Page last updated at 09:49 GMT, Wednesday, 9 July 2008 10:49 UK

Brown pledges anti-knife measures

Teenagers gather at the scene of the murder of Ben Kinsella, the brother of actress Brooke Kinsella
Nineteen young people have met violent deaths in London this year.

Ministers will take "any legislative measures" necessary to tackle knife crime, Gordon Brown has insisted.

Speaking on the final day of the G8 summit in Japan, the prime minister said it was "completely unacceptable" for young people to carry knives.

"We will consider any new legislation that is necessary to get knives off our streets," he told reporters.

Tory leader David Cameron wants anyone caught carrying a knife without good excuse to expect to go to prison.

There have been a number of high-profile knife murders in London recently; 19 young people have met a violent death so far this year.

We want to make it completely unacceptable for any teenager in particular to carry a knife
Gordon Brown
Prime Minister

The latest victim, 14-year-old David Idowu, died on Monday three weeks after being stabbed in south-east London.

Mr Brown said: "We will take any legislative measures that are necessary to deal with knife crime in our country.

"We want to make it completely unacceptable for any teenager in particular to carry a knife. We want a presumption to prosecute anybody carrying a knife.

"We have of course had further legislation that would ban knife sales to people under 18. We are prepared to enforce the legislation but we will consider any new legislation that is necessary to get knives off our streets."

Mr Brown has argued that anyone over 16 caught with an illegal knife should be prosecuted, rather than escaping with a caution.

Sentencing guidelines

But Mr Cameron, who says knife crime is a problem of "epidemic proportions" in the UK, says the presumption should go further - so anyone convicted of carrying a knife should be jailed.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw says ministers will review sentencing guidelines on knife crime when they come into force on 4 August.

Currently, about a third of those found with offensive weapons receive only a caution or final warning.

According to Home Office figures, 17% of people prosecuted for carrying a knife went to prison in 2006, compared with 6% in 1996. The average sentence length has increased by almost a third over the same period.


SEE ALSO
Jail knife carriers, says Cameron
07 Jul 08 |  UK Politics
Youth dies weeks after stabbing
07 Jul 08 |  London
Stab wounds 'could be reported'
06 Jul 08 |  UK Politics
Vigil in memory of Ben Kinsella
06 Jul 08 |  London
Five held over teenager's death
06 Jul 08 |  London

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific