Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Boris: Carry a Knife and Go Directly to Jail

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Boris: Carry a Knife and Go Directly to Jail

Article excerpt

Byline: PIPPA CRERAR

THOSE caught carrying knives on the streets of London shouldautomatically be sent to prison, according to Boris Johnson.

The Mayor said there should be tougher sentences in a bid to drive down therecent spate of knife murders in the capital.

His remarks after a meeting with Home Secretary Jacqui Smith last night echothose of Tory leader David Cameron, who last week said that anybody caught witha blade without reasonable excuse should face jail.

Mr Johnson said: "I certainly think there is a case for tougher sentences and,yes, I think if you are caught carrying a knife then you should face a jailsentence." It follows complaints about the large number of knife offenders whoescape with light sentences or cautions.

The latest official statistics show that fewer than one in five of those caughtwith a blade in public get a custodial sentence, despite the maximum penaltydoubling from two to four years recently. Only a handful get more than a fewmonths in jail.

The Mayor has put tackling violence among teenagerswhich has claimed the lives of 19 young people in London so far this yearat the top of his agenda.

Officers at the Metropolitan police have launched Operation Blunt 2 under whichthere have been more than 1,000 arrests and 732 knives seized so far.

After the meeting with the Home Secretary last night, Mr Johnson argued thatpeople arrested for carrying a knife should be tracked through the courts.

He told Sky News: "In terms of the criminal justice side of it, when we catchpeople with knives, when we arrest someone, we want to see that they are thencharged and we track what happens to them through the criminal justice systemso that there is knowledge among the police about the extent to which they arebeing punished and thereby deterred.

"The other key element about what we want to do is work with the kids andfamilies to stop them going wrong at an early age. …

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