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Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) persons and (b) persons aged under 18 years have been convicted of an offence of possessing an offensive weapon in the form of a knife or bladed instrument since 1 April 2007; and how many have (i) received a custodial sentence and (ii) received a custodial sentence of two years or more, broken down by region. 
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have passed through search arches erected under Operation Blunt in each month since the scheme was initiated. 
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been found to be carrying a knife through the use of search arches under Operation Blunt in each month since the scheme became operational, broken down by (a) age, (b) gender and (c) ethnic background. 
Search arches have been deployed as part of search operations for a number of years in London. Since late 2006, this technology has been used more extensively as part of public place search operations, often in relation to the public transport system. From 13 May 2008, search operations involving the use of screening arches have been increased under Operation Blunt 2. To date no data are available about the numbers of people passing through such arches but monitoring of numbers, age and ethnicity is in place and data will be released at a later stage.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many search arches have been erected in (a) schools, (b) colleges, (c) shopping centres, (d) transport hubs and (e) other locations under Operation Blunt in each month since the scheme was initiated; and how many knives have been discovered at each search point. 
Mr. Coaker: Search arches have been deployed on some 305 occasions in London since the commencement of Operation Blunt 2 on 13 May 2008. Further data relating to the precise location of deployment are not available.
Mr. Coaker: It is not possible to identify those offences that are knife-related from the data centrally collected on overall recorded crime. However, since April 2007, police forces have been providing separate aggregate data on serious violence (attempted murder, GBH and robbery) involving knives and sharp instruments. North Yorkshire police recorded 66 such offences during 2007-08.
Available data from the Homicide Index relate to offences currently recorded as homicide where the apparent method of killing was sharp instrument, as at 12 November 2007. The number of such offences recorded by North Yorkshire police each year between 2002-03
and 2006-07 is given in the following table. Figures for 2007-08 are scheduled to be published in January 2009.
|Offences currently( 1) recorded as homicide where apparent method of killing is sharp instrument( 2) : North Yorkshire police, 2002-03 to 2006-07( 3, 4)|
|Year offence initially recorded( 3)||Number|
|(1) As at 12 November 2007; figures are subject to revision as cases are dealt with by the police and by the courts, or as further information becomes available.|
(2) Homicides involving any sharp instrument, including knives.
(3) Offences are shown according to the year in which the police initially recorded the offence as homicide. This is not necessarily the year in which the incident took place or the year in which any court decision was made.
(4) Data for 2007-08 are not yet published.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what recent representations she has received on the feasibility of restricting or controlling the sale of knives; and if she will make a statement; 
Mr. Coaker: The Government are committed to working with and listening to the representations from the public, community groups and law enforcement partners to tackle knife crime. The Government have taken measures to restrict and control the sale of knives. In the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 the Government made it illegal to sell knives to anyone under 18, and in April 2006, following a public consultation on offensive weapons, samurai swords were added to the 18 items on the Offensive Weapons Order which it is illegal to sell, hire, manufacture or import.
Mr. Coaker: The information requested is not collected centrally. The Home Office is responsible for the recorded crime statistics which includes data on the number of knife and sharp instrument offences recorded by the police for selected offences (since April 2007) and the numbers of firearms offences (excluding air weapons) since 1970. However, it is not possible to separately identify from these data whether an offence took place in a school.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons convicted of an offence of possessing a knife were dealt with by way of
(a) a discharge, (b) a fine, (c) a community sentence, (d) a custodial sentence, (e) a custodial sentence of six months or more and (f) a custodial sentence of 12 months or more in (i) each of the last 10 years and (ii)
each quarter in the last three years for which figures are available. 
|Persons sentenced( 1) for possession of a knife( 2) 1996-2006|
|Discharged||Fine||Community sentence||Fully suspended sentence||Immediate custody||Otherwise dealt with||Total Sentenced||Custodial Sentence six months or more( 3)||Custodial Sentence 12 months or more|
|(1) Principal offence|
(2) Possession of a knife in a public place, and possession of a knife in a school
(3) These figures include those persons sentenced for 12 months or more
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