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Allowing the police to focus their attention on those likely to be offending and tough penalities for carrying knives. Sounds very good to me.

All good stuff but Grieve sounded like a wet bureaucrat on the Westminster Hour.
He's not half the politician that Davis was.

Ah, the innovative new thinking of the Cameron era!

Ever since World War Two - that is, for more than sixty years - both Conservative and Labour govts have tried to curb violent crime by passing ever more draconian weapons laws and demanding ever more action from an ever increasing police force aimed at putting ever more people in jail.

And it has failed dismally.

So what's the answer, universally hailed from the entire political spectrum?

More laws! More action! More police! More people in jail!

What has to happen - how many people have to die - for these morons to realise how stupid they're being?

Ok then clever clogs Swanson: What would you do?

Sounds very good to me

All good stuff

Why do you think this? Look around you! These are the very same policies that have brought about this mess!

Go and think some more.

If Cameron is doing this to get the support of people like you then innocent blood is on your hands too.

Call me naive, but it isn't the knives themselves that are the problem - it is the people using them! Years ago all little boys carried a penknife and the most sinister use of them tended to be carving their initials in a tree or on their school desk.
The underlying culture which leads to kids killing other kids has to be tackled and that is going to take a generation!

What a contrast:

Brown telling me that I shouldn't be buying the 3 for 2 offers in Sainsbury's.

Cameron promising to jail knife thugs.

The next Election could be very easy to win.

Ok then clever clogs Swanson: What would you do?

Well I wouldn't follow policies that clearly don't work.

I'd repeal all the laws that stop people owning or carrying knives, except keeping them to apply only to those already convicted of a violent offence. I'd tell the police to stop wandering round the streets picking off teenagers at random and focus on those carrying out real crimes. I'd license pepper sprays for women. I'd toughen up self-defence laws: instead of "reasonable force" people would be allowed to use any force "not grossly excessive".

I'd remove all the laws which restrict the ordinary citizen and make them powerless against thugs.

I'd beef up discipline in schools so that young children and teenagers get the message really early that society has rules and expects them to be obeyed.

I'd repeal the handgun ban and set up shooting clubs in the inner cities where teenagers could learn to use weapons safely from proper male role models, and where it's clear that being a proper law-abiding member of society gets you more power and respect than being a thug.

I'd probably do more than that but that's just off the top of my head.

Alex Swanson is spot on. Criminalising the tens of thousands of youngsters who carry knives out of fear is just sheer lunacy.

I think Jennifer (0924) has hit the nail on the head. Labour have given up on crime - they have failed to crack it after 11 years and they are all out of ideas. Their desire for central control has been their undoing and has stopped the police from getting on with their jobs.

If this type of announcement is what Cameron means by the 'post-bureaucratic age' then I say bring it on.

Good answers Mr Swanson.

To reflect the extreme danger of knife wounds, I’d define any knife attack as attempted murder and punish it as such.

This political posturing which takes discretion out of the hands of the judiciary is just Daily Mail justice. Each case needs to be judged on its own merits, and the threat not exaggerated.

2% of all violent crime involved knives. 1% of all offenses directly involving knives and guns result in death. The proportion of overall violent incidents involving knives was eight per cent in 1995 and seven per cent in 2005 - 2006.

Knife crime is the bugbear du jour, and the right are just going to follow the Mail and Telegraph in screaming "lock them up."

"I'd tell the police to stop wandering round the streets picking off teenagers at random and focus on those carrying out real crimes."

Isn't that what Cameron is suggesting and what policemen used to be able to do? Focus on those likely to cause trouble rather than pick off teenagers at random to show there's no institutional bias?
Note also that Cameron is saying a presumption of jail for those carrying knives - not an automatic sentence.
I agree that it was much healthier when, in days gone by, young lads could carry swiss army knives for cutting rope at scouts, etc - but the culture is not going to revert to that any time soon.

Obviously this is not the whole answer but it annot be healthy to condone "good" kids carrying knives for "protection".
Isn't possession of an offensive weapon already a crime?

Obviously this is not the whole answer but it annot be healthy to condone "good" kids carrying knives for "protection".
Isn't possession of an offensive weapon already a crime?

Yes. 25% of knife prosecutions relate to possession.

Mr Cameron also says cops are too scared to tackle yobs on streets because their hands are tied by rules from the 1980s set up to avoid racism allegations. He vows to tear up stop and search forms which PCs must fill in — and dismisses campaigners who say they are needed to stop blacks being harassed

So he still has his dog whistle. Jolly good.

Oh great a return to the despised Suss, stop and search tactics that failed so miserable in the past. Then of course there will be claims of harassment, as certain groups are targeted.
How can it makes sense to imprison yet more of our young people when we are already struggling to find places for the most serious offenders? All this Talk is pointless, what is needed is an education campaign with the likes of Pop stars and the soap operas creating a climate in which carrying knives is seen as seriously un-cool. We should have a high profile amnesty for a start. Of course we should be imprisoning those who use knives in
an unlawful manner. However putting kids in prison for simply having a knife on them isn’t going to help, what is really needed is a change of attitude. Even if we do not understand why, it is quite clear that carrying a knife has become a fashion statement for far to many children. Rather than knee jerk policies we should be looking at why and maybe that means banning some of the video games that glorify knives, and some of the Rap music that encourages “Gang Banging” in our young. This is a fashion problem that may only be tackled by making it unfashionable in my humble opinion.

it cannot be healthy to condone "good" kids carrying knives for "protection".

This is the kind of unthinking weapons-are-bad attitude that has got us where we are today.

Policemen carry weapons for protection. The only people who need be worried about law-abiding citizens carrying weapons for protection are the criminals who prefer their victims to be helpless. If you support laws promoting such helplessness then you are in effect acting as an accessory to murder.

If you don't want people carrying weapons, then the way to do it is to make the streets safe so that they don't feel the need. The current approach has spectacularly failed at that and more of the same will do no better.

Isn't possession of an offensive weapon already a crime?

Yes it is. I dare you to claim that this law has made anybody any safer.

Rather than knee jerk policies we should be looking at why and maybe that means banning some of the video games that glorify knives, and some of the Rap music that encourages “Gang Banging” in our young

How exactly? Not possible in the internet age and in any case the history of bans shows that prohibited products become more attractive and receive a wider audience.

And as for roping in pop and soap stars? This shows a misunderstanding of youth culture which would immediately brand such collaborators as terminally uncool. Does anyone remember the Grange Hill anti-drugs song "Just Say No"?

Cameron is right. Knife carriers have to be banged up. The criminal justice system has been too much concerned with rehabilitation in recent years. It is time to give priority to its other aspects: deterrence; public protection and punishment.

My son uses a knife when fishing so this all sounds quite nanny state thinking to me,and like the gun lobby says in the states guns don't kill people do,knife crime is has been and always will be a problem but i notice alot of these kids are came here with there parents from war torn countries so maybe we should stop letting them in without proper mental health checks or if their kids are invovled with gangs send them back,radical thinking is needed here and not more bloody tinkering and nanny state-ism

Alex makes some valid points. Some of these kids are carrying knives for protection, and because their lives lack structured upbringing and support at the time when they need it most. But a sizeable number also carry them because it makes them feel big, or to threaten people with.

I don't understand why criminologists are so either or on issues like this. We are either told to bang everyone up, or rehabilitate them. There's this ghastly friction between the two schools of thought that says they don't work together. Personally, I think they would. Cameron is already saying the right things about the social breakdown that leads to kids carrying knives and committing crimes. The fact that he also recognises the penal system has a part to play is only a good thing.

DC's six week National Service idea is a good start but pretty inadequate.

We need full National Service back with nine months of immersion in the military or community work.

Alex Swanson is correct and, by contrast, David Cameron is clearly an idiot. Why, I wonder, do you Tories put up with such a leader?

There are potentially lethal weapons everywhere (bottles, iron bars, kitchen implements, garden forks etc. I can think of at least 50 in this quite normal suburban house). We cannot make all virtually all tools illegal but we can and we should try to catch violent criminals. This means targeting certain groups (not farmers, housewives, carpenters and gardeners).

The problem is that neither our political leaders nor the police have the stomach for tackling large sections of the criminal community or even talking about who they are.

"I dare you to claim that this law has made anybody any safer."

I dare you to claim that it is being implemented effectively.

"Policemen carry weapons for protection."

- because it is their job to protect the innocent.

"If you don't want people carrying weapons, then the way to do it is to make the streets safe so that they don't feel the need."

As a woman, I would cetainly not feel safer if all the blokes carried knives. That is a foreign culture.

Passing Leftie, lest you run away with the notion that this is a uniquely Tory / Daily Mail "bugbear du jour", this is Cherie Blair in The Guardian:


This proposal will put just about every farmer and countryman in prison. As a piece of ill thought out, unenforceable nonsense, it takes some beating.

nice idea but it's a bit targetty.

Carrying a knife isn't a real crime (ie. it doesn't hurt anyone), but the law against it is there to prevent real crime happening.

BUT I'm sure catching someone carrying a knife will go down as a tick in the 'Crime Solved' box.

So instead of going to estates where they might get stabbed, the police can just stand outside the local chefs college and rack up some points and say how good they are for getting so many 'criminals' of the streets and locking them up.


"Responsible people carrying a pen-knife for angling or carrying gardening equipment from shops would not be punished.
He stresses:
“Police must exercise common sense. This is about kitchen knives stuffed down the front of tracksuits."

Speaking as a countryman I am frequently in the possession of a shotgun and occasionally a chainsaw. I have yet to be stopped by plod.

But I suspect that if I put an ice hockey goalkeeping mask on and fired up the chainsaw in my local Dorothy Perkins I might cause a kerfuffle in a being arrested sort of a sense.

Come along people, plod is not going to be randomly nicking Anthony Worrall-Thompson for going equipped. Small, tubby, beardy chefs do not fit the profile

Like what Deborah said.

The biggest problem with making it mandatory for a person to be imprisoned for carrying a knife, is that a large number will end up behind bars for having a knife for what most of us would consider a reasonable reason. I know a man who ended up with a criminal record because he had a knife in his lunch box, which he used to cut up tomatoes. I don’t suppose any of us would be to pleased if our lads served time for having a fishing knife. I suppose the chances are that people in the countryside will be less likely to be stopped going about their business but there will always be that threat. How do we decide when a Knife is an offensive weapon and when it is a practical tool. Of course we can set some sort of limited on the size of knife that is legal to carry but that will not alter the fact that all knives have the potential for abuse. I still think our best bet is to get the media on our side and work at making knives unfashionable. It will take many years but like smoking we will eventually see an improvement. The argument that we cannot censor the Internet is utterly false. There has been great progress in removing child pornography from the net. It is also quite possible to out law whole ranges of knives. If that’s being a nanny then so be it. I would rather work on the education of all children than imprison large parts of a whole generation. Call me old fashioned but I resent paying tax’s for an ever-increasing prison population and consider that prison should be a last resort not the first choice when dealing with young offenders.

A great number of well-meaning people have been punished under zero-tolerance legislation on hand guns and gun ownership in general while dangerous criminals are still getting their hands on and using firearms. It seems ridiculous to propose increased vigilance against picnickers and chefs for wandering around with knives (this already happens) under laws that are ineffective against dangerous individuals. It would be a start if we had police officers who had the discretion and capacity to discriminate between cases that needed pursuing and those that were vexatious but we don't and a lot of old gents with swiss army knives and opinels are going to find themselves in the slammer instead. The death of sound bite politics indeed.

Sorry one more point - Rev Smurf, in fact the police have been very "vigilant" in the country against farmers, game keepers and the like. There have been several very unpleasant episodes perpetrated against innocent rural labourers by plod.

What worked in the past?

The Birch, the Stocks a ruler across the palm of the hand. A smack on the Bottom, sent to bed with no tea. Even dare I say, "string them up". We have become soft and wet and as a result our nation is suffering from the Yob gangs, the result of absent fathers and single motherhood.

A more sensible punishment for carrying a knife is a darn good thrashing in public.
Belive me that would soon sort the yobbo's out. Should somebody die as a result of a knife attack then we should string the bugger up, end of story and less cost to the tax payer. Its time for a change of direction.

Sorry one more point - Rev Smurf, in fact the police have been very "vigilant" in the country against farmers, game keepers and the like. There have been several very unpleasant episodes perpetrated against innocent rural laborers by plod.

You may well be correct. I moved into the town because I could no longer afford to live in the countryside. All the more reason why a compulsory Prison sentence for possessing a knife would be a very bad thing.
Lets be honest Country life has been under attack for the whole of this Labour administration one way or another.

Given that the places we want to stop people carrying knifes is in the broken communities, wouldn't it be the ideal case for community service.
Sure, if they use the knife, lock them up and stab them to see how they like it.
But if they are just carrying, make them help make their comminity better and have more pride in it rather than make them feel like a criminal and hence act like one when they get out.
Otherwise you're spending money locking them up when they haven't done anything wrong and spending money in doing something they could be made to do to improve the lives of them and others around them.

I dare you to claim that it is being implemented effectively.

Of course it isn't, because effective implementation is physically impossible. that's part of my point.

"Policemen carry weapons for protection."

- because it is their job to protect the innocent.

So policemen are allowed to protect the innocent, but the innocent are not to be allowed to protect themselves? Or other innocents?

"If you don't want people carrying weapons, then the way to do it is to make the streets safe so that they don't feel the need."

As a woman, I would cetainly not feel safer if all the blokes carried knives. That is a foreign culture.

You feel safe now? You prefer the culture we've got now?

Alex Swanson - spot on.

I think Dave has got this one wrong. It is no good making further legislation or simply banging people up. Prison, particularly for young offenders, doesn't work. That is a fact.

I am no Hampstead socialist or limp Liberal - I just think we need to think of the real causes of the knife culture and better ways of dealing with it.

The real rot starts with the schools - the junior schools, where parental and teacher authority has been totally eroded and children are so cossetted in a PC society that they don't know the boundaries any more.

Fix that first. Then look at what else you can do. Maybe a spell in a Bad Lads army camp would do the trick. I would certainly favour National Service and confronting these ne'er do wells with the results of their crimes. Let them carry the burden of distress felt by families who lose children in this way. Just locking people up never achieves anything - it only skills them up to commit worse crime and our jails are full as it is. We cannot afford to make our society any more disfunctional.

Stick 'em in the army and use them in Afghanistan.

'Stick 'em in the army and use them in Afghanistan.'

What as? Combat soldiers? Oi! Don’t y’all diss ma Warrior APC, innit. I suppose we could pimp my ride and put sub-woofers on the turret, fit an obscenely large exhaust pipe and lower the suspension with 17” alloys.

Yo! Taliban in da house feat Ossama Bin Boom Box.

We must make it Conservative party policy to repeal the handgun ban. And hand out licences not just to so-called "target shooters", but anyone who wants to defend their life and property, and ensure that Scottish paedophiles are never again allowed to exploit their monopoly on weapons to murder our schoolchildren.

The trouble with all these weapons bans is that they simply end up disarming the law-abiding citizen in the face of the criminal. The law-abding citizen will give up his fire-arm or knife precisely because he is law-abiding, while the criminal will continue to be a criminal and ignore the law by retaining his weapons.

Firearms restrictions were brought in only in 1920 and not in response to violent crime, which was very low by today's standards, but in response to scares of Bolshevism in the wake of the Russian Revolution. This was a great mistake in my opinion.

However, rather than increasing the risk of terrorism, the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms for self defence would surely reduce the risk of terrorism.

The proposed blanket law is unreasonable. All you anglers have had your say about pen knives and I agree with you.

What about the housewife buyig a carving knife in the store and walking home, will she be jailed because she s carrying a knife?

What about people going on a picnic and carrying a cheese knife or a fruit paring knife, will they be jailed immediately?

What about a cyclist or any other sports person carrying a swiss army knife as an all around tool, will he/she be jailed immediately?

We are here to cut down on this nanny state not add to it.

If a person wants to stab another person there are plenty of opportunities other than knives. Let's not punish the country for the crimes of the few.

There are over 60 million people livng in the UK and the stabbings are aroung 30+ per year. How many people died in traffic accidents in the same year.

I am not saying that it is acceptable for even 1 person to die from being stabbed, but we should not use a sledgehammer to swat a fly. the response should be proportionate to the cause.

The Conservatives should not allow the media to dictate policy like they do with Labour. We should be the voice of reason and of reasoned response and policies.

By the way, I am against repealing the handgun law.
Handguns have one purpose only in our modern society. They should remain banned.
I am pro-hunting in case yo think I am a soft hearted liberal.

When I was at public school lots of boys carried sheath knives - I have done so myself. I remember no case of anyone getting stabbed. Disarmament laws (international or domestic) give an advantage to those who break them.

If we were all encouraged to carry whistles, and blow them if we see a crime committed or threatened, it might discourage some acts of violence at least.

What Alex said. As the UK has passed ever more weapon bans, crime has only gone up. The classic definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. What works is punishing actual crimes committed with knives and guns severely, but allowing law-abiding citizens to be armed. Self-defense is an essential corollary to the fundamental right to life. Treating people who want to keep themselves safe as criminals is demented and immoral.

Yesterday marked somewhat of a turnaround for the Cameron skeptics - he suddenly became the most relevant politician of the day. Brown was telling us we shouldn't buy tesco buy-one-get-one-free's; Clegg was telling us we need more training for teachers to protect homosexual students; Cameron was talking about knife crime. I'm not hugely confident that he's got all the right answers, but at least he was talking about something the rest of Britain cares about.

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