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Punish those selling knives to children - Hinckley and Bosworth Liberal Democrats

August 1, 2008 12:00 AM

LIBERAL Democrats in Hinckley and Bosworth are calling for tougher action against those caught selling knives to children and young people.

Liberal Democrat Chairman Cllr Stuart Bray, made the call after being sent figures for prosecutions that were uncovered in Parliament by Chris Huhne MP, the party's Shadow Home Secretary.

The figures reveal that:

Only 71 people have been successfully prosecuted for selling knives to children in the last five years

None were sent to prison and only one was given a community sentence

56 people were fined, but 21 of them were given fines of less than £200

"This is a completely inadequate deterrent to unscrupulous shop keepers who flout the law to sell these weapons to children and young people," said Cllr Stuart Bray.

"These tiny fines and a lack of custodial punishment is the wrong signal to those who profit from the illegal sale of knives.

"These figures are particularly worrying as they came to light only days after the release of other figures showing 294 serious crimes in the Leicestershire area involved a knife in 2007/8. Knife crime is 19% of all serious crimes taking place here.

"These figures do not record children and young people separately but they do show that knife crime is a serious problem. It is too easy for children and young people to get hold of knives. Too many are being drawn into a culture of carrying and using knives.

"Liberal Democrats believe that the courts must take a much stronger stand against those who are fuelling knife crime by illegally selling knives to children and young people.

"Cutting the supply of knives will be one of the most effective ways to reducing knife crime in the first place."