I am aware of Government proposals for new laws around offensive and dangerous weapons, including new measures on the sale of knives. As you know, these proposals include requiring all knives ordered online to be collected in person, a ban on the possession of outlawed weapons on private property, and extending the offence of possessing a knife to educational establishments other than schools.
I believe that any and all sensible measures to prevent knife crime should be considered. I fear that the proposals to increase restrictions on the online sales of knives are likely to be marginal at best, but I am not yet aware of good evidence for opposing them.
In my view, the Government has failed to address the root causes of knife crime. It has not mounted effective anti-knife-carrying campaigns in schools and colleges, and its voluntary agreement with retailers last year is not working. In particular, it has repeatedly broken its promises on sentencing for knife possession.
Knife crime in Ipswich and across the country has been increasing since 2014 and I believe that unless there are sufficient police officers to enforce the law, new laws will have a limited effect. At the General Election in June I stood on a manifesto that was committed to recruiting an additional 10,000 police officers. If the Government is serious about cracking down on these horrendous crimes then I believe it should match this commitment.
The Home Office is currently running a consultation on its proposals and this is open to the public to submit their views until 9 December 2017. You are of course welcome to submit your views to the consultation and I would urge you to do so. I would like to see legislation which deters or prevents the carrying of knives without in any way impeding the pursuit of trades and activities which make use of knives for constructive ends. I am not clear that outright opposition to this proposed Bill would achieve that, but I am sure the government would be interested to hear any constructive proposals you may make towards achieving that end.