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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.

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