The widespread possession of knives amongst youths is yet another failure of the Home Office, and it appears to be doing little to stop them being sold, other than high-profile initiatives such as the knife amnesty – which only came after the tragic stabbing of Kiyan Prince.
Recent Home Office figures show that no-one has had a custodial sentence for selling knives since 1997, and only nine were arrested for the offence in 2004 – six of whom got off with a fine.
Most knife-carriers are 16 year old boys doing it for their image, although Norman Brennan – a police officer and founder of the Victims of Crime Trust – wants automatic sentences of five years for people carrying knives bigger than three inches without good reason.
Last week David Davis said that:
"Knife crime is a serious problem. A quarter of twelve to sixteen-year-olds have admitted to carrying knives and for each and every gun crime death there are three stabbings. We believe there must be tougher sentences for people carrying knives."
The Conservatives proposed an amendment to the Violent Crime Reduction Bill to raise the maximum sentence for selling a knife to an under-16 to five years but it was rejected by Ministers. They are raising the age to 18 but there is no indication they will enforce that more effectively than the status quo.