A debate on knife crime is to be hosted by the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee in mid-January 2009 in direct response to a petition.
This has been inspired by John Muir, who brought a petition to the committee after his son Damian was stabbed to death in 2007. The committee hopes to expand the debate on knife crime and create a forum for a cross-section of views from people and groups across Scotland.
Committee Convener Frank McAveety MSP today said: “The issues raised by Mr Muir’s petition are vitally important because sadly, they affect communities across Scotland. We want to create an opportunity for victims and their families, health workers and the police, who all see the terrible consequences of knife crime, to come together with policy makers, the legal profession and others to discuss knife crime. In some way I hope that together we can develop and influence thinking and address key issues such as how effective the law is in tackling knife crime.”
"This is an opportunity to hear the views of people most closely affected by knife crime, or as John Muir put it to the committee - ‘the people at the sharp end of the boat.’”
The outcome of the event will be a report which the committee will submit to the Scottish Government for consideration as part of its forthcoming Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill. The report will also be submitted to the Parliament’s Justice Committee for it to reflect on when it comes to scrutinise the Bill.
Among the individuals and organisations the Committee has agreed to invite are:
- Cabinet Secretary for Justice
- Lord Advocate
- Law Society of Scotland
- Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland
- Victim Support Scotland
- Violence Reduction Unit
- Mothers Against Knives
- Mothers Against Murder And Aggression
- Knife crime victims
- Knife crime victims’ families
- Scottish Youth Parliament
Petition PE1171 was lodged by Mr John Muir on 26 June 2008. It calls on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to introduce mandatory sentencing for persons found carrying knives or other dangerous weapons in public. The Committee gave initial consideration to the petition at its meeting on 9 September 2008.