Dozens of blade carriers given cautions

POLICE today warned that anyone caught with a knife would face prosecution - despite the government revealing scores of Suffolk blade-carriers had been let off with a caution.

POLICE today warned that anyone caught with a knife would face prosecution - despite the government revealing scores of Suffolk blade-carriers had been let off with a caution.

Home Office statistics show that in 2007, the latest year for which figures are available, 97 defendants from the county were hauled before the courts on knife charges - but a further 31 were let off with a slap on the wrist.

In 1997, 37 people were prosecuted and only nine were given cautions.

While knife attacks are relatively infrequent in Suffolk, fears over Britain's blade culture have forced politicians to re-evaluate how to tackle the problem.


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Conservative leader David Cameron described knife crime as a problem of “epidemic proportions” and said anyone caught carrying a knife in public without a reasonable excuse should be jailed.

Today, detective chief superintendent Stewart Gull claimed Suffolk Constabulary was “committed” to tackling knife-related crime and promised that officers would take robust action against anyone caught with a blade.

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He told The Evening Star: “We would like to reassure the community that knife crime is not a major issue in Suffolk and, in fact, violent crime in the county has fallen by 6.8 per cent in 2007/8 and violence against a person has also fallen by 7.7pc.

“In June 2008, new guidelines were introduced for police and prosecutors meaning that anyone aged 16 or over in England and Wales who carries a knife could be taken to court.

“Previous Home Office guidance was to prosecute adults caught with a knife, but to caution those under 18.

“The proportion of incidents dealt with by caution between 1997 and 2007 has only gone up by 6pc. However, both the number of cautions and prosecutions has increased during this period, which we believe is due to our proactive stance in relation to knife crime as well as intelligence-led policing.

“Anyone who is caught carrying a knife will be prosecuted.”

Police say a series of initiatives, including weapon amnesties, education projects and conflict management training for door staff at licensed premises, had helped to combat knife crime in the county.

Should knife carriers receive an automatic jail term? Or is a caution enough? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

If you know someone who illegally carries any weapon, contact police immediately or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts for the possession of an article with a blade or point

97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07

Suffolk: 37 24 32 34 36 74 72 79 84 123 97

Number of offenders cautioned for the possession of an article with a blade or point

97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07

Suffolk: 9 11 9 8 15 14 12 16 18 26 31

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