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No place for 'tough sounding gimmicks' on knife crime sentencing, Nick Clegg says on Gloucestershire Visit

By The Citizen  |  Posted: May 02, 2014

By Jack Maidment

No place for 'tough sounding gimmicks' on knife crime sentencing, Nick Clegg says on Gloucestershire Visit

Nick Clegg at the Air Balloon

Comments (9)

CRACKING down on knife-wielding criminals by sending them straight to jail is not the most effective way to tackle the issue, Nick Clegg said.

It was reported today that the Deputy Prime Minister and senior Lib Dems are opposed to plans by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to toughen legislation so that offenders caught with knives more than once are jailed automatically.

The news comes in the same week that police revealed they are looking to expand the use of knife arches in Gloucestershire to crackdown on the problem.

But speaking on a visit to his visit to Air Balloon pub today, the Lib Dem leader said he was keen to “avoid mistakes” where “tough sounding gimmicks” didn’t actually work.

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He said: “I think the debate we are having is a totally normal Whitehall debate about trying to avoid the mistakes of the past where tough sounding sentencing gimmicks were announced but they didn’t actually bring knife crime down.

“I don’t want to see youngsters go to prison for a few weeks and come out as hardened criminals committing even worse knife crime.

“I do want to see judges have the freedom to impose tough sentences to suit the individual circumstances of the crime. I want to do what works to keep people safe.”

The Citizen reported that two pupils in the city had been excluded recently after being caught with a knife in school. The revelations came after teacher Ann Maguire was fatally stabbed at her school in Leeds this week.

But Mr Clegg said he was keen to avoid a “revolving door” of crime where people go to prison for a few weeks and then come out and commit another offence.

“I have always advocated that you have got to make sure that you change offenders’ behaviour and you have got to allow for their rehabilitation so that people who get in trouble today don’t become the serial criminals of the future,” he said.

Separately, he said the A417 Missing Link campaign will be taken “very seriously” by the Government after seeing first-hand the problems caused by the notorious stretch of road.

The Deputy PM paid a visit to the Air Balloon pub in Birdlip just days after the Highways Agency announced the problem stretch has made it on to a list of roads in the South West earmarked for improvement.

He insisted the £255million bid to build the proposed A417 Loop will get a fair hearing. He said: “I don’t come brandishing a magic wand. The sums involved are very significant and money is tight as we all know. But I can certainly see for myself what a major issue this is and I think it deserves to be looked at very seriously, as it will be.”

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9 comments

  • Lecorche  |  May 04 2014, 10:56AM

    Bring back corporal punishment for some serious offences and our prisons can be made smaller.

    |   4
  • RebekkahFarad  |  May 04 2014, 1:39AM

    my co-worker's sister-in-law makes *71 /hr on the internet . She has been out of a job for 10 months but last month her payment was *18367 just working on the internet for a few hours. go now ===== http://tinyurl.com/p4lz79e

    |   -3
  • Justica  |  May 03 2014, 7:38PM

    He says this after a week which say another tragedy involving a knife. What does he suggest ? Talking to the perpetrators about THEIR problems, when they have destroyed the lives of others ? He should be made to live for a month in certain areas of cities (including Gloucester), where knife crime is prevalent.

    |   4
  • zalapompadoo  |  May 03 2014, 11:47AM

    he is only saying this as his party are so far down in the opioin polls and we vote to get rid of this sill man, he is an idiot and the sooner he gone the better

    |   5
  • Bonkim2003  |  May 03 2014, 10:44AM

    the objective of prison is to keep criminals off the street - trying to reform - dream world. Some just won't change. Going by the lax community work sentences passed on nasties including rapists - we are digging a hole for ourselves.

    |   5
  • glosres  |  May 03 2014, 10:10AM

    Another reason not to vote Lib Dem.

    |   9
  • toadhall99  |  May 03 2014, 10:10AM

    Well mr clegg you have the power to change the law, make the mandatory sentence a real deterrence lets say hard labour

    |   4
  • emdia43  |  May 03 2014, 4:03AM

    He should tell that to the family of Ann McGuire. How long before someone puts the victim before the offender?

    |   9
  • Aletheia  |  May 02 2014, 7:17PM

    Yes, tough talk by a man who, if he had absolute power would do nothing. If he really wnats to be taken seriously then stop the early release scheme where people like Max Clifford, just sentenced to 8 years will, thanks to the vile Labour government we had for years, only actually serve 4 years or even less.

    |   6

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