Wednesday, 3 September 2008

'Stamp out knife crime'

By Jacqui Smith Home Secretary:

The deaths of young people in violent incidents are truly tragic.

But just as my heart goes out to them and their families, I know that people want me to be sure we are doing all we can to catch the killers and to stop more crimes like this happening.

We can never give up in the fight against violent crime - and tackling knife crime is one of my top priorities.

The Government has doubled the maximum sentence to four years for carrying a knife, and raised the age you can buy a knife from 16 to 18 years.

The police have increased the use of stop and search to take knives off our streets and take on those who are carrying them, and teachers now have the power to search pupils in schools.

Today I'm publishing the Gangs Guide for Parents - giving parents the support and advice they need to talk to their kids about the dangers of joining a gang.

As the Mirror's campaign against knives has proved, everyone has an important part to play - not just the police and local councils, but parents and community groups as well. One thing I'm concerned to tackle is the young age of some victims.

Alongside tough enforcement, we're working closely with schools to educate young people about the dangers of carrying knives - making it clear that a knife makes you less safe, not more.

The police are working with hospitals to share data on knife injuries and will carry out home visits to parents of young people believed to be carrying knives.

The injuries and deaths we've seen have to stop. So let's work together to stamp out knife crime and stop young people needlessly losing their lives.

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