A Tyneside newspaper is celebrating success in its campaign against knife crime with the announcement of new guidelines on jailing knife offenders for judges and magistrates.
The Shields Gazette has been running its ‘Knives Ruin Lives’campaign for over two years and has drawn praise from Foreign Secretary and local MP David Miliband who commended the Gazette for their stance in tackling the issue.
‘Here in South Shields, we have seen the heartache and devastation that knife crime can cause,” Miliband said. “‘If anyone reading this story continues to carry a knife, they now know that the police and courts will come down heavily on them when they are caught.”
The Johnston Press-owned evening title has been pushing for tougher sentencing since the murders of 16-year-old Glen Corner as he celebrated both his birthday and collected his GCSEs and of local photographer Lee Philips.
The new guidelines issued by the independent Sentencing Guidelines Council advise all magistrates and judges in the UK and include a recommendation that convicted offenders should be given a 12-week sentence if they do not plead guilty in court.
Editor John Szymanski said: ‘We understand that things do not happen overnight. When we launched our campaign, we knew it would take time to change minds and get what we, and grieving parents like Susanne Hilton, whose son Glen was murdered, believe is right.
‘The fact the courts now have stricter guidelines and tougher measures is one step closer for us, and we will keep pushing for new moves until knives disappear from our streets.”