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Essex anti-knife crime charity welcomes Prime Minister’s pledge to speed up new knife law

New permanent, knife amnesty bin installed in Clacton after a campaign 
Caroline shearer of Only Coward Carry

New permanent, knife amnesty bin installed in Clacton after a campaign Caroline shearer of Only Coward Carry

The founder of Clacton-based anti-knife charity Only Cowards Carry has welcomed a pledge from the Prime Minister for a new law to automatically jail those who repeatedly carry knives.

Only Cowards Carry founder Caroline Shearer speaks to Home Secretary Theresa May in September 2014, with Tendring district councillor Giles Watling.Only Cowards Carry founder Caroline Shearer speaks to Home Secretary Theresa May in September 2014, with Tendring district councillor Giles Watling.

David Cameron announced earlier this week he wanted the new law to be in effect “within weeks” after legislation was passed in February.

The law would bring in a minimum six-month jail term for adults convicted for a second time of carrying a blade, while 16 and 17-year-olds would have a four month detention and training order.

Caroline Shearer, who set up Only Cowards Carry after her son Jay Whiston was stabbed to death at a Colchester house party in 2010, welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment to speed up the new law.

The charity has long been campaigning for tougher punishments for those carrying weapons to act as a deterrent.

Mrs Shearer, from Clacton, said: “We are pleased. It is a step in the right direction.

“However, anyone carrying a weapon should face immediate imprisonment.

“My son, Ashley Woolley, and the hundreds of other people who have been killed by a bladed instrument were not offered a second chance so neither should people carrying these dangerous weapons.

“It is a start and we at Only Cowards Carry will continue to educate young people and communities on weapons awareness and deliver our important work and knife amnesty campaign to help prevent other people from having to experience what I have.

“We will continue to work tirelessly until people face immediate sentencing and changes are made.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokeswoman said: “The Act came in earlier this year, in terms of getting on and implementing this the PM is clear that he wants to get on with this and he has tasked officials with making sure this happens as soon as possible.

“He is clear we should get on with this. He would like to see it implemented within weeks, not months.”

This week new knife amnesty bins were installed in Braintree, Chelmsford and Uttlesford, and it was revealed that 300 knives were dropped in the Clacton bin in the first three months of its operation.

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