Raising awareness of Knife Crime
September 22, 2016
It’s the right of all young people to grow up and learn in an atmosphere free from fear and violence.
Schools, parents and the police have a duty and responsibility to protect young people and expect that they won’t be carrying weapons.
While the majority of young people stay within the law a small number do find themselves getting involved in knife crime.
Despite these numbers being small, the effects of knife crime can reach a lot of
different people, innocent bystanders can get caught in the middle of other people’s disputes and suffer trauma, serious injuries or worse.
Knives are an everyday object but used for the wrong reasons they can be life threatening.
Both knives and guns have the potential to kill as well as injure. A wound in the arm or the leg can still be life threatening. There have been cases where young people have died from wounds to the leg because their artery was severed.
What is the Law?
It is illegal to carry a knife, blade / sharp point or offensive weapon in a public place. You can be arrested for this.
- If someone is injured or killed by a knife in your presence, even if you are not the one using the weapon, you too could be prosecuted and sent to prison for murder in what is referred to as ‘joint enterprise’.
- It’s illegal for a shop to sell any kind of knife to someone under 18. This includes kitchen knives and even cutlery.
- It’s also illegal for shops to sell imitation guns or air weapons to anyone under 18-years-old, or to sell realistic imitation guns to anyone.
- You’ll be committing an offence if you buy any of these items. Possessing a knife or firearm (whether it’s yours or not) is illegal and can result in a prison sentence.
- Some knives are illegal for even adults to buy:
- Flick knives – also called ‘switchblades’ or ‘automatic knives’
- Butterfly knives
- Disguised knives – in which the blade is hidden in something like a belt buckle or fake mobile phone.
These are all categorised as offensive weapons and are completely banned.
Carrying a knife is illegal in the UK and the consequences are tough. If you’re found with a knife in your possession even if it is not yours, the Police and the courts will take firm action. Possession of a knife can carry a prison sentence of up to 4 years, even if it’s not used.
What is the age of criminal responsibility?
At 10 years old is the age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales, when you are criminal responsible for your actions. Children between 10 and 17 can be arrested and taken to court if they commit a crime.
What happens if a child under 10 breaks the law?
Children under 10 who break the law are treated differently to adults or youths under 18 who commit a criminal offence. Children under 10 cannot be charged with committing a criminal offence. However, they can be given a:
- Local Child Curfew
- Child Safety Order
Children under 10 who break the law regularly can sometimes be taken into care, or their parents could be held responsible.
What will happen to my parents?
If you get in to trouble with the police, your parents can sometimes be held responsible. If you are repeatedly in trouble and your parents don’t take reasonable steps to control your behaviour they reasonable steps to control your behaviour they could be:
- Asked to attend a parenting programme
- Asked to sign a Parenting Contract
- Given a Parenting Order by a court.
Each of these are to support them in stopping you from getting in trouble again. Usually, they are voluntary. But sometimes things are made more formal by a court.
Did you know…
Police can come into schools and search for knifes if they think the law is being broken.
- Head teachers have the power to search pupils for weapons in line with the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006.
- Contact Wiltshire Police by phoning 101 or in an emergency 999, or visit: www.wiltshire.police.uk
- For more information and to report crime anonymously visit www.fearless.org