Irish Penal Reform Trust

Considering alternative approaches to knife crime in Ireland

21st February 2021

In recent weeks, opinion articles on knife crime by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD and Neale Richmond TD were published in The Irish Sun and, respectively.

Both articles discuss the need to address knife crime with a multi-agency model, focused primarily on prevention. Both articles also refer to opportunities to learn from evidenced-based models which have successfully reduced violent crime in Scotland and London. IPRT welcomes this.

Minister McEntee notes that the new Community Safety policy (under development) draws together public health, education, community leaders and a broad range of measures to strengthen communities and prevent young people getting involved in violent crime. She notes that Department of Justice officials are “beginning work which will see them engage with hospitals and education services to build a greater understanding of the problem of violent crime here”.

While knife crime must be addressed in Ireland, reactive populist proposals, such as mandatory sentencing, are unlikely to have the desired deterrent effect. (See IPRT’s position paper on Mandatory Sentencing.) We welcome that focus is being placed on learning from what is proven to reduce knife crime in other jurisdictions, and that work on effective approaches is underway within Government.

Read the opinion by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD in The Irish Sun here.

Read the opinion by Neale Richmond TD in here.

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