No plans to jail first-time knife offenders despite desperate pleas of Nottingham attack victim's family

25 January 2024, 09:03 | Updated: 25 January 2024, 09:05

'Why have we spent years not nailing knife crime?' Nick Ferrari asks Crime and Policing Minister

By Jenny Medlicott

Policing minister Chris Philp has ruled out the possibility of jailing first-time knife offenders despite pleas from the family of a Nottingham attack victim.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The parents of Grace O’Malley-Kumar, who died aged 19 in a knife attack in Nottingham last year, have called on the government to introduce new laws to put away first-time knife offenders.

Policing minister Chris Philp, however, has ruled out the possibility.

Speaking to LBC’s Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Mr Philp said he had “sympathy” for their campaign but that he thinks the current law “gets the balance right”.

He said: “It’s already the case that if you are caught for a second time carrying a knife there is already a mandatory six-month minimum prison sentence, which is right for exactly the reasons she says.

“There is no excuse for carrying a knife in public.”

When asked if the law could be changed to send first-time offenders away too, Mr Philp said: “I do have sympathy for it but, as I say, the law currently has the mandatory sentence for the second possession offence. Which I think just about gets the balance right.

“What we need to do is catch more people, which is why the increase in hot spot patrolling from April is so important and things like stop and search and the technology that I mentioned in the future.

“It’s not just about the sentence it’s about the chances of getting caught.”

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

Read more: 'He was my hero': Brother of Nottingham attack victim says he 'wanted to set the world on fire' after learning of his fate

An example of zombie knives.
An example of zombie knives. Picture: Alamy

Mr Philp said that the government is also currently working on new technology to detect whether individuals are carrying knives on them, which he said could be ready for use in a year.

His comments come as the government faces mounting calls to tighten laws around the use of zombie knives.

Zombie knives were first banned in 2016 but loopholes meant they were still available to sell or possess in many circumstances.

Fresh legislation is set to be introduced in Parliament today, which Home Secretary James Cleverly said seeks to "close that loophole" and make the knives illegal.

It will be the government’s third attempt to crack down on the weapons, although the new rules will not take effect until September.

Grace's killer will be sentenced today.
Grace's killer will be sentenced today. . Picture: Social media

Grace O’Malley-Kumar's parents, Dr Sinead O'Malley and Dr Sanjoy Kumar, said the current state of knife crime is an “epidemic” as they called for a “massive deterrent” to stop people carrying knives.

Grace was killed alongside friend Barnaby Webber, also 19, and school caretaker Ian Coates in an attack in Nottingham last year.

The killer, Valdo Calocane, had a guilty plea of manslaughter accepted on Tuesday on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

He is due to be sentenced at Nottingham Crown court today.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Exclusive
England fans have been warned not to sing 'Ten German bombers' at the Euros. Picture shows fans during a game against Germany in 2021

Don't sing 'Ten German bombers,' police warn England fans ahead of first Euros game

Rishi Sunak has said he is still fighting for every vote, despite a poll showing his party is behind Reform UK

Rishi Sunak defiant despite Reform UK overtaking Tories in poll as he insists he's 'fighting for every vote'

REM reunited

REM reunite at Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony

The TikTok tearaway was handed a community order at court on Thursday.

TikTok prankster Mizzy avoids jail after stealing phone from woman and fleeing police

Sabrina Peckham was eaten by the alligator

Horrifying footage shows bloated 14ft alligator that dragged homeless mother into canal and ate her

Huge queues have appeared at Birmingham Airport again this morning

‘Will they ever get a grip?’ Huge queues at Birmingham airport again as passengers report ‘carnage at 4am’

Geoff Hurst is England's last surviving World Cup winner

England's World Cup hero Geoff Hurst shares heartbreaking update after losing every teammate from 1966

Live
Britain's Labour Party leader Keir Starmer.

General Election LIVE: Reform passes Tories in polls, second half of the election kicks off

The man was seen nibbling on the boy's ear

Snooker fan breaks silence after being seen 'nibbling boy's ear' during World Championship

People socialising and drinking at a pub in London in summer

Calls to cut alcohol duty as Euros begin, as British drinkers 'pay 10 times as much as tax per pint as in Germany'

Italy G7

G7 leaders tackle the issue of migration on the second day of summit in Italy

Kate Rackham

'If you're reading this it means I've died': Cancer patient's last message as she leaves behind husband and two children

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett’s daughters sue their brother over handling of late singer’s assets

United Nations Yemen

UN and aid groups urge release of 17 staffers held by Yemen’s rebels

Tom Weatherall is still searching for his treasured medals which went missing in France

Renewed plea for missing medals lost in France as RAF veteran gifted with set of replicas

File photo dated 24/04/24 of Household Cavalry horses Trojan (Black, left) and Vida (grey) on the loose bolting through the streets of London near Aldwych. Issue date: Tuesday June 4, 2024.

Horses that ran through streets of London covered in blood given roles in Trooping the Colour event following recovery