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Last Updated: Friday, 30 June 2006, 07:29 GMT 08:29 UK
Stabbings continue during amnesty
A collection of knives
Stabbings have continued during the national knife amnesty
More than 100 serious or fatal knife attacks were recorded by police during the five-week national knife amnesty, a survey suggests.

There were some 91 serious knife attacks in England and Wales from May 24 to June 30, research by the Press Association news agency found.

Of these, 19 were fatal stabbings. In Scotland there were 18 knife attacks.

Shadow police minister Nick Herbert said the figures showed violent crime was "spiralling out of control".

He said: "This is exactly why we have proposed tougher sentences for knife crime which the government has opposed."

'Proper sentencing'

Dee Edwards, co-founder of Mothers Against Murder And Aggression, welcomed the amnesty but said she did not think enough had been done to promote the fact that it was going on.

She said: "The fact that there were 130 knife attacks in one month just appals me and it proves that we are not doing enough.

"Ten years ago you would expect that number in a year. The idea of an amnesty is good but on their own they do not work. They need to be backed up by education in schools on the dangers of carrying knives and proper sentencing.

She added: "Knife crime is always going to be harder to police than gun crime because we all have weapons in our homes.

"Everyone knows that hardened criminals are not going to hand in their weapons but at least over the past month some very nasty weapons have been taken off the streets."

Scottish guidelines

The 51 police forces across England, Wales and Scotland were questioned for the survey.

They were asked to provide details of the serious knife attacks they had publicised in their force areas during the amnesty.

Lord Advocate of Scotland Lord Boyd QC has warned that anyone tempted to carry a knife in Scotland now faces automatic custody if caught.

Under new guidelines issued by his office, anyone caught with a knife faces being held in custody after arrest until he or she appears in court.

And any knife suspect with a previous conviction for a similar offence will automatically face a jury trial.

He said: "Communities can have confidence that those who carry, or use knives on our streets, will be swiftly dealt with."

According to Home Office statistics, 236 people were killed by a sharp instrument in England and Wales in 2004-05.

These figures include incidents with instruments other than knives, such as broken glass, swords or machetes. In 2003-04 the figure was 234.

During the first week of the amnesty, 17,700 weapons such as knives and machetes were handed in to police. Final figures will be made available by the Home Office in mid-July.




SEE ALSO
New warning as knife amnesty ends
30 Jun 06 |  Scotland
NI knife amnesty nets 886 blades
22 Jun 06 |  Northern Ireland



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