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Knife crime: 'Teenage thugs should serve harder sentences'

COMMENTS: Cressida Dick

METROPOLITAN POLICE Commissioner Cressida Dick told prison reform campaigners to consider "harsher and more effective" jail terms for teenage thugs when other approaches do not work.

The head of the UK's largest police force warned that trying to avoid sending young people to prison had left "an increasing number" of teenagers "simply not fearful of how the state will respond to their actions".

In a speech to the Howard League for Penal Reform, she reportedly said: "They don't see imprisonment as particularly likely or a serious threat and it does not in any sense deter them from criminal activity.

"At what point does the state prioritise its duty to protect the public and ensure that young people could see the criminal justice system as something that will catch up with them?"

Since making the comments, a leading prisons charity has criticised her comments that young offenders should face harsher sentences, stating that any plans to lock up more young offenders was a "counsel of despair".

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