle the underlying causes of crime and develop a "coherent, evidence-based" response.

See Reuters report

I had said this after the trial of Shane Freer, who admitted killing Jacky Marshall at McDonald's in Chichester last year.

It seems like the evidence shows knife amnesties are next to useless. As one legal tactic, I believe politicians should focus on retailers.

Prevent easy access to at least the most dangerous knives by placing them in locked cabinets, require id to buy them, require licences if appropriate.

Main parts of the report:

Scotland Yard said a national amnesty which began in May after a series of high-profile stabbings had little effect in the capital.

Knife crime in London dipped briefly during the two-month amnesty, only to return to normal levels within weeks. About 100,000 knives were handed in across the country.

The police report showed there was an average of 34.9 knife crimes in London each day before the amnesty and 34.2 per day six weeks later.

Scotland Yard said amnesties were only one tactic used to fight crime.

"We have always recognised that a knife amnesty on its own is limited in its effectiveness in tackling knife crime," it said in a statement.

More than 1,000 people were arrested during the crackdown.

A charity reported in August that amnesties have a "negligible impact" on crime because knives can be bought anywhere.

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies said knives will be available "as long as there is unsliced bread".

It urged the government to tackle the underlying causes of crime and develop a "coherent, evidence-based" response.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Knives: Young Londoners targeted in anti-knife drive

I spotted an interesting idea from London which highlighted approaches to try to address the knife-carrying culture.

See article: Young People Now website

In short, five charitable trusts are supporting the initiative by funding the initiative. The organisations were chosen for their ability to target different groups in different settings.

Each will be funded for three years to carry out anti-knife work in a London area, with the possibility of a two-year extension.

One of the projects is likely to include a forum of 20 young people. They will be involved in peer education, and will also run events to publicise the dangers of carrying and using knives.