Should knife possession carry a jail sentence? Watch

#1Genius
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#1
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This is the proposal of Cameron following the death of the 18th youth in London since the turn of the year. Personally, I think it's a pretty good idea; as Cameron asserts, this is an "endemic" problem which seems to just keep on growing. This has to be at least partly due to the tame nature of knife-related retribution. In 2006, only 17% of those caught in possession of a knife were prosecuted by means of a statutory sentence.

My only reservation is that this seems to be a largely reactionary move on the behalf of the Conservatives. If such a scheme is to come into fruition, it will have to be well-defined in order that we don't have anglers arrested for the possession of pen knives and such like. Aside from this, however, I think if Cameron is serious about healing our "broken society" then he can do no better than coming down hard on youths carrying kitchen knives round as a source of intimidation and cultural impressionability.

What do others think?
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02mik_e
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This new proposal is good, however the problem has been going on for so long now, it is only now that it is making national news. Yes i think carrying a knife should carry a jail sentence, however how is it going to be enforced? You can't just say x person deserves x number of years because of carrying a knife, there needs to be a more steady approach, such as giving a person a suspended sentence or something. If they are caught again then the end result jail, for how long is up to the courts.
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Adam83
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no.
it shouldnt even be against the law
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#1Genius
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(Original post by 02mik_e)
This new proposal is good, however the problem has been going on for so long now, it is only now that it is making national news. Yes i think carrying a knife should carry a jail sentence, however how is it going to be enforced? You can't just say x person deserves x number of years because of carrying a knife, there needs to be a more steady approach, such as giving a person a suspended sentence or something. If they are caught again then the end result jail, for how long is up to the courts.
Yeah I like the idea of a suspended sentence, actually. I think presumption of guilt, in these sorts of cases, is completely justified, but like you say it is difficult to place a sentence length upon an individual for carrying a knife. The only thing about suspended sentences, though, is that if you're not doing the time then you're still liable to do the crime. I don't know if it's enough of a deterrent, given that most teenagers have very limited knowledge of the legal system and would probably see their peers leaving court without an immediate sentence as a let-off.

I suppose this is all just speculative though; I think the fault with this proposal lies in that it is purely a reaction to the increasing prevalence of knife crime. It might be useful for a dispassionate and even-handed commission to look at a range of new ways of tackling knife crime, rather than having political parties wading in and appealing to the appauled masses.
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#1Genius
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(Original post by Adam83)
no.
it shouldnt even be against the law
Why do you think that?
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Lucien_Roach
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legislating against carrying knives is unlikely to do anything.
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02mik_e
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(Original post by Lucien_Roach)
legislating against carrying knives is unlikely to do anything.
In effect you are quite right. For example look at the USA death sentence. In most cases murders have risen instead of fallen.
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Richie90
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I think it requires a bit more thought than one rule for all though. As a safety boat driver, we carry knives around in the boat for cutting ropes loose in an emergency etc. Now whilst its possible that any rational person would see the need for this, its entirely possible that a bloody minded policeman could just come along, see you in possession of a knife and argue that the laws the law "your nicked".

Having said that, would it really cut down on knife crime - in a home for example most people have at least on knife that could do considerable damage - and at the end of the day, this is akin to gun laws, and it hasnt really done anything to gun related crime.
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#1Genius
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(Original post by Lucien_Roach)
legislating against carrying knives is unlikely to do anything.
I'm not so sure. I think that an absence of respect for authority or society is intrinsic to the knife culture that has grown up in this country. It seems that youths feel they must take the law into their own hands, because the police are ineffective and basically a nuisance. If the balance were to shift so that the police could be seen as arbiters with the power to come down hard on those in possession of knives (and equally if youths saw their peers being thrown in jail for 6+ months just for carrying a knife) we could well see positive effects.

What I am certain of, however, is that the existing arrangement is failing, and that a complete step back will only exacerbate the idea that individuals can exercise their own laws.
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mobster
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Yes.

You have to be tough on the causes of knife crime - mainly carrying a knife!
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Lucien_Roach
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It is against the law anyway, surely? a knife is an offensive weapon that could be used to cause bodily harm and thus it is illegal to carry one in a public place. you can be arrested without warrant if caught carryinbg one in public.
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Lucien_Roach
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(Original post by #1Genius)
I'm not so sure. I think that an absence of respect for authority or society is intrinsic to the knife culture that has grown up in this country. It seems that youths feel they must take the law into their own hands, because the police are ineffective and basically a nuisance. If the balance were to shift so that the police could be seen as arbiters with the power to come down hard on those in possession of knives (and equally if youths saw their peers being thrown in jail for 6+ months just for carrying a knife) we could well see positive effects.

What I am certain of, however, is that the existing arrangement is failing, and that a complete step back will only exacerbate the idea that individuals can exercise their own laws.
well then improved policing would be a better solution?
i.e. more police officers on the streets (which would be accompanied by a tax increase which would be unpopular)
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Richie90
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(Original post by Lucien_Roach)
It is against the law anyway, surely? a knife is an offensive weapon that could be used to cause bodily harm and thus it is illegal to carry one in a public place. you can be arrested without warrant if caught carryinbg one in public.
The probelm with that law is its so vague - think of all the objects that can cause harm - screwdrivers, hammers, drill bits, welding rods, bricks.....

In all this discussion, it sounds like I'm not for a knife laws. I need to say that this is definately not the case, and its saddening the number of teenage deaths caused by knife crime this year alone. What im objecting to are these wishy-washy laws that are fast tracked though, rather than sitting down and considering more careful laws.
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Ewan
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(Original post by Lucien_Roach)
legislating against carrying knives is unlikely to do anything.
I'd agree with this. Theres already laws in place to protect people from knife crime, and people are still walking around with weapons. Its a matter of life and death for these kids, if they don't carry, someone else will, and then they are vulnerable.

If they feel the need to protect themselves, they will. Bringing in yet more legislation isn't going to change that. Plus if their going out to cause GBH or murder, already extremely serious crimes, they aren't going to be thrown by a law saying they can't carry a knife.

(Original post by north_western_manc)
The probelm with that law is its so vague - think of all the objects that can cause harm - screwdrivers, hammers, drill bits, welding rods, bricks.....
Anything can cause harm, thats the problem. Banning possession simply isn't the solution here. If people want to fight each other they will find a way.
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Adam83
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(Original post by #1Genius)
Why do you think that?
too many reasons to explain them all.
Criminals ignore the law.
Its easy find a replacement.
Makes innocent people a target of law enforcement, an easy one.
Joke of a justice system at present.
Leftwing tendancy to see eveyone as equal, no such thing as a criminal, so they ban the means not the action.
Knifes have many good uses.
Impracticallity.

Im sure there are more.
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afc1886
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I dont know, granted there are many, many situations that would go against me here but so many people do it that shouldn't go to jail I dont think it should carry a jail sentence. Say a 17 yr old goes out and gets mugged and beaten up and told they'll do it again. He goes home and gets a knife, carrys it around because hes confsed and doesnt know what to do. The police catch him and hes sent to jail?

Again though, say he goes and stabs the 3 kids that beat him up, then we have another 'tragedy' and knife killing. Its tough to know where to draw the line here. They def wouldnt have the space to put al knife carriers caught in jail aswell btw
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#1Genius
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(Original post by Lucien_Roach)
well then improved policing would be a better solution?
i.e. more police officers on the streets (which would be accompanied by a tax increase which would be unpopular)
I didn't say that, I said that the police would command more respect if youths knew that they were empowered enough to arrest these kids on a charge that carried an automatic sentence.
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Adam83
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i would make it illegal to dress like a gangsta
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#1Genius
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(Original post by Adam83)
too many reasons to explain them all.
Criminals ignore the law.
Its easy find a replacement.
Makes innocent people a target of law enforcement, an easy one.
Joke of a justice system at present.
Leftwing tendancy to see eveyone as equal, no such thing as a criminal, so they ban the means not the action.
Knifes have many good uses.
Impracticallity.

Im sure there are more.
If criminals ignore the law, then why should we legislate upon murder, burglary and rape if it's completely futile?

As for the sentiment that this policy has left wing leanings, I think that's quite a peculiar point to make The action is already banned (of course), and so if this is failing, then what is wrong with banning the means?
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Adam83
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people who are prepared to ignore the law on murder are not going to pay any attention to your knife ban.
you only target innocent people.

the same philosophy bans alcohol for everyone because some binge drink, cars for everyone because some speed.

its reactionary, oppresive and paranoid, doesnt punish natural wrongdoing.

i will never support it.
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