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Don't Carry, Don't Kill MP Nick de Bois 'delighted' with campaign success
AN Enfield MP whose campaign with the Enfield Independent has led to tougher sentences for teenagers who use knives has said he is “delighted”.
Enfield North MP Nick de Bois launched his bid in July for mandatory jail sentences for teenagers who threaten others with a knife with the backing of our Don't Carry, Don't Kill campaign.
And late last night, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke caved in to the pressure of our demands by introducing new measures for four-month custodial sentences for 16 and 17-year-olds guilty of the offence.
Mr de Bois said: “For the first time ever, it is now clear that in the youth justice system, if you use a knife in a threatening fashion you will go to jail if you are 16 or 17, and the Government has made it clear that in all likelihood even if you are younger you will still go to jail.
“I'm delighted and I want to thank the Enfield Independent for their campaign – it came at a perfect time and really helped rally support from the constituency.
“I'd also like to thank all my constituents – particularly the relatives of those of tragic victims of knife crimes who were brave enough to come forward and demand change.
“Parliament has yet to approve this but it's crucial we have the Government on board.”
The move comes after a series of stabbings on the streets of Enfield – including the murders of 15-year-old Negus McClean, 14-year-old Leroy James and student Steven Grisales.
But the amendment will be seen as a U-turn from Mr Clarke, who told MPs on Tuesday that mandatory sentences were “a bit of a leap for British justice” and that sentencing should be left to judges.
Our campaign had won the backing of the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary, as well anti-gang campaigners, Enfield Council and 700 Enfield residents, who signed a petition demanding action.
The amendment, which will change the law on knife crime sentencing, will be attached to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.
The bill already includes six-month mandatory sentences for adults convicted of aggravated knife crime, and will now include at least four months' detention and training for children under 16 for the same crime.