The option for increasing the penalty for the Crimes Act 1961 offence of possession of an offensive weapon could be achieved in the Crimes (Offences Against the Person) Amendment Bill to amend Part 8 of the Crimes Act 1961, as section 202A is located in that part. That Bill is planned for introduction in May 2010.
Measures to ban or limit the sale of knives will require careful consideration and consultation with stakeholders. A longer development and implementation timeframe would be needed.
To incorporate a knife crime focus within Fresh Start, Justice Officials will work with the Ministry of Social Development, who in turn will work with Fresh Start providers on ways to reduce the dangers of carrying knives, and teach young people alternative ways of dealing with conflict.
The New Zealand Police Youth Education Services are already involved in education in schools. Police Education Officers run programmes in schools, such as Keeping Ourselves Safe programme, where there are crime and community safety matters that relate to that school. If this option of education in schools is pursued, the Ministry of Justice can discuss with the Police how these programmes could be used to educate young people about the dangers of carrying knives.
Improvements to information system technology interfaces would enable the Justice sector to routinely share information on weapon types which would assist in identifying problem areas and emerging trends in this area.
In July 2008, the Police National Recording standard was implemented requiring the collection of weapons information for all offences. Monitoring of the effectiveness of this standard commenced in July 2009 and the early indication is that this data is now being collected in most instances.
Currently, however, this data is not routinely shared across the justice sector. Information technology changes are required for this to occur. The cost of information technology changes are yet to be finalised. The Ministry of Justice is working with the Police to identify the requirements and determine the associated costs and funding options.