Huhne on knife crime: “sellers allowed to ply deadly trade”

by Stephen Tall on July 23, 2008

Extensive coverage today of Chris Huhne’s revelations – via some pointed Parliamentary questions – showing that “none of the people caught selling knives to young people in the last five years were sent to prison and only one was given a community sentence”. The BBC is among those reporting the Lib Dems’ findings that:

• Only 71 people have been successfully prosecuted for selling knives to the children in the last five years
• None were sent to prison and only one was given a community sentence
• 56 were fined, of those 11 were given a fine of between £50 and £100, a further 10 were given fines of less than £200
• In the last 5 years 42 people (75% of all those fined) were given fines of less than £500
• The total value of the fines levied against the 56 people caught selling knives to kids between 2002 and 2006 was £23,025
• The average fine was just £411.16

Chris has condemned the light-touch for knife-sellers:

Unscrupulous shopkeepers who sell knives to kids are profiting from the violence on our streets. It is unacceptable that so few of them are being punished and those that do are being given such pitiful fines. If we are to tackle knife crime, a strong message must be sent to those who ply this deadly trade. Fining them a few hundred quid is not going to do that.”