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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

September 29, 2007: New Powers For Gun And Knife Crime

A range of new powers to tackle gun and knife crime take effect from 1st October, 2007. The new anti-crime measures tighten the rules on possessing imitation guns and air rifles, and the sale of knives.

Imitation guns feature in a significant number of crimes each year - in 2005-06 more than 3,000 crimes involved imitation weapons, accounting for 15% of all firearms offences. In 2006-07 that figure decreased to 2,493 crimes, representing a significant decrease. These measures are designed to help lower that figure even further.

Air rifles were used in more than 10,000 crimes in 2005-06, resulting in more than 1,100 injuries. The new rules restrict the sale of air rifles to licensed firearms dealers. Police will be able to withdraw a seller's licence if they violate age restrictions and other rules designed to keep neighbourhoods safe.

Records of sales of air rifles will now have to be kept - thus removing the protection of anonymity from purchasers, which may deter casual or irresponsible purchasers. This, argues the Home Office, will protect the public, while still allowing young people to use air weapons under controlled conditions, or at approved shooting clubs. In addition, young people between the ages of 10 and 17 account for 20% of those convicted of carrying knives. The new knife laws are intended to make it harder for children and teenagers to get their hands on illegal knives by raising the minimum age for knife buyers. The key changes coming into force include:

  • making it illegal to manufacture, import or sell realistic imitation guns
  • making it illegal to sell an imitation gun or a knife or an air rifle to anyone younger than 18 years old
  • making it an offence to modify an imitation gun to make it realistic or convertible into a real firearm
  • doubling the maximum sentence for carrying an imitation gun in public, to a year's imprisonment
  • allowing air rifles to be sold only by registered firearms dealers
  • making it illegal to sell a crossbow to anyone under 18 years old

Police can now apply for a fast-track review of an alcohol licence if they feel a venue is associated with serious crime and disorder, and they can impose immediate conditions on the licence holder while the review is underway. All the new measures are part of the Violent Crime Reduction Act, and received royal assent in November 2006.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said :

'We are determined to prevent young people obtaining knives by raising the age from 16 to 18. We are also determined to crack down on criminals who use realistic imitation firearms to threaten and intimidate people.'