Treating knife crime like firearm offences might help stem bloodshed – Yorkshire Post letters

Should offences of knife crime be comparable to convictions for firearms?
Should offences of knife crime be comparable to convictions for firearms?
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From: Brian Greenwood, Harrogate.

I THINK there is a simple, yet effective way to reduce significantly the current knife crime epidemic (GP Taylor, The Yorkshire Post, March 13).

The answer is – define the dangerous knives concerned as, say, “attack” knives. Then simply extend the existing firearms licencing regulations to include such weapons i.e. treat knives as firearms.

The immediate effect would be to prevent all the manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of such knives from trading in them since they are not registered firearms dealers.

The threat of heavy fines would soon force all those dealers to get rid of all their stocks quickly, either by exporting them, selling them to registered firearms dealers who have a small market for such knives for deer-stalkers or surrendering them to the police for destruction.

Since anyone possessing or carrying an “attack” knife would be in breach of the firearms regulations (none of these young thugs could possibly obtain a firearms certificate or shot gun certificate), then they are risking arrest. Stepping up “stop and search” arrangements and ensuring prompt arrests and trials resulting in significant sentencing would soon vastly reduce the problem.

Consider how our draconian firearm regulations have resulted in much reduced and continually reducing use of guns for crime. Illegal handguns can still be found but they are increasingly a rarity, as is their use. Just the same would apply to the knives which are causing all the present problems and deaths.

Making the change would not – as far as I can see – be difficult. Its effect would be immediate, its benefits obvious.

I shall write in similar terms to the Home Office but they would move much more quickly if responsible elements of the press, such as your good selves, were backing the scheme. I very much hope you will do so.

From: Ron Carbutt OBE, Patron, Exodus, Barnsley.

EDWARD Grainger laments the decline of church-based youth groups (The Yorkshire Post, March 11) against a background of rising youth knife crime.

It is a fact that youth clubs have been closing down throughout the UK, leaving many young people without a safe place where they can meet and socialise.

A notable exception to this has been here in Barnsley where a small youth club, The Exodus Project, was formed nearly 20 years ago at St George’s Church and has gone from strength to strength.

Now in partnership with Barnsley Methodist Circuit, Exodus is probably the largest independent children’s and young people’s charity in South Yorkshire.

Exodus runs 15 activity camps in Barnsley and surrounding areas with 400 young people, age group eight to 16, attending every week.

The charity is run by a small dedicated staff supported by 70 unpaid volunteers. They target less advantaged areas trying to get young people to make the right choices for their lives and adopt lifestyles which benefit both themselves and their communities.

Running this charity is no easy task and with no public funding they rely on charitable giving, trust donations and the income from their two charity shops.

Recently they were shocked to hear that two long standing major supporters are unable to continue their funding and this has created a funding crisis. A major fundraising campaign has now been organised and they urgently need financial support to keep the charity going.

For more information go to exodusproject.org.uk or call 01226 718899.

From: ME Wright, Harrogate.

THE current epidemic of knife crime is overwhelmingly that of male on male. How and by whom are these youngsters imbued with their Neanderthal notions of “manliness”?

Predictably, we have demands for “an eye for an eye”. The only western country which still employs this crudity is gun-crazed America. Hardly a convincing endorsement.

In praise of Jowett cars

From: Keith Jowett, Silkstone Common, Barnsley.

CONGRATULATIONS to the Leeds firm, Ginetta, on the launch of its super car called Akula (The Yorkshire Post, March 11). It is good to see Yorkshire craftsmanship at its best and it deserves any accolades it receives.

But at around one third of a million pounds, it is just a little beyond my buying power and in any case I find this formidable vehicle just a little on the ugly side to my eyes. If I did have a limitless purse I think I would prefer to purchase a vintage car from another Yorkshire car manufacturer, sadly no longer in production.

A Jowett Jupiter or Jowett Javelin would be my preferred purchase as their sleek lines are much more attractive to my eyes. But then, perhaps my name makes me just a little biased to the former Bradford-based firm.

Javid right to act over Begum

From: Cecil Crinnion, Sycamore Close, Slingsby, York.

ANY criticism of the Home Secretary to strip Shamima Begum of her UK citizenship is completely wrong and misguided in my view.

When she chose to go and join the Islamic State, even as a 15-year-old she must have been aware that they murdered non-Muslims in the must appalling manner. Critics of the British government’s decision seem to think a child has been misled – what rubbish.

Too lenient on hooligan

From: Hilary Andrews, Nursery Lane, Leeds.

WHAT does a meagre 14-week sentence (The Yorkshire Post, March 12) say to the hooligans who run onto the pitch and attack players like Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish?

I would say absolutely nothing.