Criminals involved in weapons offences rarely get jail terms of more than a year in Lancashire courts, figures show

Only one in nine criminals convicted of possessing weapons are sentenced to at least 12 months in jail.

Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 4:15 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 4:21 pm

Ministry of Justice figures show only 27 of 244 people convicted for weapons possession offences last year were handed terms of 12 months or more, with 50 others receiving community orders.

Out of 440 suspects brought to court, 56 per cent were found guilty of weapons related offences.

Weapons possession offences could include having a gun, knife or acid in public, and more serious crimes include threatening someone or taking them to schools.

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Currently the minimum sentence is a community order, depending on the gravity of the offence but in June new guidelines make the minimum sentence six months in jail.

In 2017 just six convicted offenders received the current maximum sentence of four years or more.

The figures show 126 weapon offence trials were dealt with at the county’s crown courts - of which 60 per cent led to convictions - and the rest were seen at magistrates court where the maximum sentence is six months imprisonment.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “Anyone who is carrying a knife and is intending to use it as a weapon – even in self-defence can be arrested, go to court and receive a police record or even a prison sentence.

“Some people say that they carry a knife for protection or to make them feel safer, even though they wouldn’t think of using it. However, research has shown that you’re actually more likely to become a victim of crime if you’re carrying a knife.”