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Last Updated: Monday, 19 June 2006, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Knife sentences may be extended
Knives
Machetes and axes have been among weapons handed in
Home Secretary John Reid says the government is seriously considering extending the maximum sentence for carrying a knife or similar weapon.

He told MPs he was considering changes to the Violent Crime Bill before it goes to report stage in the Lords.

He spoke out in the wake of calls by the Conservatives for the maximum jail sentence for knife carrying to be increased from two to five years.

He said he hoped there would be cross-party agreement on the issue.

Meat-cleavers

He invited shadow home secretary David Davis to join him in discussions on the matter.

But Mr Davis asked why the government had rejected previous calls by his party for knife sentences to be increased.

He also pressed the home secretary to say whether the government would give schools the resources to screen for knives.

The Home Office says more than 17,000 weapons were handed in during the first week of a national knives amnesty.

The haul, which included machetes, meat cleavers and axes as well as knives, were surrendered to the 43 police forces across England and Wales.

A Home Office spokeswoman later said that the move would be unlikely to take place before the autumn.


BBC NEWS:VIDEO AND AUDIO
John Reid debates extension of knife sentences



SEE ALSO
In pictures: Knife amnesty
16 Jun 06 |  In Pictures
'Bin a knife' amnesty under way
23 May 06 |  Scotland

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