Knife campaigner speaks out on new sentencing laws

A TIRELESS anti-knife campaigner has spoken out as new sentences for carrying knives in public comes into force.


Ann Oakes-Odger has been instrumental in raising awareness of knife crime since her son, Westley, 27, was killed in Colchester seven years ago.


On Monday, new sentences will be introduced which will see adults jailed for at least six months for brandishing knives in public.


Youngsters aged 16 to 17-years-old will be sent to a detention and training centre for four months.


But Mrs Oakes-Odger, the founder of the lobby group KnifeCrimes.Org and Victims' Advocates, said youngsters should be given one chance.


Mrs Oakes-Odger, who was awarded an MBE for her campaigning work, said: “I was not consulted on the sentencing. If I had been I would have told them adults carrying knives should feel the full force of the law.


“However, to impose a sentence like this on a youngster, if it is their first offence, is wrong."

For more on this story, see Monday's Gazette.

Comments (2)

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12:12am Mon 3 Dec 12

saywhatyousee says...

As the adage goes guns don't kill people, people kill people. The same applies to knives. All over the world kids as well as adults are killing with knives, guns, etc. The point is that age is no barrier and the crime should be dealt with in the same way. First offence, last offence, intent is the watch word. Wrong message here!
As the adage goes guns don't kill people, people kill people. The same applies to knives. All over the world kids as well as adults are killing with knives, guns, etc. The point is that age is no barrier and the crime should be dealt with in the same way. First offence, last offence, intent is the watch word. Wrong message here! saywhatyousee
  • Score: 0

10:26am Mon 3 Dec 12

zt00013 says...

The crime should not be dealt with in the same way. The state must look beyond reactionary policies that seem right and appropriate (sometimes), the state has to look for long lasting solutions and how best to stop such activities persisting. In the case of knife crime, a young person in certain wards in many towns and cities in the UK, may indeed carry a knife but for their own protection, perhaps their brother was stabbed, this would of course frighten anybody. These are mitigating circumstances, if this young person in punished harshly with prison, they are likely to become worse in prison and become a drain on society and it won't stop them carrying a knife, the same social problems that caused said person to carry a knife, still exist. Furthermore people who feel endangered are far more likely to arrive at the conclusion that it is safer to carry a knife and maybe be caught by the Police, than it is to be caught by your 'enemies' without one and have no way to defend yourself. To summarise the picture is complicated, black and white approaches never work because they don't correspond to reality. The focus must be on stopping the root causes and stopping young people becoming involved in a spiral of violence and crime.
The crime should not be dealt with in the same way. The state must look beyond reactionary policies that seem right and appropriate (sometimes), the state has to look for long lasting solutions and how best to stop such activities persisting. In the case of knife crime, a young person in certain wards in many towns and cities in the UK, may indeed carry a knife but for their own protection, perhaps their brother was stabbed, this would of course frighten anybody. These are mitigating circumstances, if this young person in punished harshly with prison, they are likely to become worse in prison and become a drain on society and it won't stop them carrying a knife, the same social problems that caused said person to carry a knife, still exist. Furthermore people who feel endangered are far more likely to arrive at the conclusion that it is safer to carry a knife and maybe be caught by the Police, than it is to be caught by your 'enemies' without one and have no way to defend yourself. To summarise the picture is complicated, black and white approaches never work because they don't correspond to reality. The focus must be on stopping the root causes and stopping young people becoming involved in a spiral of violence and crime. zt00013
  • Score: 0

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