The Scottish model and new Garda powers are key to tackling the scourge of knife crime on our streets, Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond has said.
Deputy Richmond said: “Knife crime has been rising in Ireland since 2017, with both knife seizures and injuries on the rise. However, the ‘Justice Plan 2021’ contains key commitments from the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, that can help tackle this scourge.
“Protecting communities and following international best practice will be central in these efforts. It is understandable that many people want to focus on mandatory minimum sentences for knife crime, but more can be done to tackle the problem at source.
“I strongly welcome the commitment from the Minister to look at international best practice when it comes to tackling knife crime and I will continue to work with her in examining the Scottish approach to knife crime.
“In Scotland, a community focused, bottom-up approach was launched in 2005 through their Violence Reduction Unit. This approach saw measures such as a knife amnesty, mentorships, education programmes, youth services and youth training programmes used to deter people from turning to crime.
“As a result, homicides in Scotland fell by over 50%. The central focus of any effort to tackle knife crime must be to keep knives off our streets and out of the hands of our young people.
“The danger of carrying a knife and the tragic results of knife crime are often alien to those at risk despite many worrying high-profile stabbings in recent weeks.
“It is important we should follow the Scottish model to help shape Ireland’s response to knife crime.
“Pledging to review Garda powers regarding dangerous weapons such as knives so to ensure that Gardaí have the legal tools to protect our communities is an important move. We must ensure the efforts of our Gardaí are supported.
“Justice Plan 2021 offers the chance to tackle knife crime,” Deputy Richmond concluded.