CPS warning for teenagers on the dangers of carrying knives
Teenagers have been warned about the consequences of carrying knives – even if they never intend to use them.
Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions at the Crown Prosecution Service addressed a group of school children at The National Black Crown Prosecutors Association conference today.
The theme of this year’s conference was knife crime following a number of fatal stabbings in London including children as young as 15 years old.
In the year ending June 2018 there were almost 4,500 knife related offences carried out by children aged between 10 and 17 in England and Wales. In the most serious cases, 540 children were given a custodial sentence.
Alison Saunders said: “Teenagers need to be warned that carrying a knife, even having one hidden in a school bag, can have a massive impact on their future.
“Knife crime can affect anyone, not just people in gangs. Young people say they carry them because of peer pressure or for protection - but in fact you are much more likely to become a victim of knife crime yourself. Situations involving weapons can quickly get out of control.
“If you are found with a knife - you will be arrested and are very likely to be charged with a crime for a first time offence.
“We must challenge the assumption that it’s normal to carry a knife. It isn’t. You are putting yourself, other people and your future at risk.”
The starting point is for the police to charge young people for knife crime offences is 16 and 17, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Young people from three schools who joined the conference heard that teenagers found with a weapon face youth court, up to six months in custody and a fine.
For more serious offences such as threatening someone with a knife, the court has to impose a minimum sentence of at least four months. If the case went to the Crown Court then for this offence the sentence could be up to four years
As part of her speech, Alison Saunders also explained to the school children how the different parts of the Criminal Justice System work together as well as how the court process works and how victims are supported.
She highlighted the recent case of London model Harry Uzoka who was murdered by a rival model George Koh in a row over a girl.
Notes to editors
- Figures are taken from MOJ quarterly knife and offensive weapon statistics
- The schools which attended are: Bishop Challoners School, Langley Girls High School and Saint John Bosco College