Appeal for knife amnesty

CRAIGAVON councillors are to ask the Department of Justice to consider a knife amnesty in the Borough.

The appeal follows two knife attacks in the area over the weekend, which left one man dead and another three in hospital.

“I would appeal to young adults not to carry knives or anything which could be used as weapon,” said Mr Carson.

“The results, as we have seen, can be fatal. It leaves a terrible aftermath for them and for their families to deal with.

“I ask that the issue of knife amnesty be reconsidered by Craigavon’s Community Safety Partnership and ask that the Chair report back to Council on this.

“I propose that this Council write to the Department of Justice to ask them to consider an knife amnesty in Craigavon.”

Mr Carson added: “The results of knife crime are devastating. It leaves families destroyed, all because of one moment of madness.

“It’s not often that I make an appeal of this sort, but I feel I have to on this occasion.”

Sinn Fein councillor Johnny McGibbon seconded the proposal and urged other members to support it.

He said: “I agree with every word the Mayor has said. These were truly horrific incidents over the weekend.

“To carry a dangerous weapon like a knife is unacceptable.

“There’s no reason for anyone to be carrying a weapon like this and I hope these acts come to an end.”

Cllr McGibbon continued: “I would like to take this opportunity to commend the efforts of a lot of people in the community who are working with young people. We should commend them and recognise the hard work they do.

“The vast majority of young people do not carry weapons, and have a positive role in society. That’s very important to acknowledge.”

DUP councillor Robert Smith expressed his sadness at the weekend’s events.

“Our sympathies go to all the families involved,” he said.

“The overall weapons found in Northern Ireland last year numbered 950.

“So far this year, there have been 800 uncovered, and we still have five months to go. That’s absolutely horrendous.

“I would appeal to young people not to get involved in this. Once you have taken a life, you cannot give it back.”

SDLP councillor Joe Nelson also supported the motion.

He said: “Over the past number of months I have had to deal with a lot of incidents of neighbourhoods being ravaged by anti-social behaviour.

“It’s a major issue in the Borough, and many residents are suffering. We have to make the Borough safer for people.”

The UUP’s Alderman Arnold Hatch said: “We need to take a fresh look at how we are bringing young people up. A lot of them seem to have no respect for authority.”

He asked that the proposal be amended to include writing a letter to the Department of Education to do more to highlight the dangers of carrying knives.

Deputy Mayor George Savage said: “Legislation needs to be looked at right across the Borough, especially when it comes to licensed premises.”

He called on anyone with information on either of the crimes to contact the police.

He said: “We have got to support the powers that be and anybody who knows anything has an abounding duty to contact the PSNI.”

The Mayor’s proposal was passed by councillors.