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Why Carry a Knife? An analysis of the effect of deterrence in the decision to carry a blade (Part I)

Clough, Joanne (2016) Why Carry a Knife? An analysis of the effect of deterrence in the decision to carry a blade (Part I). [Other]

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Abstract: Possession of a bladed article in public is an offence which initially carried a financial penalty but is now considered so serious that it attracts up to four years imprisonment. This significant increase in sentence was to deter potential offenders as the incidence of knife crime reached "epidemic proportions" (Squires, 2009). To be effective, such a deterrent sentence requires certainty, celerity and severity (McGuire, 2004). The offender must be aware of the sentence awaiting them and thereafter, rational choice theory suggests the potential offender must choose not to commit the crime by calculating that the cost of harsh punishment outweighs the gain of committing the crime (Kennedy, 2009). Much research has been undertaken in relation to young offenders, who are predominantly motivated to carry knives out of fear or fashion (Lemos, 2004); these motivators are unlikely to be outweighed by the threat of imprisonment. The current deterrent sentencing guidelines are aimed at dealing with adult offenders yet little research has been undertaken to understand the motivations of this group. Given that an adult may be less likely to be influenced by social norms (Neugarten, Moore & Lowe, 1965) and more likely to exercise rational thought (Wood et al., 2005), this raises questions as to what drives an adult offender to carry a blade and whether the threat of imprisonment features in the decision making process.This paper will outline the rationale, methodology and initial conclusions of a UK wide qualitative research project which aims to produce a theory of motivation for the offence of possession of a bladed article in order to determine whether a strict deterrent sentencing policy is an effective means of reducing knife carrying amongst adult offenders.

Item Type:Other
Keywords:knife; deterrence; sentence of imprisonment; motivation; crime reduction
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Law
Faculty of Social Sciences
ID Code:37362
Deposited By: Mrs Joanne Clough
Deposited On:10 Apr 2017 10:39
Last Modified:07 Nov 2017 16:24

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