The government yesterday announced that everyone over the age of 16 should be prosecuted if they are found in possession of a knife. Personally I agree with this. For anyone to argue that carrying a weapon with the intention to use it is not a criminal offence then they live in a different world. However, this announcement came just a few days after the government again begged judges not to send people to jail because the jails are full. Confused ?
Yes, this government yet again shows that it is keen to talk about the laws of the land are being enforced but through its own inept policies actually undermines the ability to actually enforce the law.
Why should a teenager fear being arrested for carrying a knife if he or she knows that the chances of going to prison are tiny. They may well already be involved in criminality, so why should what would in effect be another slap on the wrist with no chance of being imprisoned make them think differently.
Then today we hear details of the death of a teenage girl killed at the weekend who had gone to the police fearing for her life but received little or no help at all. So what does this tell us about the law ?
It appears you can carry a knife because you will not be sent to prison and you can make threats and the police will not do anything until you actually kill someone.
This is nothing new of course. Despite ASBO's and thousands of PCSO's being recruited, the truth of the matter is that few yobs fears the police very much these days. they know they will not attend unless they do something very serious, they know that the police are loathe to do anything and they know that the government talks tough but fails to deliver.
I was speaking to a fellow teacher from another school on a course today who told me at his school in Norwich the police came to speak to eight children aged eight years old who had surrounded a young mother, abused her and thrown things at her. These kids were laughing and joking whilst the police spoke to them. they were not scared or worried at all. These kids will be teenagers in five years time. If they are laughing and joking when the police are called in now, what does that tell us about respect for the law in this country ?