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Two-strike rule for carrying knives

Criminals who are caught carrying knives twice will be jailed under new rules.

Those repeatedly found with blades will face minimum custodial sentences under a "two strikes" regime which will be introduced in two weeks, the Government announced.

Adults convicted of possessing a knife more than once will be locked up for at least six months. The maximum term is four years.

Young offenders will face a minimum four-month detention and training order.

Criminal Justice Minister Mike Penning said: "Your local area should be a safe place to grow up, work, raise a family and retire.

"We are already making sure knife offenders are properly punished and keeping more off the streets for longer, making our communities safer.

"With this new measure we are sending out the strongest message to offenders - repeatedly take a knife on to our streets and expect to go to prison."

The legislation was the subject of a bitter row during the last parliament after it was opposed by Nick Clegg.

The move, which will come into effect from July 17, is expected to see around 1,300 additional knife offenders jailed.

Knife crime around the country has fallen by 40% between 2009 and 2014, the Ministry of Justice said. However, a rise in stabbings has recently been reported in London.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said: "Knives kill. People carrying knives are a threat to all of us - my officers see that at first hand.

"A simple guarantee that you will get locked up worked for guns and I believe it will work for knives. Putting this legislation forward is an important step and I have made no secret that I support this move.

"I am proud that over the past three years we have seen a significant drop in knife crime. However, in recent months we have, in London, begun to see more young people being injured by knives. Anything that helps us all fight this is a good thing.

"I hope that this very clear message along with the targeted work of officers across London will help it become an increasingly rare crime and that fewer families will suffer the death or serious injury of a loved one."

Officials said judges will retain discretion not to impose sentences in cases where there are "particular circumstances relating to the offender or the offence which would make the imposition of the sentence unjust".


From Belfast Telegraph