Hayes in the House: Government must listen over knife crime
Adored by her family and loved by her friends, Jodie Chesney was a hard working Scout and conscientious student. Now, she will never have children of her own; as her life was snuffed out in an unprovoked act of unconscionable evil.
Bravely, Jodie’s grieving family have called for justice – urging the Government to increase the length of prison sentences for all those involved in knife crime. The Government must listen; taking immediate action to ensure that our justice system is fit for purpose.
Increasingly dismissed by prosperous liberals, deterrence has, sadly, become an unfashionable notion. In reality, the threat of significant consequences for those caught in possession of a knife - irrespective of their intentions - is the surest way to reduce the number of dangerous weapons on our streets. Jodie’s family are right - all those caught with knives should receive a prison sentence of meaningful length.
The politically correct crusade against ‘stop and search’ has undoubtedly cost lives. It is ludicrous to suggest that the police cannot search – because it might cause offence - those about whom they have reasonable suspicions. Whilst opponents of stop and search claim to do so in defence of ethnic minorities, in fact it is just those minorities who make up many of the victims of violent crime. It is disadvantaged communities that most crave the stability and security of law and order.
Only this week, an 18-year-old thug smiled and swaggered out of a court in Birmingham, receiving a suspended sentence for his possession of a knife and Class A drugs. As he posed for pictures, it was revealed that he had been charged with carrying an offensive weapon on a previous occasion.
That case illustrates the gap between those whose vision has been distorted by the soft soap of self-righteousness and the insight of the people on the front line of crime, who see with clarity that many more thugs and gangsters who, through their criminality, punish the innocent should be stopped, searched, charged, convicted and locked up for as long as possible.
With this in mind, during an Urgent Question in the House of Commons, I urged ministers to get tough on those who terrorise the innocent and mock justice. As I have written previously, every justice system must have retribution at its heart – the implicit understanding that it is desirable to punish an offender in just proportion to the crime committed. Such an understanding of ‘just deserts’ is to the public a necessary confirmation of the rule of law’s fairness.
Each time we hear of an act of despicable violence, the intuitive desire for retributive justice burns inside us. To be fierce in defence of the gentle, the Government, by locking up those intent on harm, can guarantee the safety of those who are not.