MP urges crackdown on knife criminals

IPSWICH'S MP has backed a call for tougher treatment of knife criminals, claiming there should be a minimum sentence for those carrying a blade.

IPSWICH'S MP has backed a call for tougher treatment of knife criminals, claiming there should be a minimum sentence for those carrying a blade.

Chris Mole MP told The Evening Star he feels a “strong message” needs to be sent out to people to avoid an increase in the carrying of blades.

He said he would support a minimum sentence for the offence, possibly a mandatory jail term.

Mr Mole's comments come on the back of a number of high profile knife incidents in the UK over the past few weeks, including the murder last week of 18-year-old Harry Potter actor Robert Knox who was stabbed to death outside a pub in south London.

Earlier this month 26-year-old Kieran Botterill, of Stowmarket, was jailed for the murder of 21-year-old Zak Brown, of Stowmarket, after being found guilty of stabbing him with a knife.

Mr Mole said: “I think in some of the big cities there are clearly issues with gang cultures which almost glorify the carrying of knives and there's some clear evidence that people who carry knives have given no thought to what it could do to someone if they were to use it on them.

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“We have to bring it home to people very formally that carrying knives isn't a status symbol or a symbol of machismo, it's a dangerous and potentially lethal weapon.

“If there is any suggestion that somebody is carrying a knife and there is a likelihood of them using it, they should get an appropriate sentence. I would support a form of minimum tariff.

“I think a very strong message hasto be sent out.”

Public support for mandatory jail sentences is strong among Evening Star readers with an internet poll of more than 500 people showing an overwhelming 87 per cent believing those carrying knives should go straight to prison.

Possession of a knife in public carries a maximum punishment of four years in prison although magistrates and judges seldom dish out the most severe sentence available.

Earlier this week the Star revealed that Mahad Ismail, 32, of Woodbridge Road East, is likely to avoid a prison term for possession of a blade despite hearing he regularly carried a knife for protection and told officers in interview he “would not hesitate to use it”.

Magistrates said they were minded too impose a supervision order or community penalty when Ismail appears for sentencing today.

Are courts too lenient on those carrying knives? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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