Clarke launches amnesty on knives to reduce stabbings

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A five-week nationwide knives amnesty is being launched in the summer in an attempt to drive down numbers of stabbings.

More than 230 people were stabbed to death last year and concern over levels of knife crime have been highlighted by the killing of City lawyer Tom ap Rhys Pryce last month.

Under the amnesty, which will run between 24 May and 30 June in England, Wales and Scotland, members of the public can leave bladed weapons in drop-in bins which will be provided at police stations throughout the country without fear of prosecution.

Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, said: "Tackling knife culture, especially among young people, is paramount to the safety of our communities, and I am determined to reduce the devastation caused by knife crime."

He added: "Carrying knives on the streets will not be tolerated. Every weapon handed in during the amnesty will be a weapon that cannot be used in crime."

The amnesty coincides with measures in the Violent Crime Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament, which raises the minimum age for buying a knife from 16 to 18. It also gives headteachers the power to search pupils for weapons.