Clause 100 - Minimum sentences for particular offences

Part of Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:15 pm on 10th June 2021.

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Take possession of a knife or offensive weapon, for example. All too often when we think of knife crime, the focus of our thoughts is on young men—often young BAME men from a disadvantaged background—carrying knives as part of a gang. Yet this image is deeply simplistic and misses the greater criminal forces at play. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Tottenham pointed out, most of the time knife crime is not being driven by youths but by a sophisticated network of veteran organised criminals. As he wrote in The Guardian so eloquently:

“Young people falling into the wrong crowd in Tottenham, Salford or Croydon know nothing about the trafficking of tonnes of cocaine across our borders every single year. They know nothing of the shipment routes from Central and South America that have made London a cocaine capital of Europe. They know nothing of the lorries, container vessels, luxury yachts and private jets that supply our nation’s £11bn-a-year drug market….This isn’t about kids in tracksuits carrying knives, it’s about men in suits carrying briefcases. It is serious criminal networks that are exploiting our young people, arming them to the teeth and sending them out to fight turf wars.”