MPs set to debate Clacton knife crime in Parliament

First published in News Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

CLACTON MP Douglas Carswell has secured a debate on knife crime in Parliament tomorrow.

The Tory MP said he wants to put the Gazette’s Lives Not Knives campaign on top of the political agenda in Westminster.

The debate will take place at Westminster Hall on Tuesday.

Mr Carswell backed the Gazette’s campaign, which was launched following a series of high-profile knife crimes in the town, as well as the murder of Clacton teenager Jay Whiston in Colchester in September.

Jay’s mum Caroline Shearer has called for a four-year mandatory jail sentence for anyone caught with a weapon, as well as for knife crime awareness to be included on the national curriculum.

Mr Carswell said: “I've listened to local people whose lives have been turned upside down by knife crime.

“There is a strong feeling locally that enough is enough.

“The criminal justice system needs to acknowledge the legitimate concerns of the law abiding, and deal with the problem.”

Mr Carswell added that as well as raising awareness, more people should be stopped and searched by the police.

He said: “Those found to be carrying knives must then be prosecuted, not cautioned, but prosecuted.

"A generation ago, many people thought it was okay to drink and drive.

“The police began to stop motorists, breathalysed, and prosecuted those breaking the law - it soon changed attitudes.

“We need a similar stance in Clacton to tackle the problem of knives.”

Mr Carswell added that following the election of a police commissioner for Essex, action could be taken locally to tackle the issue.

“I hope that we can begin to see a specific, Clacton-made solution to deal with a problem of knife crime in Clacton".

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