Home Secretary defends Govt record on 'zombie knives' as Labour sets out £100m plan to tackle knife crime

25 January 2024, 00:23

The Govt has set out fresh legislation to crack down on zombie knives
The Govt has set out fresh legislation to crack down on zombie knives. Picture: Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

The Home Secretary has defended the Government's record on tackling knife crime as he announced next steps to ban so-called zombie knives.

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Fresh legislation will be introduced to Parliament on Thursday, which James Cleverly said seeks to "close that loophole" on outlawing the weapons.

Zombie knives were first banned in 2016 but ministers hope tighter measures will stop some retailers being able to sell dangerous knives and machetes without breaking the law.

It comes after Sir Keir Starmer said a Labour government would launch a £100 million youth programme to tackle knife crime.

Labour's new plan would see a nationwide targeted programme aimed at identifying and supporting young people at risk of being drawn into violent crime.

Parliament Square is filled with folded outfits representing people lost to knife crime in 2023
Parliament Square is filled with folded outfits representing people lost to knife crime in 2023. Picture: Alamy

Alongside promises of better support, Labour is also promising "real consequences" for knife crime with an end to "empty warnings and apology letters" for those guilty of knife possession.

Set to be unveiled during the latest stop on Sir Keir's campaigning "missions tour" of the UK, the policy aims to better co-ordinate local services in an effort to bring down levels of knife crime.

Read More: ‘I can’t stay silent’: Idris Elba calls for ban on ‘zombie knives’ and machetes in new campaign to end youth knife crime

Read More: Getting knives off the streets is the only way to stop vicious deaths in London, writes LBC's Fraser Knight

"Too many young people are being drawn into squandering their life chances by getting involved in crime. A government that I lead won't think we can press release away soaring youth crime," Sir Keir said.

"No more apology letters, no more weak warnings. If you carry a knife, you'll carry the consequences. But this is not just about sanctions once the choices have been made.

"I saw as chief prosecutor the power of prevention - lives are being lost to knife crime because Tory governments don't."

Home Secretary James Cleverly
Home Secretary James Cleverly. Picture: Getty

Meanwhile, Asked why the legislation has taken so long, Mr Cleverly said: "We have already taken action to make the carrying of zombie knives illegal.

"When I became Home Secretary, I made the immediate decision to go further to put forward this secondary legislation to support what we've already done to make the possession of zombie knives illegal and to close that loophole.

"So I'm very pleased we're taking action now and we'll be determined to get these knives off the streets."

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