Thugs caught carrying knives must be given tougher penalties than a caution, police have been told.
Ministers want to ensure those armed with blades do not think they can get away with a slap on the wrist.
A Government source told the Daily Express: “People rightly want the law to come down hard on dangerous criminals, so it’s welcome news that monsters who wield knives on our streets will now be made to face the music in court.”
But shoplifting, possessing drugs and theft are among crimes where first-time offenders could receive a caution instead of being sent to court, it was said.
A new draft code of practice sent to police yesterday will aim to provide stricter guidance on when and how officers can use the measures, as part of the two-tier caution system introduced last year, the Ministry of Justice said.
READ MORE: Hero wrestles knife off thug in middle of ‘Britain’s roughest street’
The framework includes “diversionary” cautions, where a breach of the conditions can result in prosecution, and “community” cautions, where a breach can result in a fine.
But the MoJ has excluded police from giving those caught with knives community punishments.
Around 2,200 criminals received a caution after being caught with a blade last year. Another 277 were given a conditional discharge.
Child cruelty offences, sex offences against children, sex trafficking offences and drug dealing are among other crimes that police will not be able to issue cautions for. So-called “diversion” schemes will likely be extended for minor offences.
This will see criminals forced to change their behaviour, for example by attending alcohol or drug addiction treatment services.
British tourist mugged by thugs brandishing knives at popular walking spot[NEWS]
Thugs carrying a knife should be jailed for a long time EAMONN HOLMES[COMMENT]
‘What’s happening to young people’ Thugs sentenced for mugging rampage[INSIGHT]
Even those caught with cocaine could avoid going to court if they agree to attend an education programme, it was said.
Justice Minister Damian Hinds said: “This spectrum of conditions will allow a flexible, case-by-case approach with tougher consequences for the offender.”
Police have come under fire for failing to solve more crimes such as burglary. But ministers are also grappling with a record courts backlog.
Rory Geoghegan, founder of the Public Safety Foundation, said: “Residents of areas blighted by crime will take little comfort from any proposals that enable criminals, at the start of their criminal careers or after having not been caught for a while, to simply continue or even escalate their criminality.”
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Source: Read Full Article