Despite being caught with a blade five times, criminals are avoiding jail, according to official statistics.
According to statistics provided by the Ministry of Justice, 11 individuals received a fifth non-custodial sentence for knife offenses in 2021.
Most frequently, community sentences—a non-custodial punishment that requires criminals to perform unpaid work in their community, including cleaning graffiti or picking up litter—were given to the offenders.
Others received suspended sentences, which means they are not required to serve time behind bars as long as they follow all of the rules and refrain from committing another crime.
According to the data, one of the individuals caught brandishing knives was given a community term for four prior knife offenses and a suspended sentence for a fifth, according to The Sun.
Another of the 11 offenders received a conditional discharge, a community sentence, a suspended term, two fines, and all three of these punishments.
‘At a time when knife-related killings have reached a record high, it is astounding to learn that some habitual weapon carriers have been spared jail on repeated occasions,’ said Patrick Green, chief executive of the anti-knife organisation the Ben Kinsella Trust. This conveys the incorrect message.
It demonstrates how weak the law is by providing little to no punishment for breaking it.
This comes after a study of Home Office crime data from the first two quarters of 2021–2022 and 2022–2023 revealed a 15% increase in knife possession nationwide, with police being called to 14,482 occurrences involving individuals carrying bladed objects.
In England and Wales, four out of ten murders were carried out with knives in 2017, and the number of fatal stabbings increased by 19% to reach its highest level since records began in 1946.
The ONS poll also revealed that 51 of 69 homicide victims between the ages of 13 and 19 were killed by a knife or other sharp object, making up a fifth of all stab victims.
The most frequent means of killing remained the use of a knife or other sharp object.
‘Independent judges set punishments, however those found carrying a knife are more likely to be put to jail than they were in 2010, and our strong new rules will see more repeat offenders facing time behind bars,’ a government official from the Ministry of Justice said.