Friday, July 22, 2011
Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland announces new Knife-carrying penalties that are meaningless pap, who does he think he is talking to that are listening?
Knife crime is a problem in Scotland.
It always has and always will cause heartache and misery for victims and families.
Knives are weapons of choice because they are readily available, accessible and cheap.
Politicians haven’t stamped out the problem because they really don’t understand how to deal with offenders.
How to put that moment of pause into the mind of someone thinking of using a knife on another person!
And because they don’t we don’t have a serious attempt to fix the problem.
When the Labour Party used knife crime as an issue at the Holyrood election, they were ridiculed on Newsnight Scotland by Gordon Brewer.
Both Labour MSPs Andy Kerr and Iain Gray were roasted over Labour’s knife crime policy.
To be blunt, it was a load of incoherent shite.
‘Carry a knife, go to jail’ was their slogan, which meant that anyone regardless found with a knife would go jail.
When Gordon Brewer pointed out to Andy Kerr ‘does that mean me’?
Andy Kerr replied no, which put Labour’s mandatory jail policy in the position to be seen for what it was a gimmick.
Gordon Brewer asked ‘how can it be mandatory if it isn’t mandatory’?
Needless to say Labour lost the election by a landslide but their knife crime policy didn’t help matters, it showed them as legal incompetents.
Anyway, Frank Mulholland is the new Lord Advocate after replacing Elish ‘Labour’ Angiolini; he has announced tough new penalties for first-time offenders found in possession of a knife.
As such he has issued a statement of intent of how his office will work on whether to prosecute someone carrying a knife.
Anyone found with a knife in a variety of situations will be prosecuted on petition and their guilt decided by a sheriff and jury.
Hardly ground breaking stuff.
The situations include:
Possessing a knife on licensed premises
When gang involvement is suspected
At a "hotspot" for violence
On public transport, or at a bus or train station
In fact, the rule of thumb should be that anyone regardless carrying a knife should have their arse thrown in a cell, charged and prosecuted unless they have reasonable cause.
Mulholland said these measures will allow greater sentencing power for the sheriff and increases the maximum prison term from one to four years.
The aim of the policy is to act as a deterrent and to reduce reoffending.
It won’t, this assumes that offenders have an interest in reading the pap churned out by Team Mulholland.
They don’t, no one sits and reads the guidelines of the Crown Office before deciding whether to commit an offence.
The Lord Advocate said:
"Carrying a knife in public is completely unacceptable and a serious offence and those in our society who choose to ignore this will face the full rigour of the law”.
Is he saying they didn’t before?
"Today, I send out a further warning to those who still carry knives or use knives to harm others, you will, if caught, be prosecuted and could be imprisoned for up to four years."
That happens anyway, so Mulholland maybe flapping his gums, noise is coming out but it isn’t useful.
Who does he think he is talking to in the first place, Neds?
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:
"The courts already have the power to impose a four-year sentence for possession of a knife, but with more cases set to be heard by a sheriff and a jury rather than through the summary courts, this new strengthened prosecution policy will mean more offenders now face the toughest of sentences."
I doubt that, a judge determines sentencing not the Crown Office and not the Scottish Government.
Them saying there will be a presumption in favour of prosecution on indictment where the accused has previously been convicted of a relevant offence aren't new and is meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
Chief Inspector Graham Goulden, who leads the anti-violence campaign on behalf of the violence reduction unit, said:
"The Lord Advocate's announcement sends out a clear warning to those carrying knives that their behaviour will not be tolerated and will be punished."
Unfortunately, no one is listening because it is mindless pap and rhetoric; these people are only talking to themselves, probably to justify their existence.
And they should be talking to the offenders.
The policy should be, if you use a knife on a person, on conviction, minimum 5 year sentence, and an additional three months for every stitch put into a wound.
Stab someone, automatic 7 year sentence plus an additional three months for every stitch put into a wound.
When word get out that draconian sentences are being handed out coupled with 5 year bans from living in their home areas, people will start to think twice.
Then we will have a proper knife crime policy.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University