Thursday, 22 October 2009

Knife crime

You will be aware that the committee has been considering the petition (PE1171) from John Muir on knife crime for about 16 months now. The committee has been trying to take forward an open discussion on the issues which arise out of John's petition. Earlier this year it sponsored a unique debate in the Chamber of the Parliament when police, victims, their families, churches, social work, media, charities, legal bodies, children's groups, community groups, academics, politicians and others came together for an open debate on how to tackle this problem. The discussion was facilitated by Brian Taylor, BBC Scotland political editor. There was a lot of focus on this debate and what the committee was trying to do.
You can read the oral transcript of what was said and and read the report of the debate which are both available on the committee's webpage. There are also photographs of the event available on our Picasa page.
The committee has now received the response from the Scottish Government to this report.
So what happens next? Well, the Justice Committee here in the Parliament is currently considering the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland ) Bill which contains provisions relating to custodial sentencing. This was one of the core issues in John's petition, that of mandatory custodial sentencing for carrying a knife. That committee is due to complete Stage 1 of the Bill by the end of November. It is expected that the PPC will then look at the petition again (at one of its December meetings) to reflect of where things are and what it can do next.
We will of course keep you updated with the committee's work on this petition. You can access the petition and all the related material via its own webpage. John Muir was one of the people who took part in the Parliament's 10th anniversary Moving Stories exhibition and you can listen to his moving experience about why he had to bring his petition forward.
Fergus, Clerk to the PPC

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