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Government announces mandatory jail terms for knife crime teenagers after Harrow Times campaign
THE Government has thrown its weight behind proposals championed by the Harrow Times for tougher sentences for teenagers who carry knives.
Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has caved in to pressure and announced new measures for mandatory four-month custodial sentences for 16 and 17-year-olds who threaten others with a knife.
Enfield North MP Nick de Bois led a campaign backed by this newspaper for the tougher penalties, to tackle the scourge of knife crime in Harrow, Brent, and cities across the country.
The surprise announcement tonight will be seen as a climbdown for Mr Clarke, who told Parliament on Tuesday that sentencing should be left to judges.
However, it is understood the idea of mandatory sentences won the backing of Home Secretary Theresa May, prompting a battle in cabinet which eventually forced the Prime Minister to step in.
The amendment which will change the law on knife crime sentencing will be attached to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.
The bill already includes six-month mandatory sentences for adults convicted of aggravated knife crime, and will now include at least four months detention and training for children under 16 for the same crime.