West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has quizzed the Justice Secretary David Gauke on the effectiveness of the deterrence for people carrying a knife.
Currently, those convicted of illegally carrying a knife can completely avoid a custodial sentence.
With the rise of knife and violent crime in West Lancashire this year, and in particular in Skelmersdale, it would seem the current laws on carrying a knife do not do enough to discourage people from doing so.
In response, the Justice Secretary appeared to ignore the question suggesting there were other means of deterrence but failing to elaborate on what they were or their effectiveness, or whether he was satisfied that penalties were adequate or effective.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“There is again deeply upsetting and disappointing news that yet another person has been the victim of a knife attack in Skelmersdale on Sunday.
“The Police have assured me they have stepped up their efforts but stabbings are still occurring, even in broad daylight.
“I have this week asked the Justice Secretary about the minimum penalties for those convicted of carrying a knife and whether this is deterrence enough.
“I will also be meeting with the Policing Minister Nick Hurd to discuss the increase in knife and violent crimes this year. Police must be appropriately resourced to investigate and tackle this hugely dangerous and serious issue.”
“We all need to work together as residents also have a responsibility to report and surrender weapons that are coming into the town.”
Rosie Cooper, West Lancashire:
In the light of yet another stabbing at the weekend in Skelmersdale, and having heard the Secretary of State’s response to my Hon. Friend, I wonder whether he could indicate if he is satisfied that the penalties for knife crime and for those convicted of illegally carrying a knife, is adequate and effective especially as a deterrent?
David Gauke, Secretary of State for Justice:
Well as I have already set out, we are seeing more people going to prison and we are seeing the custodial sentence increasing for these offences following the change in the law. In terms of the question of deterrence, this is in part about sentencing and these are clearly serious offences but there are of course other factors when it comes to the deterrent effect that’s not just about sentences and that we have to bear in mind as well.