Police cautions for youths carrying lethal weapons

SCORES of people across the Weston area found with potentially lethal weapons including knives, screwdrivers and machetes have been let off

SCORES of people across the Weston area found with potentially lethal weapons including knives, screwdrivers and machetes have been let off with a caution by police.Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that officers from Avon & Somerset Constabulary handed out 387 cautions for knife-related crimes in 2006/7 financial year - one of the highest in the country.Five cautions for knife-related crime were also issued in schools across the constabulary's area.Police chiefs have underlined that they are following Government guidelines when they hand cautions out and insist it is not an easy way out.The figures include 208 incidents of possession of an offensive weapon without lawful authority or reasonable excuse. Weapons such as baseball bats and hammers are covered by this description. The remaining 165 knife-related crimes were for having an article with a blade or point in a public place.Chief Inspector Debbie Palmer-Lawrence said: "As a force, we are governed by the Home Office's cautioning template. "This means that certain set criteria can result in a caution being considered as an option for an offence. "In relation to youth cautions, we are also governed by Home Office guidelines. "It is important to stress that anybody accepting a caution is admitting the offence and cautions would only usually be given for a first offence. "Past criminal convictions would also be taken into account. "The circumstances around an offence are carefully considered before a caution is given and any aggravating factors would be taken into account."If a knife has been used in a robbery or serious assault, a caution would not be given. "Times when it may be given include possession of a bladed article or pen knife. Giving a caution is not an easy way out.


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