A few months ago, the Government announced that, in order to send a clear message that knife crime is unacceptable, anyone over the age of 18 who is convicted of using a knife to threaten or endanger someone should receive a mandatory six month sentence.
However, quite a lot of knife crime is sadly committed by under 18s and the proposed new law wouldn’t affect them. A number of Conservative MPs, myself included, supported a rebel amendment and yesterday, sensing it might lose the vote, the Government announced a welcome compromise.
16 and 17 year olds convicted of using a knife to threaten or endanger someone will in future face a minimum four month Detention and Training Order (essentially two months in custody followed by two months close supervision) . Tougher sentencing alone won't solve the problem of knife crime but it is important that the law sends a clear message and I am pleased that Ken Clarke has listened to the arguments we made. Particular credit should go to my colleague Nick de Bois, who tabled the amendment.