Knife Angel comes to Maidstone
From 6th September an 8.5m tall sculpture made from 100,000 knives, weapons and blades which have been handed in during knife amnesties in the UK will be on display at Lighthouse Church, Station Road, Maidstone. The Knife Angel is an awareness campaign which will run in Maidstone for four weeks (until 3rd October) and it is supported by OneMaidstone BID and other agencies in the town including Gullands.
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, knife crime rose by 10% to 49,027 offences in England and Wales in the year to March 2022.
A recent report by HM Inspectorate of Probation also says, ‘Current evidence suggests knife crime is driven by a combination of poverty, marginalisation, adverse childhood experiences, trauma, fear and victimisation including exploitation.’ It goes on to say, ‘Knife crime is changing, suggesting it is more prevalent and more serious than in previous years. This change has in part been driven by austerity and cuts to preventative services.’
A range of measures is needed to tackle this crime and its prevalence amongst young people. The report goes on to say: ‘The key to addressing knife crime is early intervention and prevention. Once a child becomes involved with the criminal justice system it can become more difficult to support them towards pro-social life choices.”
John Roberts, managing partner and head of the criminal law team at Gullands Solicitors comments: “Knife crime is a serious issue nationally and here in Kent and one which disproportionately affects younger people. Here at Gullands, we are keen to support initiatives which stop people from becoming involved with the criminal justice system. The Knife Angel is a great way to make young people aware of and talk about the issue of knife crime and the devastating effect this can have on young lives.
Parents and guardians should be aware that the rules and sentencing guidelines changed around knife crime to try and deal with the issue. Full details are available from the Crown Prosecution Service but in summary since 1 June 2018, the guidelines apply to offences of:
- Possession of an offensive weapon in a public place
- Possession of an article with a blade/ point in a public place
- Possession of an offensive weapon on school premises
- Possession of an article with a blade/ point on school premises
- Unauthorised possession in prison of a knife or offensive weapon
- Threatening with an offensive weapon in a public place
- Threatening with an article with a blade/ point in a public place
- Threatening with an article with a blade/ point on school premises
- Threatening with an offensive weapon on school premises
Changes to sentencing means where an offender is convicted of a second (or further) bladed article/ offensive weapon offence the court must impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 6 months’ imprisonment for an adult or 4 months’ Detention and Training Order for a youth (under 18), unless it is satisfied that there are circumstances relating to the offence or the offender that make it unjust to do so in all of the circumstances.
Where an offender is convicted of threatening with a bladed article/ offensive weapon the court must impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 6 months’ imprisonment for an adult or 4 months’ Detention and Training Order for a youth (under 18), unless satisfied that there are circumstances relating to the offence or the offender that make it unjust to do so in all of the circumstances.
The guidelines do not cover where a knife or other weapon is used and causes harm. This would come under other more serious offences such as those relating to wounding, wounding with intent, manslaughter, or murder.