Labour MP Dawn Butler has said that if “anti-stab knives” had been rolled out by the last Labour government, knife crime could have decreased in the years since.
Speaking to Eamonn Holmes on talkRADIO, the MP for Brent said that during the last Labour government, measures of reducing violent crime were looked at, including round-ended knives that could not be used for stabbing.
“In 2006, we had a violent crime reduction bill,” she said.
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“This looked at lots of different measures that would help in tackling knife crime, and one was if you carry a knife, you get an instant five-year sentence. It was a good deterrent.
“Then we looked at other things, because what we established was, that most of the stabbings that happened were people grabbing a knife out of the kitchen drawer on impulse.
“They were getting them from the home, so we were trying to roll out anti-stab knives.
“It was a way of stopping the sales of ordinary knives to under-16s, and making sure all the knives sold were anti-stab knives with a rounded tip.”
'They could still cut throats'
Holmes pointed out that such knives could still be used to cut throats, which Ms Butler agreed they could.
“You’re saying everyone’s got to go their cutlery drawer and replace their knives with anti-stab knives?” he said.
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“If we’d done it in 2006, by now, knives would have automatically started to have been replaced. It’s just one small incremental change that could help,” Ms Butler replied.
Holmes countered: “But gangs could use anything, screwdrivers, machetes?”
“It’s not the complete answer - all we can do is have incremental changes,” she responded.
'Not realistic' to ban offenders from social media
She also criticised Sajid Javid’s Knife Crime Prevention Order, which includes giving police powers to limit offenders’ social media use, saying it was unrealistic to expect their internet use to be restricted.
“How are you going to do that? Unless you’re going to lock them in a room with no wifi signal, how are you going to do it? It’s not realistic,” Ms Butler said.
She continued that removing gang-related content on social media may be more effective.
“There are other things that can be used, for instance, some of the violent videos on social media, making sure they get taken down quickly, making sure there’s no retaliation.
“What happens is you’ve got one gang, they’ll post something saying they’ve nicked something, then another gang retaliates and it escalates.”
She added: “ Sajid Javid’s new proposal doesn’t get to the root of the problem to solve the crime.”