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London To Require GPS Trackers for Certain Residents Convicted of 'Knife Possession'

The latest in London Mayor Sadiq Khan's war on knife ownership.

Susann Prautsch/dpa/picture-alliance/NewscomSusann Prautsch/dpa/picture-alliance/NewscomIn an attempt to combine his hatred for knife ownership with a disregard for privacy, London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced today some knife offenders will be fitted with GPS trackers upon their release from prison.

It's all part of an "innovative pilot scheme" meant "to reduce reoffending," according to a press release from Khan's office. But there are some troubling aspects of the program, which will affect "up to 100 offenders" in four London boroughs that have been "most affected by knife crime."

For one thing, Khan's office notes that the program's subjects will include not only people who committed serious crimes like robbery or grievous bodily harm, but also those convicted of "knife possession."

"Carry[ing] a knife in public without good reason, unless it has a folding blade with a cutting edge 3 inches long or less," is forbidden by the British government. The same goes for simply owning one of the many knives the U.K. has banned, including switch blades. Violators can face up to four years behind bars, as well as "an unlimited fine."

There are, of course, plenty of good reasons to own a knife, not the least of which is self-defense. The anti-knife folks appear to disagree. "A lot of young people say carrying a knife is for protection, but how does a knife actually PROTECT you?" asks the website for an almost comical anti-knife campaign. "Does it put up a force-field, or make you invincible?" Of course not, but civilians with knives can put up a fight against the criminals who probably weren't going to follow the anti-weapon laws anyway.

Back to London's pilot program: "Under the scheme, offenders who are deemed more likely to reoffend will have their movements automatically checked against the location of reported crimes, with significant matches shared with local police," the press release reads. Khan's office did not explain how officials will determine who is likely to be a repeat offender.

"This innovative pilot will build on the good work of the City Hall funded Violent Crime Taskforce by helping offenders integrate back into society and reducing the risk of reoffending, as well as giving the police the information they need to thoroughly investigate reported crimes," Khan said in a statement.

This all seems very similar a nationwide pilot tagging program that affected some U.K. prisoners released between October 2016 and October 2017. Both programs appear to have been mandatory, and both sent the same message to released offenders: You'd better stay out of trouble, because we're watching everything you do.

This latest program is all the more egregious because it's part of London's misguided war on knives. While the city may have a problem with violence, cracking down on knife ownership is not likely to help. As Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist A. Barton Hinkle suggested in a piece for Reason last year, even if the knife crackdown works, criminals will just turn to legal instruments of violence, like lead pipes.

There's no guarantee that the British Government, much like America's, won't wildly overreach in the name of "safety." In the U.K., it's clear which concept police value more. Look no further than a cringeworthy commercial encouraging people to report their fellow citizens for supposedly suspicious behavior, like buying a hammer.

Photo Credit: Susann Prautsch/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Stupid. Obviously you want to put the GPS tracker on the knife.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    No, you need both. Trackers on people and trackers on knives.

  • Juice||

    Yes, and those convicted of knife crimes, and those in suspicion of committing knife crimes, and those with the potential to commit knife crimes, and those who have ever uttered the word "knife", and those with the potential to utter the word "knife".

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    The ones who really need it are victims of knife crimes so they can be more effectively protected from knife crimes.

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  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    There is no need for the average citizen to need a knife at all. Need something cut? Go to an official cutting center. Look, we don't let the average citizen prescribe medicines for him or herself, and no one has a problem with that, because to have it otherwise would be utterly dangerous. Well, it is time to recognize that knives are simply dangerous. And think of all the jobs these official cutting centers would generate

  • Juice||

    After all, they have the proper cutting license.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Only if they go to a proper cutting school for the requisite 1,500 hours and pass the necessary exams

  • Teddy Pump||

    Will they be able to give me a nice close shave too?....With the hot towels??

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    This can't happen here.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    I know you mean it sarcastically, but there are ghosts all over the globe saying "it can't happen here".

  • John||

    Remember the UK was going to solve its crime problem by banning guns. These are the wages of thinking that objects cause crimes rather than the person using them. Deprive criminals of guns, they will use knives. Deprive them of knives, they will use something else. And that is assuming you can deprive them of those things, which in most cases you can't.

  • Rich||

    Deprive them of knives, they will use something else.

    Yep. GPS trackers, for instance.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    even if the knife crackdown works, criminals will just turn to legal instruments of violence, like lead pipes.

    It's a lead pipe cinch.

  • Echospinner||

    Ms. Scarlett and Professor Plum were both in the billiard room. Dastardly plot.

  • Johnimo||

    In my experience, the Library was usually the scene of the crime. "Book" em, Danno.

  • Kevin Smith||

    Deprive them of knives, they will use something else.

    They will continue to use knives, its not like they are difficult to make yourself. They are literally the first weapons our pre-modern human ancestors learned to manufacture for themselves (as opposed to simply picking up a rock or a stick to use as-is)

    Inmates in prison make knives all the time. If we can't stop people already in prison from making and possessing knives, how do we expect to keep nominally free people from making and possessing them?

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    A couple of decades ago criminals in London were resorting to bicycle spokes. The tactic was to come up behind someone and jam the spoke either into the person's knee or spine. If the latter, paralysis resulted. Somehow that was deemed an improvement over being attacked with a knife or threatened with a gun.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "A lot of young people say carrying a knife is for protection, but how does a knife actually PROTECT you?" asks the website for an almost comical anti-knife campaign. "Does it put up a force-field, or make you invincible?"

    I'll hold a knife, you try to attack me. Let's see if it affords me any protection.

  • Juice||

    "A lot of young people say ____________ is for protection, but how does _________ actually PROTECT you? Does it put up a force-field, or make you invincible?"

    security cameras
    policing speech
    gun control
    knife control
    licensing
    regulation
    police
    laws

  • John||

    It doesn't protect you at all.

  • Juice||

    Unlike a big beautiful wall, of course.

  • John||

    Yeah, there is no point in trying to keep anyone out of the country. I mean there is not like there are dangerous people in the world you don't want in or anything. Nope. Nothing could be more of a waste of time than trying to keep dangerous people out of the country. I mean, everyone knows foreigners would never be criminals right?

  • Zeb||

    The really dangerous people to the country don't seem to be coming in illegally over the southern border.

    Maybe the wall is a good idea and will help make the country safer or more prosperous or something. But I think it is fair to say that some people think it will do a lot more than it actually can to protect from foreign dangers.

  • John||

    The really dangerous people to the country don't seem to be coming in illegally over the southern border.

    I am not so sure about that. But even if it is true, so what? The fact is that some very dangerous people do come across by the Southern border. Just because there are some dangerous people already here doesn't make letting in more a good idea.

    But I think it is fair to say that some people think it will do a lot more than it actually can to protect from foreign dangers.

    Like what? If you want people to come here legally, what do you care if there is a wall? You want to change the law and let them come in legally. The existence of the wall doesn't change that. Either the wall makes no difference or it makes a positive difference. I dont' see how it has any negative effects unless you consider stopping illegal immigration to be a negative.

  • Zeb||

    I don't need to argue about the merits of a wall right now. All I'm saying is that for some people (on both sides of the debate) it's taken on a lot of significance that is not merited.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I think the chief objection at this point is that it would create bad optics when the Democrats take power and demolish it. Whereas there's not really anything to see if the ICE are just told to stop detaining any illegals they find.

    Literally, in the middle of a surge of illegal immigration, they are trying to cap the number of detention cells at lower than are currently available.

    The only sane conclusion is that they WANT illegal aliens released into the population before they can have their hearings and be deported.

  • wareagle||

    The wall is A tool. I don't know why that gets lost in the political noise. It is part of successful outcomes in areas where barriers exist.

  • Juice||

    Yeah, there is no point in trying to keep ________.

    knives off the street
    guns out of people's hands
    hate speech out of public discourse
    etc.

  • John||

    there is a point in keeping dangerous people off the streets. People are not innainate objects and are the cause of the problem not the objects.

    Are you really this fucking suptid? By your logic, why even have prisons. We wouldn't throw guns in jail would we?

  • Juice||

    there is a point in keeping dangerous people off the streets.

    And we know who they are because they carry knives or are from another country.

  • John||

    We know they are dangerous because they are criminals. I understand you think Mexicans are sacred and incapable of doing harm but not all of us believe in your religion.

  • ||

    Yeah, there is no point in trying to keep anyone out of the country.

    It takes a lot of fortitude or a distinct lack of intelligence to take the knife =/= force field argument and turn it into a wall =/= immigration prevention argument.

    Simultaneously invoking "don't let the enemy be the perfect of the good" and then ignoring it.

  • ||

    "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good" that is.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Gorshkov. Nice.

  • You're Kidding||

    They will just shift to the northern border after all.

  • ThomasD||

    The people who tell us we don't need a wall need to be asked if we still need people checking passports at the airports.

    Because we could save a lot of money getting rid of all that nonsense.

  • John||

    Sometimes you can be one of the smartest people on here Juice. Then other times you can be so stupid. i don't get it.

  • Juice||

    "A lot of young people say ____________ is for protection, but how does _________ actually PROTECT you? Does it put up a force-field, or make you invincible?"

    Oh yeah. I forgot about tariffs.

  • John||

    You realize your argument works on any laws. Yeah, you forgot about murder and rape laws too.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    The weapon doesn't protect you. You protect yourself with the weapon.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Those boots look like they gave Freddie Mercury AIDS.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Fake news. Freddie got AIDS from a fat-bottomed girl.

  • Zeb||

    Little known fact: Freddie Mercury was actually the least gay man in England at the time of his death.

  • wareagle||

    Boy George says he was battling for second place, at best.

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    George Michael would like a word with you two.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    "Under the scheme, offenders who are deemed more likely to reoffend will have their movements automatically checked against the location of reported crimes, with significant matches shared with local police,"

    Much like sex offenders, everyone knows the recidivism rate for knife offenders is over 100%.

  • ||

    Much like sex offenders, everyone knows the recidivism rate for knife offenders is over 100%.

    Everybody I know who's committed a crime has used a knife. Knives are a gateway to crime.

  • GroundTruth||

    So much for the traveling to any part of the UK for me.

  • Rich||

    "Carry[ing] a knife in public without good reason, unless it has a folding blade with a cutting edge 3 inches long or less," is forbidden by the British government.

    "CLOSE THE 3" FOLDER LOOPHOLE!!"

  • Pro Libertate||

    So what about Excalibur?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Back into the lake with it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I daresay that Excalibur was lost around 1945.

  • D.D. Driver||

    "Carry[ing] a knife in public without good reason, unless it has a folding blade with a cutting edge 3 inches long or less..."


    "Do you have a reason for carrying that 3.5 inch nonfolding blade?"

    "Yes. Officer."

    "Is it a good reason?"

    "Yes."

    "Okay. Carry on."

  • mpercy||

    Clap, clap.

  • mpercy||

    I can *hear* John Cleese saying the bobby's lines.

  • DrZ||

    Hows a guy going to carve his Christmas ham? Geez.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Only spiral sliced hams are legal in England now; Buying any other sort indicates intent to possess a carving knife.

  • ThomasD||

    Don't laugh. There is actually a public effort to have people turn in their kitchen utensils, or at least have the point ground off.

  • ||

    "Does it put up a force-field, or make you invincible?"

    Of course not. The slow blade penetrates the shield. Duh.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I've never seen Dune

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    It's about 100 minutes too long.

  • ||

    It's about 100 minutes too long.

    Yeah. I liked it as a kid (because of the books) and, as an adult, can freely admit that most of its charm is academic; somewhat unconventional movie making ideas that didn't really pan out in the final product.

  • Ecoli||

    How far our forebears have fallen. They probably can't even spell magna carta any longer.

    Here is one clause from the magna carta that might be useful to a Democratic politician from Virginia:

    "Prevented men from being arrested or imprisoned on the testimony of a woman, unless the case involved the death of her husband. "

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    Is there anything more Orwellian that the phrase: "London Mayor Sadiq Khan "?

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    One can't help but wonder how he feels about swords

  • IJustWorkHere||

    I'll just invite the police over to carve my turkey at thanksgiving

  • Heresy Hunter||

    Maybe that's why Thanksgiving is only an American thing.

  • AlmightyJB||

    What the UK really needs is to have everyone fixed so they can't breed anymore.

  • Trifrozion||

    That site is hilarious here is my rebuttal

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SrMj6XlhLrM

  • buybuydandavis||

    Britain is in the toilet.

    Free speech out the window. Question The Narrative, and the police come for you. Like most of Europe.

    Sad.

    "Common sense knife control". They've been extending it to everything vaguely pointy. Other cutlery. Law tools.

    So much cultural enrichment!

    A million rapes of school girls goes without heads on pikes. Britain has been pacified.

  • LiborCon||

    "A lot of young people say carrying a knife is for protection, but how does a knife actually PROTECT you?"

    I've carried a 5 ½" Cold Steel Voyager folding knife for 25 years, I don't leave home without it. A knife that big can do more damage than a bullet. You bet your Orwellian ass it PROTECTS me.

    And it won't blow out my eardrums when deployed in a confined space.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    When you consider people actually killed by knives, it actually takes a lot of stab wounds to finish them off. Especially when they are fighting back with a knife, both parties take a lot of cuts in the process.

    I'l stick to my guns, thank you.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    It takes a lot of stab wounds to finish somebody off quickly, or at least one very well placed wound. It's not a weapon for quick takedowns.

    It doesn't take nearly so many to finish you off eventually.

  • ThomasD||

    Yeah, first rule of knife fights is: You will get cut.

  • LiborCon||

    "Yeah, first rule of knife fights is: You will get cut."

    No. The first rule of knife fights is: have a knife. Why would not bringing a knife to a knife fight, be better than bringing one?

    The second rule of knife fights is: have the biggest knife you can.

  • LiborCon||

    "it actually takes a lot of stab wounds to finish them off."

    It often takes a lot a bullets to kill people. So I guess that makes guns a poor choice.

    But no, a large knife causes more damage than a bullet. Stab wounds cause traumatic blood loss. Hollow points can get plugged with fabric and not expand, but a sharp knife will just slice through clothing, including soft body armor.

    I've had co-workers cut their finger with a sharp knife and the blood flow was nearly unstoppable. Plunge a knife into a torso and they'll bleed out really quick.

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  • Brett Bellmore||

    I suppose it's too late at this point to say, "1984 wasn't intended as an instruction manual."

  • Ride 'Em||

    ^^This.

  • Ride 'Em||

    I've carried a knife since I was about ten. They range in size from small to large depending on what I am doing that day. I've used them for a bunch of things from cutting the strings on hay bales to emergency screwdrivers. They are just tools that have no intent.

    What disturbs me the most is that this is a way to extend prison sentences way beyond what the punishment determined by the courts or legislators said. What is next? GPS for people fined for speeding.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Moar laws. There is no problem that cannot be fixed without the right people in charge enforcing moar laws.

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  • ||

    England has lost its damn mind.

    America seems all for "Asylum". Im starting to think we need to start giving asylum to England's burgeoning class of political prisoners.

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  • loki||

    "There are, of course, plenty of reasons to own a knife, not the least of which is self defense."

    Like removing this god-damned GPS tracker!

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