With all the calls for mandatory prison sentences for those who choose to take a knife onto the streets, it’s interesting to see someone speaking out against mandatory sentencing. Especially as that someone is one Alf Hitchcock (sic!), a Met deputy assistant commissioner who heads the ‘Tackling Knives Action Programme‘.
He said, “There is a difference between mandatory sentencing for knife crime & the sentencing for gun crime. With guns, someone has to be within certain crime networks & know how to get hold of one.
“With knives, you are talking about a weapon that is easily available – every kitchen drawer has one – & the circumstances under which they are used can be quite varied.
“You might have a 16-year-old carrying out robberies in a gang environment. That is someone who deserves a serious sanction. But there might be a 13-year-old boy who is being bullied at school & stupidly puts a knife in his bag. Under mandatory sentencing, they both would end up with the same sentence.”
To a certain extent he does have a point.
It’s a shame that we can’t just trust the courts to decide on a fitting sentence in each case. The problem being that most people seem to get treated like they are an innocent 13-year-old bullied schoolboy rather than a gangster, with sentences to match.