Not so sharpCan someone explain the “knife amnesty” to me?
The police are providing special wheelie-bins for people to turn in knives that can be used as offensive weapons without fear of prosecution. But so much of it makes no sense.
According to a report in The Guardian:
“The amnesty involves all legal knives - such as kitchen knives - and offensive weapons, including flick knives, butterfly knives and swords.”
Legal knives? Why would you need to turn in a legal knife, much less require ‘amnesty’ for doing so?
The Guardian pictures a knife similar to the one used in the recent murder of Nisha Patel-Nasri. It’s a common kitchen knife. In fact I have one very similar. I have a whole block on sharp knives that I’m sure could kill just as easily as they carve Quorn roast and chop garlic. Am I meant to turn them in?
Perhaps they mean to refer to only those legal knifes put to illegal use, but even then the message is garbled:
“Scotland Yard said only those weapons believed to be significant to police inquiries would be forensically examined.”
Presumably that means that knives thought to have been used in violent attacks will be examined, presumably with a view to a prosecution (hopefully, or else what’s the point?) But if that is the case, what good is the amnesty?
Surely the advice should be – if you have a legal knife that you’ve been carrying around for non culinary purposes but haven’t actually used in anger, put it back in the kitchen drawer where it belongs?
If you have used a legal knife to commit a murder or assault, surely you’re not being offered amnesty from prosecution for your crimes if you turn in the weapon? In which case, certainly you’d want to be throwing it into The Thames, not a police wheelie-bin for forensic officers to rifle through?
I just don’t get it – (a) how can an amnesty apply to a knife that is legal to own; and (b) why would anyone turn in a knife connected to a crime knowing it will be forensically examined; and (c) if such a knife were turned in, how would the amnesty affect its use as evidence towards a successful prosecution?
Still, garbled message or not, it seems to work, Apparently when this was tried in Scotland in 1993, knife possession and use in violence and murder dropped by about a quarter for the 12 months following the amnesty. The report doesn’t record whether the Scottish police’s amnesty offer actually made sense though. This one doesn’t.