Neil Coyle – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Attorney General

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Neil Coyle on 2016-02-19.

To ask the Attorney General, what steps the CPS is taking to ensure a higher rate of prosecution for knife crimes.

Robert Buckland

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) recognises that carrying an offensive weapon, a knife or a bladed/pointed article is a serious offence as the unlawful provision and possession of weapons encourages violence and can cause serious injury and death in addition to facilitating other criminal offences.

The CPS acts robustly to deter the carrying and use of knives and offensive weapons and has issued guidance to prosecutors on the prosecution of knife crimes. The guidance provides advice when deciding what offence to charge, the public interest considerations to apply and comments on sentencing practice.

It has been agreed between the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and the CPS that a more robust response is required in respect of youths aged 16 and 17. Guidance issued to the police by the NPCC has been shared with prosecutors to emphasise the consistency of approach of the two organisations and to underline the shared expectation that where there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction, a prosecution should normally result.

The CPS participates in the cross-Government Ending Gang Violence and Exploitation programme of work which includes a work-stream to reduce violence and knife crime.

CPS data on offences charged and reaching a first hearing at magistrates’ courts shows an increased number of prosecutions for the year 2014-2015 in comparison with the previous year.